Windows Server 2008 – Deployment using Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

 

For Windows Server 2008 deployment we will be using Windows Deployment Services installed on Windows 2003  – inftwsm005 (149.171.56.13)

In a nutshell, on the Windows Server 2008 DVD media you can find two WIM files, boot.wim (PE image) and the other is install.wim (the actual operating systems). The boot.wim file is the very first PE GUI that you see which asks you all the questions including what OS you want to install and drive configuration before it starts to copy the files to the hard drive. The install.wim file contains 6 different versions of the operating system for the one type of Architecture. For example a 32-bit DVD media will give you the choice to install:

Windows Longhorn SERVERENTERPRISE
Windows Longhorn SERVERDATACENTER
Windows Longhorn SERVERSTANDARD
Windows Longhorn SERVERSTANDARDCORE
Windows Longhorn SERVERENTERPRISECORE
Windows Longhorn SERVERDATACENTERCORE

There are several steps involved to prepare for a successful deployment of Windows Server 2008.

  1. Install Windows Deployment Services
  2. Configure Windows Deployment Services
  3. Storage locations for the .WIM files, build scripts/apps & Operating System files
  4. Editing the boot.wim file (used for the PE installation of the deployment)
  5. Adding the Windows PE boot.wim file
  6. About .WIM files
  7. Editing the Windows Server 2008 image
  8. Different builds
  9. Create Unattended XML files to be used to auto attend to the WIM files. WDSClientUnattend.xml attends to boot.wim, and AutoUnattend.xml attends to install.wim.

 

Installing Windows Deployment Services

To install WDS on a Windows Server 2003 SP2 you only need to add the component from “Add or Remove Programs

To install it on Windows Server 2008 it is practically the same procedure, just add the Windows Deployment Services role from the "Add Role Wizard". After that, all the configurations tasks are the same, since it is the same snap-in; and you’ll get bonus options using WDS on W2K8, like multicasting transmissions.

To install Windows Deployment Services on Windows Server 2003 SP1 first you must install the "Remote Installation Service" (RIS) component, you will not need to configure anything special with this component. After that, you have to use WAIK media, in the options you will find the Windows Deployment Services for installation.

 

Configuring Windows Deployment Services

 

Once installed, open Windows Deployment Services which can be found in Administrative Tools

On the console, to get started right-click on the listed server and select “Configure Server”.

Here are the considerations you need to have to configure your server properly.

Configuring the Server

After you selected the folder where you are going to store all the images for WDS, you need to check on the DHCP settings. The wizard will explain you about this option.

Since in my example I have a Microsoft-DHCP Server working on a different server from the WDS, these two options will remain unchecked. If you have both, WDS and DHCP, on the same server you should check both options.

Response Configurations: This is where you set to which clients you will respond when you receive a PXE request.

The difference between known clients and unknown is decided if the Computer Object exists on Active Directory.

If you want to create the computer objects before running WDS on that computer, you should have the GUID of that computer and include that information on the computer object. When you create the object on Active Directory, using “Active Directory Users and Computers” you need to set that “This is a managed computer” and insert the GUID.

Selecting this option can be really annoying if you want to improve your deployment, because you have to add the object first on Active Directory every time that you want to deploy an image, but it’s of course the more secure option to apply.

Or you can use the option “For unknown clients, notify administrator and respond after approval”. With this option, all the unknown clients that request to boot from PXE will appear to you in“Pending Devices” on your console, from there you can approve or decline them.

Or simply use the option “Respond to all (unknown and known) computer clients” and when you don’t need WDS, you can just stop the service to avoid any rogue clients.

On the final step of the wizard, select to start adding images and that’s it.

 

Storage locations for the .WIM files, build scripts/apps & Operating System files

There are two types of .XML files, WDSClientUnattend.xml and autounattend.xml. WDSClientUnattend.xml is used as the answer file for the initial PE installation, and autounattend.xml is used for the actual OS installation. There are two of each set of files, x86 and x64. The best place to store these are on the Windows Deployment Server:

D:\RemoteInstall\WdsClientUnattend\x86
D:\RemoteInstall\WdsClientUnattend\x64

The build scripts and applications are used for post deployment and are called upon the first logon. They are located here:

D:\Distribution\Control

 

The operating system files are located here:

D:\Distribution\Operating Systems

 

Editing the Windows PE boot.wim file

The boot.wim file is used only for the first initial part of the deployment process, which means the only part you will need to do is add in any mass storage drivers, so that you will be able to deploy the OS. To do this, you will need to mount the boot.wim image. In this example, this is for x86, you will need to do the same for x64.

  1. Create a folder on your workstation’s C: drive called Mount (if it doesn’t exist).
  2. The location of the current WIM file being used is D:\Distribution\Operating Systems\Windows Server 2008 – x86\sources
  3. Map a drive (X:) to the distribution share of WDS
  4. From a CMD window run the following command:  "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" /mountrw "X:\Distribution\Operating Systems\Windows Server 2008 – x86\sources\boot.wim" 2 c:\mount
  5. You will need to source the RIS network card drivers for the server you are deploying to. At UNSW, it’s the NetXtreme II gigabit driver that is user, but remember only to use the RIS version of the driver that can be found http://www.broadcom.com/support/ethernet_nic/netxtremeii.php
  6. If you have trouble finding the correct RIS network card driver, go to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923834/en-us
  7. Next, make sure you have the drivers you want to integrate unpacked and local on your workstation.
  8. Run the following command to integrate those drivers:  "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\peimg.exe" /inf=C:\Driver\driver.inf c:\mount  (replace Driver\driver.inf with the absolute path to your INF).
  9. Make sure the command shows successful then run the following command:  "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" /unmount /commit c:\mount
  10. If that’s successful then all you need to do is delete the boot image in WDS and then re-add it.

 

The best place to store the boot.wim files are on the Windows Deployment Server

 

Adding the Windows PE boot.wim file

From within Windows Deployment Services, right click on the server and select properties

 

SNAGIT

Click on the Client tab

 

SNAGIT

  Add in the .XLM files in here for each architecture.

 

About .WIM files

.WIM files are single instance storage image files, and the install.wim file for the OS contains 6 Windows Server 2008 images in each x86 and x64 versions. They are all indexed with different index numbers in each .WIM file.

To find out what is inside an install.wim file, you need to run the following command.
"C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" /info "X:\Distribution\Operating Systems\WinSvr2008\sources\install.wim"

Below you will notice that in one install.wim file, there are 6 different images with a single instance, each separately indexed.

 

WIM Information:
—————-
GUID:        {af84a596-b67e-4c2c-9672-47ba92e4ec52}
Image Count: 6
Compression: LZX
Part Number: 1/1
Attributes:  0x8
             Relative path junction

Available Image Choices:
————————
<WIM>
  <TOTALBYTES>3171938401</TOTALBYTES>
  <IMAGE INDEX="1">
    <NAME>Windows Longhorn SERVERSTANDARD</NAME>
    <DESCRIPTION>Windows Longhorn SERVERSTANDARD</DESCRIPTION>
    <FLAGS>SERVERSTANDARD</FLAGS>
    <WINDOWS>
      <ARCH>0</ARCH>
      <PRODUCTNAME>Microsoft« Windows« Operating System</PRODUCTNAME>
      <HAL>acpiapic</HAL>
      <PRODUCTTYPE>ServerNT</PRODUCTTYPE>
      <PRODUCTSUITE>Terminal Server</PRODUCTSUITE>
      <LANGUAGES>
        <LANGUAGE>en-US</LANGUAGE>
        <DEFAULT>en-US</DEFAULT>
      </LANGUAGES>
      <VERSION>
        <MAJOR>6</MAJOR>
        <MINOR>0</MINOR>
        <BUILD>6001</BUILD>
        <SPBUILD>18000</SPBUILD>
      </VERSION>
      <SYSTEMROOT>WINDOWS</SYSTEMROOT>
    </WINDOWS>
    <DIRCOUNT>7526</DIRCOUNT>
    <FILECOUNT>39560</FILECOUNT>
    <TOTALBYTES>7783349013</TOTALBYTES>
    <CREATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85A95</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0xEAC0220C</LOWPART>
    </CREATIONTIME>
    <LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C98F00</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0xB5B8CB35</LOWPART>
    </LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
    <DISPLAYNAME>Windows Server 2008 Standard (Full Installation)</DISPLAYNAME>
    <DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>This option installs the complete installation of Windows Server. This installation includes the entire user interface, and it supports all of the server roles.</DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>
  </IMAGE>
  <IMAGE INDEX="2">
    <NAME>Windows Longhorn SERVERENTERPRISE</NAME>
    <DESCRIPTION>Windows Longhorn SERVERENTERPRISE</DESCRIPTION>
    <FLAGS>SERVERENTERPRISE</FLAGS>
    <WINDOWS>
      <ARCH>0</ARCH>
      <PRODUCTNAME>Microsoft« Windows« Operating System</PRODUCTNAME>
      <HAL>acpiapic</HAL>
      <PRODUCTTYPE>ServerNT</PRODUCTTYPE>
      <PRODUCTSUITE>Enterprise</PRODUCTSUITE>
      <LANGUAGES>
        <LANGUAGE>en-US</LANGUAGE>
        <DEFAULT>en-US</DEFAULT>
      </LANGUAGES>
      <VERSION>
        <MAJOR>6</MAJOR>
        <MINOR>0</MINOR>
        <BUILD>6001</BUILD>
        <SPBUILD>18000</SPBUILD>
      </VERSION>
      <SYSTEMROOT>WINDOWS</SYSTEMROOT>
    </WINDOWS>
    <DIRCOUNT>7309</DIRCOUNT>
    <FILECOUNT>38055</FILECOUNT>
    <TOTALBYTES>5931712310</TOTALBYTES>
    <CREATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85A95</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0xEFF686A7</LOWPART>
    </CREATIONTIME>
    <LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85AA0</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0x1F4490D0</LOWPART>
    </LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
    <DISPLAYNAME>Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Full Installation)</DISPLAYNAME>
    <DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>This option installs the complete installation of Windows Server. This installation includes the entire user interface, and it supports all of the server roles.</DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>
  </IMAGE>
  <IMAGE INDEX="3">
    <NAME>Windows Longhorn SERVERDATACENTER</NAME>
    <DESCRIPTION>Windows Longhorn SERVERDATACENTER</DESCRIPTION>
    <FLAGS>SERVERDATACENTER</FLAGS>
    <WINDOWS>
      <ARCH>0</ARCH>
      <PRODUCTNAME>Microsoft« Windows« Operating System</PRODUCTNAME>
      <HAL>acpiapic</HAL>
      <PRODUCTTYPE>ServerNT</PRODUCTTYPE>
      <PRODUCTSUITE>Terminal Server</PRODUCTSUITE>
      <LANGUAGES>
        <LANGUAGE>en-US</LANGUAGE>
        <DEFAULT>en-US</DEFAULT>
      </LANGUAGES>
      <VERSION>
        <MAJOR>6</MAJOR>
        <MINOR>0</MINOR>
        <BUILD>6001</BUILD>
        <SPBUILD>18000</SPBUILD>
      </VERSION>
      <SYSTEMROOT>WINDOWS</SYSTEMROOT>
    </WINDOWS>
    <DIRCOUNT>7309</DIRCOUNT>
    <FILECOUNT>38050</FILECOUNT>
    <TOTALBYTES>5931855545</TOTALBYTES>
    <CREATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85A97</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0x05AD93F6</LOWPART>
    </CREATIONTIME>
    <LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85AA0</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0x62AAEB12</LOWPART>
    </LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
    <DISPLAYNAME>Windows Server 2008 Datacenter (Full Installation)</DISPLAYNAME>
    <DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>This option installs the complete installation of Windows Server. This installation includes the entire user interface, and it supports all of the server roles.</DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>
  </IMAGE>
  <IMAGE INDEX="4">
    <NAME>Windows Longhorn SERVERSTANDARDCORE</NAME>
    <DESCRIPTION>Windows Longhorn SERVERSTANDARDCORE</DESCRIPTION>
    <FLAGS>SERVERSTANDARD</FLAGS>
    <WINDOWS>
      <ARCH>0</ARCH>
      <PRODUCTNAME>Microsoft« Windows« Operating System</PRODUCTNAME>
      <HAL>acpiapic</HAL>
      <PRODUCTTYPE>ServerNT</PRODUCTTYPE>
      <PRODUCTSUITE>Terminal Server</PRODUCTSUITE>
      <LANGUAGES>
        <LANGUAGE>en-US</LANGUAGE>
        <DEFAULT>en-US</DEFAULT>
      </LANGUAGES>
      <VERSION>
        <MAJOR>6</MAJOR>
        <MINOR>0</MINOR>
        <BUILD>6001</BUILD>
        <SPBUILD>18000</SPBUILD>
      </VERSION>
      <SYSTEMROOT>WINDOWS</SYSTEMROOT>
    </WINDOWS>
    <DIRCOUNT>3200</DIRCOUNT>
    <FILECOUNT>13632</FILECOUNT>
    <TOTALBYTES>1658509561</TOTALBYTES>
    <CREATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85A92</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0x3A08651B</LOWPART>
    </CREATIONTIME>
    <LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85AA0</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0x97178004</LOWPART>
    </LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
    <DISPLAYNAME>Windows Server 2008 Standard (Server Core Installation)</DISPLAYNAME>
    <DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>This option installs a minimal installation of Windows Server without the standard Windows user interface, and with a subset of server roles that can be managed from a command prompt, reducing management requirements and attack surface.</DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>
  </IMAGE>
  <IMAGE INDEX="5">
    <NAME>Windows Longhorn SERVERENTERPRISECORE</NAME>
    <DESCRIPTION>Windows Longhorn SERVERENTERPRISECORE</DESCRIPTION>
    <FLAGS>SERVERENTERPRISE</FLAGS>
    <WINDOWS>
      <ARCH>0</ARCH>
      <PRODUCTNAME>Microsoft« Windows« Operating System</PRODUCTNAME>
      <HAL>acpiapic</HAL>
      <PRODUCTTYPE>ServerNT</PRODUCTTYPE>
      <PRODUCTSUITE>Enterprise</PRODUCTSUITE>
      <LANGUAGES>
        <LANGUAGE>en-US</LANGUAGE>
        <DEFAULT>en-US</DEFAULT>
      </LANGUAGES>
      <VERSION>
        <MAJOR>6</MAJOR>
        <MINOR>0</MINOR>
        <BUILD>6001</BUILD>
        <SPBUILD>18000</SPBUILD>
      </VERSION>
      <SYSTEMROOT>WINDOWS</SYSTEMROOT>
    </WINDOWS>
    <DIRCOUNT>3224</DIRCOUNT>
    <FILECOUNT>13702</FILECOUNT>
    <TOTALBYTES>1664838039</TOTALBYTES>
    <CREATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85A91</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0xB4CE7239</LOWPART>
    </CREATIONTIME>
    <LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85AA0</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0xC915CF34</LOWPART>
    </LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
    <DISPLAYNAME>Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Server Core Installation)</DISPLAYNAME>
    <DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>This option installs a minimal installation of Windows Server without the standard Windows user interface, and with a subset of server roles that can be managed from a command prompt, reducing management requirements and attack surface.</DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>
  </IMAGE>
  <IMAGE INDEX="6">
    <NAME>Windows Longhorn SERVERDATACENTERCORE</NAME>
    <DESCRIPTION>Windows Longhorn SERVERDATACENTERCORE</DESCRIPTION>
    <FLAGS>SERVERDATACENTER</FLAGS>
    <WINDOWS>
      <ARCH>0</ARCH>
      <PRODUCTNAME>Microsoft« Windows« Operating System</PRODUCTNAME>
      <HAL>acpiapic</HAL>
      <PRODUCTTYPE>ServerNT</PRODUCTTYPE>
      <PRODUCTSUITE>Terminal Server</PRODUCTSUITE>
      <LANGUAGES>
        <LANGUAGE>en-US</LANGUAGE>
        <DEFAULT>en-US</DEFAULT>
      </LANGUAGES>
      <VERSION>
        <MAJOR>6</MAJOR>
        <MINOR>0</MINOR>
        <BUILD>6001</BUILD>
        <SPBUILD>18000</SPBUILD>
      </VERSION>
      <SYSTEMROOT>WINDOWS</SYSTEMROOT>
    </WINDOWS>
    <DIRCOUNT>3224</DIRCOUNT>
    <FILECOUNT>13694</FILECOUNT>
    <TOTALBYTES>1664599878</TOTALBYTES>
    <CREATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85A92</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0x1D133142</LOWPART>
    </CREATIONTIME>
    <LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
      <HIGHPART>0x01C85AA0</HIGHPART>
      <LOWPART>0xFB3A4404</LOWPART>
    </LASTMODIFICATIONTIME>
    <DISPLAYNAME>Windows Server 2008 Datacenter (Server Core Installation)</DISPLAYNAME>
    <DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>This option installs a minimal installation of Windows Server without the standard Windows user interface, and with a subset of server roles that can be managed from a command prompt, reducing management requirements and attack surface.</DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>
  </IMAGE>
</WIM>

You can append to the install.wim file with other images (more than 6) that you have mounted from different .wim files using the syntax /APPEND image_path image_file "image_name" ["description"].

 

Editing the Windows Server 2008 install.wim image file

The reason why you would want to edit the image of Windows Server 2008, is so that you can add specific files and folders to the operating system that will be available upon completion of deployment. For example, if you wanted to install custom apps post deployment, you can create (C:\Install) folder as part of the image, and in here it can contain scripts and apps to be installed. In my example, I will have two different builds

 

  1. Load the .WIM image file that you want to add files to (scripts & applications). Remember to do this as many times as you need for each image index number.

    For the Standard Edition (image index 1)
    "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" /mountrw "X:\Distribution\Operating Systems\Windows Server 2008 – x86\sources\install.wim" 1 c:\mount

    For the Enterprise Edition (image index 2)
    "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" /mountrw "X:\Distribution\Operating Systems\Windows Server 2008 – x86\sources\install.wim" 2 c:\mount

    For the DataCenter Edition (image index 3)
    "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" /mountrw "X:\Distribution\Operating Systems\Windows Server 2008 – x86\sources\install.wim" 3 c:\mount

  2. To unmount without saving the WIM file

    "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" /unmount c:\mount

  3. To unmount and save the WIM file

    "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" /unmount /commit c:\mount

 

Different builds

During the deployment process there are two separate builds, one for Domain Controllers and one for everything else. The difference is that with the domain controller, Symantec Net Backup is not installed. However two additional Windows Server 2008 features are installed, Remote Server Administration Tools and Group Policy Management Console.

For post deployment, the post deployment script (install.vbs) will automatically search the registry for extra information.

The OS Architecture is found in the following location HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment\PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE

All the other hardware information is found using a WMI query with the install.vbs script, and one of these is the Manufacturer of the machine, if this resolves to:

  • "VMWARE, Inc." then VMware additions will be installed
  • "HP" then it will install the HP ProLiant Support Pack for Microsoft Windows Server 2008
  • "Dell Inc." then it will install Dell OpenManage Server Administrator and Intel PRO PCI-E Gigabit Family of Adapters

 

Creating Unattended XML files for the WinPE & OS deployment

For my example, I’ll be using two sets of each architecture specific files, one WDSClientUnattend.xml and two AutoUnattend.xml files, AutoUnattend_DC.xml (for Domain Controllers) and AutoUnattend_Generic.xml (for Generic builds).

Below is an example of AutoUnattend_DC.xml the only difference is that it executes a different command at first logon.

SNAGIT  

The install.bat file which is first run does the following:

  1. Maps W: drive to Windows Deployment Server

    net use w: \\inftwsm005.adtest.unsw.edu.au\distribution$\Control\WinSvr2008 /user:adtest\svcDeployment

  2. Copies robocopy.exe to the local system32 directory of the newly deployed server. Also copies a buildpurpose.txt file to the c:\install\script directory based on which OS build is being deployed.

    xcopy w:\robocopy.exe %windir%\System32\ /Y
    xcopy w:\BuildPurpose\DC\buildpurpose.txt %systemdrive%\install\script\ /Y

  3. Removes W: drive

    net use w: /delete /yes

  4. Uses RoboCopy.exe and mirrors the folder \\inftwsm005.adtest.unsw.edu.au\distribution$\Control\WinSvr2008\install with c:\install, and ignores the buildpurpose.txt file.

    %windir%\System32\robocopy.exe \\inftwsm005.adtest.unsw.edu.au\distribution$\Control\WinSvr2008\install c:\install /MIR /XF buildpurpose.txt /R:1 /W:1

  5. Then kicks off the post deployment script install.vbs

    cscript c:\install\script\Install.vbs

 

WDSClientUnattend.xml(You will need to repeat this again with the x64 install.wim file)

This is the first file used by WDS to respond to all the first configurations on the Windows PE: Disk partitions (creating, modifying) and selecting the image from WDS that we are going to install.

As you can imagine, all the components that we will add will go on Windows PE cycle:

  • x86_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE_6.0.6000.16385_neutral\SetupUILanguage

  • x86_Microsoft-Windows-Setup_6.0.6000.16385_neutral\DiskConfiguration\Disk\CreatePartitions\CreatePartition

  • x86_Microsoft-Windows-Setup_6.0.6000.16385_neutral\DiskConfiguration\Disk\CreatePartitions\ModifyPartition

  • x86_Microsoft-Windows-Setup_6.0.6000.16385_neutral\DiskConfiguration\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo

  • x86_Microsoft-Windows-Setup_6.0.6000.16385_neutral\DiskConfiguration\WindowsDeploymentServices\ImageSelection\InstallImage

  • x86_Microsoft-Windows-Setup_6.0.6000.16385_neutral\DiskConfiguration\WindowsDeploymentServices\ImageSelection\InstallTo

  • x86_Microsoft-Windows-Setup_6.0.6000.16385_neutral\DiskConfiguration\WindowsDeploymentServices\Login\Credentials

Here’s an example of all the components and values that can be inserted on the answer file. On the values I have set in here I’m doing the following:

– Setup and keyboard language: English
– Delete and create a single NTFS partition on root disk.
– The partition will take the complete size of the HD.
– Label: system.
– Installation Group: VistaInstallation. This is the group that we created when we uploaded the image.
– File: Install.wim. This is the name of the installation file that we uploaded.
– Image Name: This is the description name that we used on the installation that we uploaded.
– User and domain name that will be used to login and choose available images. No higher privileges needed on the user.

To confirm that the answer file has no errors, click on Tools and Validate Answer File. All the errors will be displayed and explained on the lower panel.

Once the file is validated click on Save and use the name WDSClientUnattend. This file must be stored inside the folder of installation files created by default: /RemoteInstall/WDSClientUnattend.xml

 

AutoUnattend.xml(You will need to repeat this again with the x64 install.wim file)

To actually create the .XML files, use windows System Image Manager and select the components that are necessary for the answer files.

  1. Open System Image Manager for Start Menu.

  2. Click on File and click on Select Windows Image

  3. Select the install.wim from D:\Distribution\Operating Systems\Windows Server 2008 – x86\sources

  4. From the file menu select New answer file.

We’ll create two files that are necessary for a complete unattended image installation: WDSClientUnattend.xml and AutoUnattend.xml.

This is the file that we are using to answer all the Vista configurations: Product key, computer name, domain joining, local users and passwords, etc.

The components that need to be added are the following:

Cycle 4: Specialize

SNAGIT

SNAGIT SNAGIT SNAGIT SNAGIT SNAGIT SNAGIT SNAGIT

 

Cycle 7: OobeSystem

 

SNAGIT

SNAGIT SNAGIT SNAGIT SNAGIT SNAGIT


To confirm that the answer file has no errors, click on Tools and Validate Answer File. All the errors will be displayed and explained on the lower panel.

Once the file is validated click on Save and use the name AutoUnattend_DC or AutoUnattend_Generic. Locate this answer file D:\RemoteInstall\WdsClientUnattend on the Windows Deployment Server.

Note: A good thing about System Image Manager is that for each component that you have here, you can access to the description of it. If you have any doubt on the values that you are placing, take a look to the help file.

 

Once all the unattended files are created, all you need to do is to associate each file to the images we are going to install:

1. Associating WDSClientUnattend.

a) Open the WDS console on your server.

b) On the servers listed on the snap-in, right click on the server name and select Properties.

c) Open the Client tab and select Enable Unattended Installations.

d) According to the architecture where you created the image, browse for each WDSClientUnattend.xml files.

2. Associating AutoUnattend

a) On the Installation Images, and in one of the Image Groups, right click on the first image, select properties.

b) Select the option Allow image to install in unattended mode.

d) Click on Select File and browse for AutoUnattend.xml.

You have to remember that at the moment of booting a client machine, once you’ve selected the WindowsPE image to boot, the complete installation process will not require any user intervention. If you have to select on clients different disk options or partitions, you can deselect the option where you choose the WDSClientUnattend file; with this you’ll get to manually introduce any changes on image selection and disk management.

Common Issue on x64 images and WDS

I’ve encountered that there are some scenarios that the 64bits images are not available for selection on a deployment, even though you have correctly uploaded to the WDS Server and the client supports x64 architecture.

The problem is that when the client connects to the WDS Server (soon after you pressed F12 to boot from the network) it doesn’t notify that it is x64 compatible client. And for the server, the client is just x86 compatible and the rest of the images do not apply for it.

To solve it:

1. Open a cmd on the WDS Server

2. Insert WDSUTIL /set-server /architecturediscovery:yes

And the next time any client contacts the WDS Server, will first notify about if is x64 compatible.

Hope you find this guide useful.

Computers and Internet

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hi Marc!This guide is awsome… & will save tons of hours for all the WDS deployers! :) Keep up with the guides and you can make money on it! :) Again many thanx for the time you put on this article!Best regards,/Jobb

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