Build 5308 of the Windows Vista, which is currently being released to select testers, includes a feature that has long been awaited - image-based installations that install Windows modules to the hard drive not as separate files, but as contiguous disk images. This is essentially like restoring from the backup of a clean install. In order to make this work, Vista engineers had to finally scrap the very last vestige of MS-DOS. I, for one, am not shedding any tears over this. Vista now utilises Windows PE (pre-installation), which presents a shell with which users manage the installation process. PE remains available to users even after installation, so as to be used as a recovery environment in case of disaster, replacing the driver-free "Safe Mode" currently used by XP.
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