Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is a service role that allows you to deploy Windows operating systems to the PXE supported clients. You can install Windows operating systems on the PXE-enabled clients without the need of physical media. Further, it allows you to deploy Windows operating systems on multiple clients simultaneously. Thus, reducing the overall installation time. In this post, we will explain how to install and configure WDS in Windows Server 2016. You can use either a physical server or a virtual machine running on a virtualized platform such as Hyper-V, VMware, or VirtualBox. You may use the following eBook that contains Windows Server 2016 step by step lab exercise with virtual machine setup instructions.
Prerequisites to Configure WDS Server
Before to configure WDS server, first you need to ensure that your server meets the following requirements:
- A Domain Controller or a Domain Member server.
- A properly configured DNS server to provide name resolution.
- A DHCP server with the appropriate DHCP pool to provide IP address to the PXE clients.
- An NTFS shared folder to store the WDS image files.
- An installation media such as DVD or ISO image for the clients that you intend to install.
- Clients with the PXE-enabled LAN adapter.
We assume that your server meets the above-mentioned prerequisites. If required, you can visit the following links to prepare your WDS server.
- How to configure domain controller in Windows Server 2016
- How to configure DNS server in Windows Server 2016
- How to configure DHCP in Windows Server 2016
Installing Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
To install Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server role, you need to perform the following steps:
- On the Server Manager tool, click Manage, and then click Add Roles and Features.
- Accept the default selections and click Next until you get the Select server roles page.
- On the Select server roles page, as shown in the following figure, select the Windows Deployment Services check box.
- On the Add Roles and Features Wizard window, click Add Features.
- Accept the default selections and click Next, until you get the Confirm installation selections page.
- Click Install and complete the installation process.
Configure WDS Server
After installing WDS server role, next you need to configure WDS server. To do so, you need to perform the following steps:
- On the Server Manager tool, click Tools and then click Windows Deployment Services.
- On the Windows Deployment Services console, expand Servers.
- Select and right-click your WDS server name and select Configure Server.
- Navigate to the Install Options page, ensure that the Integrated with Active Directory radio button is selected and then click Next.
- On the Remote Installation Folder Location page, select the shared folder or click Next to accept the default value. This folder will hold the WDS images.
- On the DHCP Server page, if your WDS server also hosts the DHCP server role, select the Do not listen on DHCP and DHCPv6 option. If your DHCP server is running on a different server, remove this check box.
- On the PXE Server Initial Settings page, there are three options: All the options are self-explanatory. Select the Respond to all client computers (known and unknown) radio button and then click Next. This option will allow all the PXE-enabled clients to start the installation process. Further, the Admin Approval check box allows an administrator to manually approve each client before they can start the installation process.
- On the Operation Complete page, clear the Add images to the server now check box and click Finish. If you get “The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion” error, right-click WDS server and then start the WDS service manually to troubleshoot it.
- If the WDS service still failed to start, check the WDS server properties and ensure that the Do not listen on DHCP port option is selected.
Adding Install Image to WDS Server
Now, you have installed and configured WDS in Windows Server 2016. The next step is to add the WDS images that you want to deploy on your network. To add the WDS images, you need to add the Boot images and Install images files for the supported Windows operating systems. To add an install.wim image file to WDS server, you need to perform the following steps:
- Select and right-click Install Images and then click Add Install Image.
- On the Image Group page, select an existing image group name or type a name to create a new one.
- On the Image File page, click Browse and navigate to the Sources directory of the installation media and select the Install.wim file.
- On the available images page, select the editions that you intend to deploy for your network.
- Accept the default selections through the rest of the pages and click Finish to complete the task.
Note: The process may take several minutes.
Adding Boot Image to WDS Server
Along with the install.wim file that contains the Windows OS files you also need to add a boot image. The boot image is used to initiate the boot process for a Windows OS. To add a boot image file (boot.wim) to WDS server, you need to perform the following steps:
- Select and right-click Boot Images and then click Add Boot Image.
- Click Browse and navigate to installation media and select the boot.wim file.
- Accept the default selections through the rest of the pages to complete the task.
Installing Windows Using PXE LAN Boot
Now, your WDS server is ready to be used. To test your WDS configuration, perform the following steps:
- On the client machine that has the PXE–enabled LAN adapter, reboot the system and select the Network Boot option.
- When the system reboots, press F12 for network service boot.
- After a few minutes, the Windows Setup screen will display. Follow the on-screen instructions and complete the installation process.
In this post, we have discussed how to install and configure WDS in Windows Server 2016. If you are using the VMware virtual platform, you can visit the following link.
How to install VMware virtual machine using PXE Boot