Windows Deployment Services Server

Until I get the chance to write up a new entry this will be my first entry into the Windows tutorials, this is from my old blog and was actually two entries but should be pretty helpful.

I have found no matter which company that you work for, there is a lot of time wasted Imaging then updating and then re-imaging the company machines. As most of you will know there are many ways to stream line this process custom images on disc, Windows Server Update Services etc. The best way that I have found is done with Windows Deployment Services in conjunction with HyperV however I will go through that later. In the next section I will go through the process to help you setup your own WDS server. The first things that you will need are: Windows Server 2008r2 (or higher) Although remote installation services has been around since Server 2003 I will only be covering Server 2008r2 and up Active Directory Domain Services and DNS, although AD DS is not a requirement it is highly recommended as a method to c control what users have access to and controlling deployments, if a AD DS server is not available WDS can be configured as a standalone server. You will need to join your server to a domain before you can integrate with AD. DNS, Domain Name Service is required for resolving client and server names. A DHCP server, can be on the same server as the WDS server however there is an extra configuration step to be done if they do share the same server An NTFS partition for the Remote Install Folder, size is dependant on the amount of Images that you want to store. Well that is it for requirements now on to the installation. Once you have your server installed open the server manager and click on the add roles button, Select Windows Deployment Services from the Server Roles list. Once you click next on this list it will ask you to add the management feature “Windows Server Deployment Tools” once you click ok on that you will be able to progress to the next stage. In the next page you will be able to view the requirements that I mentioned earlier eg. DHCP,DNS,ADDS and a storage location. The next page will ask you to choose if your server will be a deployment server, a transport server or both. For this example we are going to make our server both by clicking next and progressing to the next stage. From here you can complete your installation and if you are running Windows Server 2012 you can tick the box to allow you to restart your destination server however it should not need to. Now that the role is installed we have to configure it, this can be done from the administrative tool “Windows Deployment Services”. When you first open the msc you will want to expand out the Servers drop down. From here you can right click on your server and select configure. From the configure page you will be reminded about the requirements again and then asked if you would like to integrate with AD DS or create a standalone server. Next you will be asked to input the path to your NTFS partition, you will notice that the default is C:RemoteInstall, it is definitely a good idea to configure another logical volume to house your images rather than storing them on your system disk, you will get a warning about this if you decide to keep the default. The next step is to configure how your server will respond to clients, this part is really dependant on how you want your server to work for our example we are going to respond to all clients and not require admin approval. The reason for this is that we want to be able to image new machines as they come in and we do not want to have to open the WDS console every time we are getting imaging a machine, this will also allow us to let our clients image their own machine with out needing to call I.T. however they will only have access to the images that I.T. grant them. Once your configuration is complete you will be sent to the finished page with the option “add images to the server now” ticked for now we will want to un-tick this as we will add an image later. At this point you have an installed and configured WDS server and in the next article I will detail about adding images to the server and how to create your own custom images From this point we assume that you have a working and configured WDS server and now we are going to work on adding images to it. There are two sets of images, boot and install. A boot image is a pre execution environment that allows you to run processes on your system before you install an operating system. Anyone who has ever booted from a Windows install disc will have used a boot image. The install image is as the name suggests the image that is installed onto your hard drive. If you mount a Windows install disc so that you can browse the file structure, head over to the Sources folder and do a search for *.wim. This should return two results a boot.wim and install.wim you can take both of these and them to your server and that will give you the exact same install that is located on that disk. The process to add these files is very simple, I have detailed what I do below. 1. Copy the .wim files from the disc to a temporary location on your hard drive 2. Open the Windows Deployment Services management console 3. Right click on Boot Images and click “add image” After doing this a dialog box will open for you to fill in the details of your new image. 4. Input the location of your image file (tempboot.wim) 5. Input the image name and description 6. Review the detail of your image and then click next Your server will now add your image to the boot images folder located in the NTFS directory that you selected when setting up your server (NTFSBootImagesboot.wim) I find it useful to rename the image file before adding it to the machine as all of the boot and install images will be named the same thing eg. boot.wim, install.wim. This will leave you with a folder full over boot 1.wim, boot 2.wim etc and can be very hard to troubleshoot of there is an issue. Once your image has been added to the server you can finish the dialog and you will see your image under boot images in the management console Now we can do the same to add a base install image, first of all we will need to create an image group. This can be done by right clicking on “Install Images” in the management console and selecting “Add Image Group”. I find it is normally best to name the group after the department in the company that the image will be for, seeing as this is our lab environment ours will be called Lab. We can now right click on the Lab image group and select “Add Install Image” you will be greeted with a similar dialog box as before but instead of using the boot.wim you will be using the install.wim by following the steps below. 1. Input the path to your install.wim file (tempinstall.wim) 2. Select the operating system from that install that you want to publish to users On some discs there may be lots of different editions of Windows to choose from for example Professional, Enterprise, Thin and Datacenter to name a few. At the stage mentioned above that is what you will be choosing from the edition that you want the users to be able to install on their machines. Once you have selected the edition that you want to publish then you can either tick or un-tick the box that says “Use default name and description” in most cases it would be ok to leave this as the default however if you are going to be publishing it to your users there might be a few things that you would like to change. 3. Review your details and then click finish. You will now be able to see your install Image under your Image group in the management console and you will now be able to boot a client machine from the network and get a base install of Windows installed onto it just as if you had inserted the disc into that machine.