Windows Deployment Services Setup

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The following is a basic howto guide in setting up WDS

New or Existing Server

Your first big decision is if you should install WDS to an existing server or build a fresh server dedicated to the task. You will need enough space to store your hard drive images. Obviously, I'd recommend using a fresh server or VM for this task.

If you choose to use an existing server with DHCP installed. Check your scope options. Option 47 should be checked.


Your next decision is which mode you wish to run WDS in. You have three choices:

  • Native
  • Mixed
  • Legacy

Native: is WDS only. Mixed: the most useful is WDS and the older RIS system together. Legacy: is RIS only.

For Mixed and Legacy you need a pre-SP2 install of Windows 2003 Server. Install RIS from 'Add/Remove Programs','Windows Components'. Then upgrade to SP2.

For Native mode install Windows 2003 Server with SP2 first then install WDS from 'Add/Remove Programs','Windows Components'.

WDS Set-up

The following is for Mixed/Native mode installations only.


You will need a Windows Vista or Windows 2008 Server boot DVD, and the following download...

From the Vista DVD you will need a file called ''. It's in the Sourced folder.
From the WAIK you'll need 'F1_WINPE.WIM' and 'F3_WINPE.WIM'

You will also need to set a static IP for your WDS server if you haven't already done so.

DHCP Settings

On installation of WDS make sure you select 'Activate DHCP' to activate the WDS server. These settings refer to your DHCP Scope Options on your DHCP server. Access through your DHCP MMC snap-in. Change on all DHCP servers if you have more than one.

  • If you are running on the same box as a DHCP server make sure Option 47 is on.
  • Set option 66 to the IP address of your WDS server.
  • Set option 67 to 'boot\x86\'

Active Directory Settings

In your main GPO under 'User Configuration/Windows Settings' you will find 'Remote Installation Services'. Check the 'Choice Options' here.
You may need 'Tools' enabled.

WDS Settings

Right-click on the server in the MMC WDS snap-in and chose 'Properties.
Under the 'PXE Response' Tab select 'Respond to all [Known and Unknown) Client Computers'.

Boot Files

Under the 'Boot' Tab, set both x86 and x64 Default boot program to 'Boot\x86\'

Install Image Groups

Add at least one group to the 'Install Images' folder.

Boot Images

Right click on 'Boot Images' folder and select 'Add Boot Image'. Add the three WIM files from the Vista Boot DVD and WAIK download.
Right click on the 'Microsoft Windows Vista PE (x86)' image and choose 'Create Capture Boot Image'