As some of you already know, we used RIS (Remote Installation Services) to deploy an OS remotely. But starting with Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008, Microsoft had deployed a new version of RIS, called Windows Deployment Services (WDS).

We can install an OS without using an installation disc. We can deploy an OS through a network installation. Client just have to have a PXE-enabled NIC card.

Windows Deployment Services can deploy these operating systems:

– Windows XP
– Windows Server 2003
– Windows Vista
– Windows 7
– Windows Server 2008 / 2008 R2
– Windows Server 2012 / 2012 R2

Lets quickly explain how Windows Deployment Services works:

  1. Windows Deployment Services Client initiates a special boot process thru the PXE enabled NIC. On a Client, we hit F12 to initiate network boot.

  2. A list of available Windows PE boot images is displayed. This depends on how many boot images we have created in Windows Deployment Services (more on this later).

  3. The Windows Deployment Services user is prompted to enter credentials for accessing and installing images from the Windows Deployment Services server.

  4. Then, a list of available OS images is displayed. After that, we enter serial key, partition the disks and start the image copy process.

Preparing the Windows Deployment Services Server

The Windows Deployment Services server contains any files necessary for PXE booting, then Windows PE boot images, and also Windows system images which we will deploy.

Lets see the requirements for a successful installation of Windows Deployment Services Server:

  • The server must be a domain controller or a member of an Active Directory domain.

  • At least one partition on the server must be formatted as NTFS.

  • The OS must be Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 / 2008 R2, or Windows 2012 / 2012 R2.

Also, we have to prepare our network for this setup:

  • TCP/IP installed and configured

  • A DHCP server, which is used to assign IP addresses to Windows Deployment Services clients

  • A DNS server, which is used to locate AD

  • And of course, an AD

Installing Windows Deployment Services Server

There are two ways to install Windows Deployment Services Server:

  1. by using the Windows Deployment Services Configuration Wizard or

  2. by using the WDSUTIL command-line utility.

We will use the GUI way, the first way.

I have prepared one Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard edition OS installed on a Vmware virtual machine. This server is also a Domain Controller and DNS server.

Windows Deployment Services - Server info

I have configured a DHCP server role also on a second server, as we should not have all these services on just one server, even though this is a lab environment.

Windows Deployment Services - DHCP Server info

Alright, lets start with the Windows Deployment Services configuration. Enter Server Manager, and click the Manage in the upper left corner. Choose ‘Add Roles and Features’

Windows Deployment Services - Start WDS Install

 

When you come to ‘Select server roles’ section, scroll down and check the checkbox next to ‘Windows Deployment Services’

Windows Deployment Services - WDS selectionOn ‘Select role services’ section, leave both roles (Deployment and Transport) checked. You can read a description on right side when you select the role.

Windows Deployment Services - Select Role Services

 

On ‘Confirm installation selections’ page, you can check the box next to ‘Restart the destination server automatically if required’ if you want to auto restart in case there is a need to. But I would advise not to do that as you might have some important services (like now, both AD and DNS).

Click on ‘Install’ button to start Windows Deployment Services installation.

Windows Deployment Services - Confirm installation selections

After the installation of Windows Deployment Services is done, you will see Windows Deployment Services – WDS tab on a left side in Server manager:

Windows Deployment Services - WDS Tab

Go to WINDOWS button and find Windows Deployment Services icon. Click on it to open Windows Deployment Services console:

Windows Deployment Services - WDS console

As you can see, Windows Deployment Services is not configured yet. Right-click on the server and choose ‘Configure Server’

Windows Deployment Services - Configure server

Please read all the stuff on front page. I have already mentioned all of this above, but it is always good to remind yourself about the requirements:

Windows Deployment Services - Requirements

For us, best would be to have this Windows Deployment Services integrated in AD, so please leave it as default (Integrated with AD), and click next:

Windows Deployment Services - Integrate with AD

On next page, setup will ask you where you should place boot images, install images, PXE boot files, and the WDS management tools. I always put those on a separate drive, away from system drive. In my case, I have put it on E:

Windows Deployment Services - Remote Installation Folder Location

On the next page, you have to choose PXE server initial settings. You have three options:

  • Do not respond to any client computers

  • Respond only to known client computers (these computers are ones which have been prestaged)

  • Respond to all client computers (known and unknowns)

We are going to use the third/last option, because I will show you later how to Deploy an operating system to a client. Later on, we can also do with the prestaged computer account too.

So, choose the third option, without checking the box and click next:

Windows Deployment Services - PXE server initial settings

Configuration will start. After it is done, de-check the box next to ‘Add images to the server now’. We will add images later on.

Windows Deployment Services - Operation complete

 

Now, you should see something like this:

Windows Deployment Services - WDS server configured

In these folder, we will store all kind of images.

In my next post, we will try to add image to Windows Deployment Services console, and try to deploy, lets say Windows 10.

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