Life Cycle of an Image

3/21/2011

An image goes through development, deployment, and servicing phases during its life cycle. Because you spend most of your time in Windows Embedded Standard 7 creating or working with images, you can save time on most tasks if you understand an image and its life cycle.

An image is a collection of packages, settings, files, and folders that make up a Standard 7 installation. Images go through three phases, as depicted by this diagram:

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The first phase, box A, is the image development phase. The next phase, box B, is the image deployment phase. The final phase, box C, is the image servicing phase.

Image Development (Box A)

During this phase you build a master installation of Standard 7 and then capture it in a Windows Image (.wim) file. A master installation is a partition on a reference device that includes Standard 7 and all the software, drivers, settings, files, folders that you want for your device.

Standard 7 has two tools to help you define and capture your requirements for the master installation:

  • Image Builder Wizard
    The Image Builder Wizard runs on the reference device and uses your selections in the wizard to build and install a master installation on the reference device.
  • Image Configuration Editor
    The Image Configuration Editor runs on your development computer and uses your selections to create an answer file. Later, you provide this answer file to the Image Builder Wizard and it builds and installs a reference installation on the reference device.

You can also make additional changes to the reference installation after it has been installed on the reference device. After you have a reference installation that includes Standard 7 and all the software, drivers, settings, files, folders, and Standard 7 packages that you want, you prepare the reference installation for deployment and duplication using the Sysprep tool. Finally, you capture the reference installation to a .wim file, typically called an reference image.

Image Deployment (Box B)

During this phase you distribute and install one or more reference images onto multiple embedded devices.

For an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), this phase happens in the factory when an image is deployed to a number of retail devices before they are shipped to store shelves, or companies and corporations who have purchased the devices.

For a company or corporation, this phase happens when IT Professionals:

  • Receive a number of new or recycled devices that are empty and require an image, or require a different image from the one they have
  • Manage a number of devices in the field that need updates or modifications, or an entirely new image

You can use Standard 7 tools like ImageX and Image Configuration Editor or you can use existing Microsoft technologies like Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager (CONFIGMGR), Windows Deployment Services (WDS) or Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) to deploy an image.

Image Servicing (Box C)

During this phase you refresh existing images with the latest updates for Standard 7.

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