Zero Administration for Windows

What Does Zero Administration for Windows Mean?

Zero Administration for Windows (ZAW) is a collection of utilities developed by Microsoft that permit administrators to manage and update software on PCs connected to an LAN through a central server.


ZAW is a Microsoft-led initiative designed to reduce the cost of ownership of Windows-based network clients. Its main functions are deploying applications from central servers to network client machines, distributing modifications and installing operating systems on new computers.

Techopedia Explains Zero Administration for Windows

ZAW depends on better application installers, a new caching system, intelligent storage and PCs with a smarter basic input/output system.

Another feature on which ZAW depends is a better installer, which not only performs a better self-diagnosis, but also detects internal failures. Failures are fixed through reinstallation, which is performed silently, meaning the installer does not query with setup questions, as is done with most other installers. The only requirement is that an application should have the appropriate file containing all the necessary information. These installers can also be used to remove programs.

Another significant feature is the server intelligent storage (SIS) side program. Using this server program, it is easy to designate a section of a server’s storage as an SIS area.

PCs with a smarter BIOS are another key to the implementation of ZAW. Every time a user logs into the system, it allows the system to do a fresh install of the OS and applications.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…