Welcome to the final article in this series on Windows Deployment Services, WAIK and Windows 7. Our first articled introduced WDS and its configuration with parts 2 and 3 focusing on our beloved WAIK tool and Windows System Image Manager and the creation of our XML answer files. We conclude the series by introducing one of the enhanced features in WDS and Windows 2008 and that’s the ability to inject driver packages and have them deployed to our client computers along with the install image. Note that this functionality is only available when you are installing images of the following operating systems: Windows Vista with SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2.
I have on purposely left this discussion to the end in order to determine what driver packages need to be added to the WDS server and this could only be determined after deploying our first Windows 7 Image via WDS to our various hardware. After the initial deployment I would log onto the machine and launch the Device Manager MMC and see what devices were not detected by the Windows 7 install. From experience, these will primarily be audio and/or video drivers that you will need to download from the manufacturers support site. Since Windows 7 has just been released into the market, many vendors such as Dell and HP may not have released Windows 7 certified drivers for their older fleet, however I have found that Windows Vista drivers are compatible in most instances. So let’s begin the process!
My Windows 7 install image was deployed to a Dell Latitude D630 in which Window 7 did not detect the video adapter so I went forth and downloaded the latest “Vista” drivers from the Dell support site. The Dell drivers are wrapped in a nice executable for installation, however because we are injecting these drivers via WDS we need to extract the contents of the executable which will contain the .inf file that describes the package. The .inf file includes a list of the files that make up the package (and their locations), and is included with the driver installation program. Generally, the .inf file is located on the driver installation media in the same folder as the Setup program, or in a subfolder.
We can easily extract these via WinRAR by right clicking on the executable and selecting Extract to <foldername>.
Once we have these files extracted we can proceed and add the driver package via WDS, so let’s navigate to the WDS Management console and right click on drivers and select “add driver package”
Browse for the .inf file that we extracted earlier via WinRAR and click Next.
Double click on the package details and click on the second tab “Drivers” to confirm that the correct drivers are being distributed.
Continuing will then proceed and add the driver package as per the below screenshot.
We will not place the “driver packages in a driver group” at this time and we will not “Modify the filters for this group now.”
We can now click on Finish to complete the Task.
We will now follow the instructions as per the above screen capture and invoke the “Add Driver Group Wizard” by right clicking on the Drivers node. Type a name for this driver group similar to the below screen capture. In most instances you will create driver groups for different makes and models.
Click Next. Now click add to select a filter type. I will be creating a filter based on manufacturer as listed in the BIOS.
You can find this information on the client computer using the System Information tool (Msinfo32.exe). To open this tool, click Start, click Run, type msinfo32.exe, and then click OK. This value is listed as the System Manufacturer.
Click on Add
Now that you have located the Manufacturer you can add the parameter as per the below screen shot.
You also have the ability to be specific with regards to applying these drivers based on the selected install image. Because I only have the single Windows 7 install image I will leave this filter blank and continue.
Leave the default option of “Install only the driver packages that match a client’s hardware”.
That’s all that is to it. The next time you deploy an Install Image that meets the BIOS manufacturer’s parameter it will inject the necessary drivers for Windows to freely use. It sure beats the legacy method of creating $oem$ folders etc and hoping that the drivers are correct. As you can see, WDS in Windows 2008 R2 simplifies matters dramatically and the driver validation process is comforting to an IT Pro, ensuring that you have the correct drivers selected.
Articles in this series
- Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 1/4 (Installation and Configuration of the WDS Role)
- Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 2/4 (Creation & Configuration of WDSUnattend.xml)
- Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 3/4 (Creation & Configuration of ImageUnattend.xml)
- Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 4/4 (Injecting Drivers)