Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 1/4

Posted by on Sep 10, 2009 in Windows, Windows 2008 R2, Windows 7

I have been known to be at the cutting edge of technology, early adoption of Microsoft technologies is a must and this time round nothing is going to change.  I first played with Windows Deployment Services (WDS) back in the day when it was referred to as Remote Installation Services (RIS) and had first exposure to the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) back when it was in beta and so was Vista at the time.  I took the plunge and deployed Windows Vista using Light Touch deployment via WDS and the WAIK a month after Vista was released to the enterprise and today I will be providing you with step by step instructions on how you can do the same with Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.

In this 4 part series I will begin my focus in providing you with instructions in setting up your WDS role on a Windows 2008 R2 server, with part’s 2 and 3 focusing on utilising the WAIK to create your necessary xml files that are needed for light touch deployment and finish off our setup in part 4 by introducing the capability to inject any necessary drivers to your original “install images”.  This article is assuming you have a Windows 2008 R2 server ready to rock and roll with, so let’s begin!

With the introduction of Roles and Features there is no need to have the Windows 2008 R2 media at hand as all roles and features are included in the initial installation albeit inactive. In order to setup WDS navigate to Administrative Tools / Server Manager and click on Roles on the left navigation pane and then click on Add Role on the right navigation pane. This will invoke the Add Roles Wizard that we have become familiar with in Windows 2008.

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Click Next.  Select Windows Deployment Services as your Server Role.

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Click Next.  One of the many things that Microsoft have improved upon lately is their thorough explanations when deploying roles and features within Windows 2008.  Below is an introduction to Windows Deployment Services and things to note regarding the configuration and installation.

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Click Next.  The below role services are automatically checked.

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Click Next.  The below confirmation screen is displayed.

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Click Next. The installation will now proceed with the results displayed as per the below screen capture.

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Once the installation has completed, navigate to Administrative Tools / Windows Deployment Services. When you click on the server node you will receive the below warning message;

Windows Deployment Services is not configured.
This server is not configured. To configure this server, first verify that you are a local administrator.

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Right click on the server and select configure server.  The below wizard is invoked.  You will need to ensure that the below pre-requisites are met before WDS can become functional.

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Click Next.  Select your Remote Installation Folder Location.  As per the below description, ensure that you choose a partition that is large enough to hold your images.

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Click Next.  Select your PXE settings.  You have the option to prestage your client which is when you create a computer account object in Active Directory Users and Computers and map this computer object to a physical computer.  This then becomes a known client.  In my example below I have selected Respond to all computers for simplicity.

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Click Next.  The server will then go through the configuration process until you receive the below confirmation.  You now have the ability to add your images to the server.  I will leave the Add images to the server now checked which will invoke the Add image wizard.

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Here I will add the Windows 7 boot and install images.  These images are originally located under the sources folder on your Windows 7 DVD.  The two files that you need to locate are, install.wim and boot.wim.  In my example below I have copied these 2 files to the WDS server under C:\Windows7 Images.

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You now have the option to select an existing image group or create a new one.  I have gone ahead and created a group called Windows 7.

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Click Next.  The wizard will detect my 2 images, 1 boot being the boot.wim file and 1 install install image being the install.wim file that I had copied from the Windows 7 media to my image path below.

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Click Next.  The images are now added to the server and will be listed as per the below 2 screen shots.

Below is the Windows 7 install image added from our media.

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Below is the Boot image added from our media.

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This concludes the first part of this article.  In part 2 of this series we will shift our attention to the Windows Automated Installation Kit otherwise known as the “WAIK” where we will concentrate our efforts in automating the PXE boot by creating a WDSunattend.xml file and then continue in part 3 by automating the Out of Box experience on our Windows 7 install image by creating an Imageunattend.xml.

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Articles in this series

  1. Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 1/4 (Installation and Configuration of the WDS Role)
  2. Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 2/4 (Creation & Configuration of WDSUnattend.xml)
  3. Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 3/4 (Creation & Configuration of ImageUnattend.xml)
  4. Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 4/4 (Injecting Drivers)