One item of note I saw in the coverage from Macworld last week was the Micromat Techtool Protégé. (I used TechTool on my own Macs.) The Protégé provides a UFD of sorts off of the FireWire port to help customers address technical problems and recovery issues.
Why am I talking about a Mac product here? I’m reminded that this same scenario has been possible for some time already with our own Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Environment (aka Windows PE and WinPE). WinPE is a powerful tool used in deployment, testing, diagnostics and system recovery processes, for use primarily by PC OEMs, ISVs and IT Pros. It’s a minimal Windows system (based on Windows XP Pro and Server 2003) that can be used by IT Pros to customize systems via a customized WinPE CD or UFD for deployments in an organization; with Windows Vista, WinPE should help make custom enterprise deployments of the OS easier and faster.