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Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

Windows Deployment Services Infrastructure

The arguably easiest way to deploy a standalone installation of Windows is through a setup DVD or CD. Recent versions of Windows – starting from Windows Vista – are now based on WIM files which are image based. Unlike Ghost or any other third party imaging software that use sector-based images,  WIM files contain disk images of that are file- based.

This means that there is a WIM file containing the basic OS setup which can then access other files to create the different Windows editions. This also explains why since Vista all Windows editions are available on a single DVD. windows deployment services windows 7

Another advantage of the WIM file architecture is that it can be modified before, during and after deployment using tools such as ImageX, Dism and Windows SIM.

Also don’t forget that the WIM image file format is hardware independent so it can be used to install on OS on different hardware platforms.

Microsoft Windows Deployment Services requires Windows Server 2008 with the WDS service installed as well as ADDS, DNS, DHCP and the NTFS file system.

For more information on using WIM installation methods visit this link

Windows Deployment Services Configuration

WDS relies on the DHCP PXE boot service or boot disks for clients which do not support this technology  to make a connection to a bare-metal client.

In Windows Server 2008 R2 WDS provides a server based central management solution for installing any OS starting from Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and later versions.

The easiest way to install WDS is through the Add Roles Wizard. Once the wizard start it will begin by creating the centrasl image store.

Next, it will check whether the server is a DHCP server. If there is another dedicated DHCP server on the network you should accept the default values of  Do not listen on port 67 and Configure DHCP option 60 to PXE client. That way the DHCP server will service all requests for the WDS server while at the same time disabling these services on the WDS server which prevents conflicts by 2 servers trying to listen on the same port.

Next you will be asked how to respond to client requests which can be No response, Respond only to known  (pre-staged) computers or respond to all which is obviously the most insecure.

At the completion of the wizard you are given the option to add boot and install images to the image store. These can be found on the installation DVD. Bear in mind that you do need different boot and install images for an x64 or x86 version of Windows.

After that you will need to create an image group which basically shares the files in the group across a single instance. For more information on fine-tuning WDS through the properties menu visit.

WDS Image Types

  • Boot Image – Contain Windows PE and the WDS client and offer a boot menu so the client can select which OS to install
  • Install Image – Starts the installation via PXE boot
  • Capture Image – Used to make a copy or capture of a master computer
  • Discover Image – Used to boot clients that do not have a PXE compatible NIC and start the installation from an Install image

Windows Deplyment Services –

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