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Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

Part 2. Setting up and configuring WDS

. Posted in Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

This article will guide you through the steps required to setup WDS to deploy generic HAL independent Windows XP base images.

Before beginning to configure your server for WDS, ensure that you have applied SP2 and all subsequent updates.  You must also have correctly functioning DHCP and DNS server(s) on the WDS machine (preferable) or elsewhere on the network.

1. Install WDS on your Windows 2003 Server.

Go to Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs > Add / Remove Windows Components > Windows Deployment Services.

When prompted to restart, click Cancel.  When you begin the installation of Daemon Tools, you will need to restart then.

2. Download and install Daemon Tools on the server.

Download Daemon Tools (this guide uses Daemon Tools Lite v4.11.2) and double-click the self-extracting .exe file.  You must restart the server at this point to continue the installation.

When prompted for install options, make sure you uncheck the unnecessary install and adware options such as:

  • Daemon Tools sponsor ad module
  • Daemon Tools deafult Search Provider
  • Enable DT Panel
  • Desktop Shortcut
  • Start Menu Shortcuts

At the next screen, Decline to support the DT team before clicking Install.

2. Download and install the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK).

The Windows AIK downloads as a (large) image file that needs to be mounted using Daemon Tools by rIght clicking on the Daemon Tools tray icon.

Install the Windows AIK from the splash screen that opens.  Do not unmount the Windows AIK image yet.

3. Create a temporary working folder (e.g. C:\WDS) and extract the bootable images to it.

Open the still mounted Windows AIK image by right clicking on the drive icon in My Computer.  Extract the F1_WINPE.WIM and F3_WINPE.WIM bootable files from the file to the WDS temporary working folder.  We need these files in order to capture an image from our base machine. 

Insert the Windows Vista DVD and copy the BOOT.WIM file from the 'sources' folder to the WDS temporary working folder.  We need this file to deploy the base images to clients machines.

4. Start and configure WDS.

  • Go to Start > Administrative Tools > Windows Deployment Services;
  • In the left pane of the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, expand the server list;
  • Select the server that you want to manage;
  • If the server is not in the servers list, right-click the Servers node to add a server;
  • In the Add Server(s) dialog box, click Another computer and then browse to select the computer to manage;
  • In the Add Server Warning dialog box, click Yes to add the server;
  • Right-click the server that you want to manage and click Configure Server to start the Windows Deployment Services Configuration Wizard;
  • At the Welcome page, click Next;
  • At the Remote Installation Folder Location page, click Next to accept the default location (C:\RemoteInstall) or modify to your own requirements before clicking Next;
  • If the Microsoft DHCP service is on the server that is being configured for WDS, check the option to 'Configure DHCP option 60 to PXEClient' and set Windows Deployment Services to 'Do not listen on Port 67';
  • On the PXE Server Initial Settings page, click Respond to all (known and unknown) client computers;
  • Click Finish to complete the configuration;
  • Clear the Add images to Windows Deployment Services now check box, then click Finish.

5. Add the boot images F1_WINPE.WIM and F3_WINPE.WIM to WDS.

In the WDS control panel, right click the 'Boot Images' folder and select 'Add Boot Image';
Browse to the WDS temporary working folder where you saved the F1_WINPE.WIM and F3_WINPE.WIM files;
Add both images then close and reopen the WDS control panel;
Two new boot images will appear in the 'Boot Images' folder:

  • Microsoft Windows Vista PE (x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Vista PE (AMD64).

6. Create a Capture Boot Image for your Windows XP machines.

Create a new folder named 'CaptureBootImages' under the 'RemoteInstall' folder created earlier when configuring WDS (e.g. C:\RemoteInstall\CaptureBootImages).

Right click the 'Windows Vista PE (x86)' image and select 'Create Capture Boot Image'.  This boot image will be used to capture (transfer) a SYSPREPed Windows XP image from the client to the WDS server.  Name the capture image 'Capture Windows XP Image' (use the same name for the description too), save it to the new 'CaptureBootImages' folder and click Next.

7. Import the Capture Boot Image into the WDS 'Boot Images' folder.

In the WDS control panel, right click the 'Boot Images' folder and select 'Add Boot Image'.  Browse to the CaptureBootImages folder and choose the 'Capture Windows XP Image.WIM' file you have just created.  Click Next to add the image.  When the image is added you will see it in the 'Boot Images' folder.

8. Modify the BOOT.WIM image to circumvent HAL checks and add NIC drivers.

WDS, although designed for Vista, can successfully deploy Windows XP using the standard BOOT.WIM.  However, checks are made to ensure that images are only deployable to machines with a HAL matching that of the machine the image was captured from.  Therefore, the BOOT.WIM image needs to be modified to circumvent this check.

The BOOT.WIM may also need to have network card (NIC) drivers added to allow newer machines (e.g. Dell Optiplex 755) to boot into the WinPE deployment environment.  You will recieve something similar to the following error message if the required NIC drivers are not present:

WdsClient: An error occurred while starting networking: a matching network card driver was not found in this image. Please have your Administrator add the network driver for this machine to the Windows PE image on the Windows Deployment Services server.

If this is the case, determine and download the required drivers for your newer machine models or specific NIC cards.  Extract the Vista driver files (XP drivers can sometimes be used) into the WDS temporary working folder.  The .inf files can then be injected into the BOOT.WIM image using the 'peimg' command.  The example shown below injects the required NIC drivers for a Dell Optiplex 755.

Download winpeshl.ini to the WDS temporary working directory.  Alter this file to match the HAL type of your base image by finding the following text:


and replacing it with one of the following:

acpiapic_mp      [ACPI Multiprocessor PC]
acpiapic_up       [ACPI Uniprocessor PC]
acpipic_up         [Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC]
mps_mp             [MPS Multiprocessor PC]
mps_up             [MPS Uniprocessor PC]
e_isa_up             [Standard PC]
syspro_mp         [Compaq SystemPro Multiprocessor or 100% Compatible]

The HAL type can be found by opening 'Device Manager' and expanding the 'Computer' section.

Open the Windows AIK Command Prompt: Start > Programs > Microsoft Windows AIK > Windows PE Tools Command Prompt;

cd C:\WDS (or whatever your WDS temporary working folder is)
mkdir build_install
imagex /apply boot.wim 2 build_install
copy winpeshl.ini build_install\windows\system32
peimg /inf=C:\WDS\Drivers\NIC\755\E1E6032.inf build_install\windows
imagex /capture build_install Deploy_XP_Install.WIM "Deploy Windows XP Image" /boot /compress max

Please note: the last line above may have wrapped onto two lines!

You may also find that your destination machine's IDE/SATA/SCSI controller isn't supported in Vista (and therefore WinPE) by default either.  If this is the case, you can inject the required drivers using the peimg command as in the NIC example above.

9. Import the Deploy Boot Image into the WDS 'Boot Images' folder.

In the WDS control panel, right click the 'Boot Images' folder and select 'Add Boot Image'.  Browse to the WDS temporary working folder and choose the 'Deploy_XP_Install.WIM' file you have just created.  Click Next and enter 'Deploy Windows XP Image' as the name and description.  Click Next to add the image into the 'Boot Images' folder.

10. Create an Image Group in the 'Install Images' folder.

Image Groups organise images into similar types (e.g. Admin Machines, Staff Laptops, Curriculum Machines, etc).  There must be at least one image group in order to upload images and for the purposes of this guide we will include one generic group.

In the WDS control panel, right-click on the 'Install Images' folder and then 'Add Image Group'.  Enter a name for your group e.g. 'Generic Images' and click Finish.

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