At Tech-Ed this year, Microsoft talked about making the next version of Windows easier for IT pros to deploy in corporate environments. I took that to mean that Microsoft wants to build in some of the imaging tools that most IT pros currently use for bigger deployments.
According to a blog post from insider Mary Jo Foley, it looks like Microsoft is going to accomplish this deployment ease by modularizing Windows Vista on the back-end and providing IT pros with the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK), which will basically be a subset of the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK), which folks like Dell and HP currently use to build umpteen numbers of Windows boxes in mere moments.
Foley's post explains, "Vista will be able to be built from the ground-up from a list of operating system components ... Among the likely components which will be OEM- and corporate-customer-accessible: The shell, file system, Media Player, audio and networking. Each component will contain a number of 'resources,' as well as dependencies on other components."
I like the sound of this. I'm looking forward to seeing it in action.