This week I was teaching the Deploying the Optimized Desktop class for the Microsoft Partner Network, and one of my students asked me if there was a good book on the Windows Automated Installation Kit. While I am not aware of a book specific to that product, I told them about the book Mastering Windows 7 Deployment (SYBEX Publishing) by Aidan Finn, Darril Gibson, and Kenneth van Surksum. It is, for my money, the most comprehensive book on desktop deployment available today.
While it is easy to look at Desktop Deployment and decide that it is the tools that deploy the operating system are most important, I disagree. Planning is key to the process because without a proper plan it is easy to go astray. This book discusses the planning and acknowledges that aspects such as application compatibility, licensing, and activation tools are just as much a component of the deployment process. As I review the requirements for the exam 70-681 (TS: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deploying) one of the skills measured is Configuring Activation (This objective may include but is not limited to: Windows 7, Office 2010, Key Management Service (KMS), Multiple Activation Key (MAK), Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT)) so if Microsoft thinks it is important, why wouldn’t you?
I do fewer deployment consulting mandates today than I did two years ago simply due to the amount of teaching I do, but this book should be required reading, in addition to a handy reference source, for anyone deploying Windows 7 to their environments, whether they do it once or twenty times. Simply being able to flip to the Index and find what I am looking for – as I did last night when looking for information on the Windows AIK – makes it worth the price of admission.
The only thing I would change, and this is for purely selfish reasons, is I would love to have an e-book copy of it. I don’t need it for the Kindle or whatever, but to have a PDF copy that I could keep with me all the time (as I do a plethora of others that I reference as needed) then it would be easier for me. However I am a bit of a hypocrite with this, because I always want to have the physical book on my shelf… call me a modern quasi-traditionalist
One of the great things about this book is that it covers the tools and the methodologies, so not only is it good for Windows 7, but a lot of what is discussed will also backwards-apply as far back as Windows XP, and from what I can tell a lot of it will apply to Windows 8 (as we are currently referring to it). This book is useful for now, and should be for a long time to come. Of course, I am sure they will refresh it for Windows 8, but the knowledge gained from this version should tide you over.
The price is right at $59.99 (Canadian) and it is available from Wiley at http://ca.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470600314.html, or of course from Amazon for as low as $1.49. (http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Windows-Deployment-Aidan-Finn/dp/0470600314/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321462510&sr=8-1). If you are a Deployment pro, Windows pro, or interested in deploying Windows 7… pick it up!