Using Virtual PC 2007 to test WDS (Windows Deployment Services) to a blank VPC.

Tags: WDS

These are my steps of getting a sysprepped image into WDS (Windows Deployment Services).  I used VPC (Virtual PC 2007) to test the concept, so if you are using different hardware that is emulated with VPC, you’ll need to ensure the proper drivers are installed on the reference machine.  I’m assuming you have an existing Windows 2003 or higher AD domain running AD DNS.  Refer to my prior blog for the documentation about WDS provided by MS.  I wanted to share the steps I did to get up and going.  Hope this helps.

  • Create a new VPC with a 16 GB C: drive
  • Capture the Windows Server 2008 ISO inside your new VPC (I’m assuming you downloaded to the machine hosting VPC)
  • Go through the install when you boot the VPC.
  • Log into your new Windows Server 2008 machine, join your VPC to an AD (Active Directory) domain, name the machine LH-WDS
  • Make sure you are logged into the VPC to authorize the DHCP scope and server in AD 
  • Install WDS and DHCP Server on your new VPC.  This has to be done after joining the domain. 
  • I used just a couple of IP’s in the scope
  • Open the WDS tool in Administrative tools
  • Add the Server to the console on the left side
  • Right click on the server and click on Configure.  I take all the defaults except for the two checkboxes on related to DHCP, I check both of them and what type of clients are allowed.  I chose the third option that allows unknown clients to use WDS when PXE is enabled.  I left option that notifies Administrators for approval unchecked.. 
  • Ensure the WDS DNS entry is setup correctly in DNS. (This should be already done while joining the domain.)  I’ve had issues where the service won’t start, it was because of DNS.
  • Start the WDS service
  • Import the Boot.wim and Install.wim from the Windows Server 2008 ISO.  These are in the /sources folder.  This will import the base ‘Boot’ and ‘Install’ image information.
  • Create a capture image using the Windows interface
  • In the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, expand the Boot Images node.
  • Right-click the image to use it as a capture image.
  • Click Create Capture Boot Image. (The boot.wim you just imported, call it sysprepImage.wim)
  • Type a name, description, and the location to save a local copy of the file. You must specify a location in case there is a problem with the network when you deploy the capture image.
  • Continue to follow the instructions in the wizard, and when it is complete, click Finish.
  • Right-click the boot image folder.
  • Click Add Boot Image. (sysprepImage.wim)
  • Browse and select the new capture image, and then click Next.
  • Follow the instructions in the Windows Deployment Services Capture Utility.
  • This should show the sysprepImage.wim listed in the Boot Images folder.

Setup a reference machine and capture the sysprep image

  • Create a new VPC, 10 GB hard drive is what I used.  Remember to setup the 512 MB RAM setting.
  • Capture the Windows Server 2008 ISO again
  • Start the new VPC and walk through a Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition install. This takes 20 – 30 minutes to install depending on your
  • Log into the VPC as Administrator, install VPC client additions.
  • Make any other adjustments you want to the base image, installing things like IIS7, or other components to fit your image.
  • Open the command prompt
  • Go to c:windowssystem32sysprep and type sysprep.exe
  • Select ‘Generalize’ and click OK.  Make sure to leave the ‘Reboot’ option selected.  Use OOBE (Out of Box Experience)
  • Let sysprep do its magic then when it is rebooting, turn the VPC off
  • Turn the VPC back on and hit the DELETE key when it first boots up, this will allow you to change the VPC boot order to PXE (Pre-execution environment).  When the VPC boots up, it’ll query for a PXE server, which WDS will respond.
  • Hit F12 when booting up.
  • Inside the Windows Boot Manager, select the Boot Image (sysprepImage.wim) you imported into WDS.
  • Walk through the steps, make sure when naming it, to have the image stored on the C: drive, I ran into an issue when trying to save it on the X: drive. 
  • The Upload could take a while.  Go have a cup of coffee or 10.

Test the process

  • Create another blank VPC.  10 GB drive and 512 MB of RAM.
  • When the VPC first boots, hit your DELETE key to change the boot order so PXE is listed first in the BIOS boot order.
  • Hit F12
  • Select your install image listed. (sysprepImage)
  • Walk through the steps and the image “should” deploy. 



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