When I tell people about the improved and reduced imaging time in the new Assessment and Deployment Toolkit (ADK) for windows 8, usually the first question I get is whether or not the new Windows 8 tools will work with Windows 7. The answer to this question is yes. I’ve tested it extensivly, and I must admit the improvement is subtle, but it is there, about a 30% reduction.
Windows 7 images are actually bigger than Windows 8 images, but when using the new ADK imaging tools, the imaging time with a vanilla image will go from about 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Doesn’t seem like much, but if your image contains office and all the updates, that improvement of 30% faster on a 7 or 8 gig image will save you much more time in the long run. Futhermore, this is leaps and bounds better than the 30+ minutes you’ll always be stuck with in Windows Vista, as that OS is largley dependant on it’s setup.exe file. If you ever had hands on experience with unattended installs of that OS, you’ll remember how dificuilt those unattended installs were.
Use of Setup.exe is largly being depreciated now with ADK as DISM.exe is largley taking on role of applying the image, and disk servicing. Just remember the ADK replaces the old AIK for Win7, they’re mutually exclusive, you can’t install both. So if you’re deploying Win7 or Win8, use the new deployment tools, and save yourself some time.