Saturday, 8 September 2012

Install and configure Windows Deployment Services

Install and configure Windows Deployment Services

This guide contains step-by-step guidance for how to install and configure the most common scenarios for Windows Deployment Services (sometimes called “WDS”) in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. 

NOTE: that you cannot use Windows Deployment Services with the Server Core installation option.

What is Windows Deployment Services?

Windows Deployment Services is the updated and redesigned version of Remote Installation Services (RIS). Windows Deployment Services enables you to deploy Windows operating systems over the network, which means that you do not have to install each operating system directly from a CD or DVD. 

Prerequisites for installing Windows Deployment Services

The following are requirements for installing this role:

  • AD DS. A Windows Deployment Services server must be either a member of an AD DS domain or a domain controller for an AD DS domain. The AD DS domain and forest versions are irrelevant; all domain and forest configurations support Windows Deployment Services. Read AD DS INSTALL CONFIGURE GUIDE

  • DHCP. You must have a working DHCP server with an active scope on the network because Windows Deployment Services uses PXE, which relies on DHCP for IP addressing. Read DHCP INSTALL CONFIGURE GUIDE
  • DNS. You must have a working DNS server on the network before you can run Windows Deployment Services. Read DNS INSTALL CONFIGURE GUIDE
  • NTFS volume. The server running Windows Deployment Services requires an NTFS file system volume for the image store.
  • Credentials. To install the role, you must be a member of the Local Administrators group on the server. To initialize the server, you must be a member of the Domain Users group.
Steps for installing Windows Deployment Services

You can install Windows Deployment Services by using the Initial Configuration Wizard, Server Manager, or the command line. In this tutorial, I am using the Server Manager.

To install the role by using the Initial Configuration Wizard, click Add roles on the Initial Configuration Tasks startup screen.  

Click Next

select Windows Deployment Services and click Next

During the installation, you have the following two role services to choose from:

Deployment Server. To install this option, ensure that both Deployment Server and Transport Server are selected on the second screen of the installation wizard. This is the most common option because it provides the full functionality of Windows Deployment Services, which you can use to configure and remotely install Windows operating systems. 

NOTE: that Deployment Server is dependent on the core parts of Transport Server.  

Transport Server. To install this option, clear the Deployment Server check box on the second screen of the installation wizard. This option provides a subset of the functionality of Windows Deployment Services. It contains only the core networking parts. You can use Transport Server to create multicast namespaces that transmit data (including operating system images) from a standalone server. You should use this option if you want to transmit data by using multicasting, but you do not want to incorporate all of Windows Deployment Services.

In our case, we have selected both these options

Click Install to begin the installation process

The installation will take few seconds to complete

Once the Installation completes, Close the wizard

In your Roles Summary page, you should see the Windows Deployment Service option

After you install the server role, you must configure the server. Once you have used the instructions in this section to configure the server, add a boot image, and an install image, you will be ready to deploy images.

Select Windows Deployment Service role >> Select your Server >> Right Click >> Configure Server

NOTE: Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is not supported for Windows Deployment Services in Windows Server 2008.

If you are running Windows Deployment Services and a non-Microsoft DHCP server on the same computer, in addition to configuring the server to not listen on port 67, you will need to use your DHCP tools to add Option 60 to your DHCP scopes. 

Review the requirements and click Next to begin configuring the WDS

Provide a suitable Path for your WDS Installation Folder. This folder will contain Boot Images, Install Images, PXE Files, tools etc.

NOTE: Choose a NTFS Partitioned drive that has good free space in it.

If Windows Deployment Services and DHCP are running on the same computer, configuring Windows Deployment Services to not respond to any client computers will not work. 

This is because although Windows Deployment Services will not respond, DHCP will. You can try to work around this issue by disabling DHCP option 60 on the DHCP tab or by selecting Do Not Listen on Port 67 and Configure DHCP Option 60 to 'PXEClient' as shown

Select Do not respond to any Client Computers

Once you have configured all the necessary settings, the WDS service will start up

Once the configuration completes, you are now ready to add Images to your WDS Server. Before clicking on Finish, select the "Add Images to the Server now" option as shown

You must add at least one boot image and one install image before you will be able to boot to the Windows Deployment Services server and install an image.
I have copied the contents of my Windows 2008 R2 Server ISO DVD and stored it in a separate folder (D:/Win2k8R2). You can do the same with your Windows DVD.

There are two types of Images that you can use in WDS:

  • Boot images. Boot images are Windows PE images that you boot a client computer into to perform an operating system installation. In most scenarios, you should use the Boot.wim file on the product DVD from one of the following operating systems:
    • Client: Windows Vista (with at least Service Pack 1 (SP1)) or Windows 7
    • Server: Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2
    You can also use custom boot images that you have created using the Windows AIK (for example, for diagnostic testing).
  • Install images. Install images are the operating system images that you deploy to the client computer. You can use the Install.wim file from the product DVD to deploy images for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. For operating systems released prior to Windows Vista, you must create a custom install image.

Browse to select the default install image (Install.wim), which is located in the \Sources folder of the product DVD, and then click Next.

Create an Image Group

Review the information before proceeding. Click Next when done

This will now add the Image and the Boot files to your WDS. This can take few minutes to complete

The Windows 2008 Server DVD comes with 8 images or editions of Windows 2008 Server, like Enterprise edition, Datacenter Edition, etc.

Click Finish when done

In your Server Roles >> WDS >> Your WDS Server, you should see your Image Group containing all the Windows 2008 Server Images as shown

After you have at least one boot and one install image on the server, you can deploy an install image. 

Prerequisites for installing an install image

  • The client computer must be capable of performing a PXE boot.
  • Your user account must be a member of the Domain Users group.
  • The client computer must have at least 512 MB of RAM, which is the minimum amount of RAM for using Windows PE.
  • The client must meet the system requirements for the operating system of the install image.

To install an operating system

  • Configure the BIOS of the computer to enable PXE booting, and set the boot order so that it is booting from the network first.
  • Restart the computer, and when prompted, press F12 to start the network boot.

Select the appropriate boot image from the boot menu. (This boot image selection menu will be available only if you have two or more boot images on the server.)

Follow the instructions in the Windows Deployment Services user interface.

NOTE: you may be prompted to enter the Domain Administrator password as shown

When the installation is completed, the computer will restart and Setup will continue.

Further Reading:

For detailed deployment documentation for Windows Deployment Services, see

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