Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is a really interesting tool from Microsoft. It allows an administrator to remotely deploy Windows operating systems to machines booting from a network adapter.

In environments with a high number of clients WDS can be very useful, a new computer can be formatted just plugging the Ethernet, without any physical support like Windows DVDs or USB drives.

The configuration isn’t difficult but there are some requirements:

  • There must be an Active Directory Domain Services
  • At least one partition on the server must be formatted as NTFS
  • A DHCP server must be active to assign IP addresses to the WDS clients

Let’s see how you can configure and use the Windows Deployment Services.

1. Installing the role

Open the Server Manager and add a new role. Choose Windows Deployment Services:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Follow the steps and install the role:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

From the Tools menu of the Server Manager you are now able to access the WDS configuration panel:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

2. Configuring Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

From the Servers list choose the server, right-click and select Configure Server:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Click Next:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Select Integrated with Active Directory:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Specify the path where the boot and installation images will be stored:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

In our example we configured the server to respond to any request, from known and unknown clients:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Click Finish, WDS will ask you to add the images:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

3. Images addition

A new Wizard will start, asking you to add boot and install images. The images for every version of Windows are included in the official DVD or USB drive, under the folder sources:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Choose the images you want to add:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Click Next:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

The install image has been added:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Right-click on Boot Images and select Add Boot Image:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Specify the path:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Click Next:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Click Next:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

Operation completed!

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

4. Deploy Windows with WDS

We created an empty virtual machine in the same network to show you how to deploy Windows with Windows Deployment Services.

We run the machine and clicked F12:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

The machine is booting via network:

Configuring and using Windows Deployment Services

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