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Windows Deployment Services(wds), WAIK, DFS-R & Windows 8.1 Part 1

I have been known to be at the cutting edge of technology, early adoption of Microsoft technologies is a must and this time round nothing is going to change.  I first played with Windows Deployment Services (WDS) when it was moved to server 2008 and had exposure to the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) at the same time.  I took the plunge and deployed Windows 7 using Light Touch deployment via WDS and the WAIK a month after 7 was released to the enterprise and I have now decided to pass on my knowledge to you with step by step instructions on how you can do the same with Windows 8.1 and Windows 2012 R2.

In this 5 part series I will begin my focus in providing you with instructions for setting up your WDS role on a Windows 2012 R2 server, with part’s 2 and 3 focusing on WAIK to create your necessary  files that are needed for light touch (unattended) deployment, in part 4 I will introduce the capability to inject any necessary drivers to your original “install images” and finally for people with multiple sites I will walk through how to set-up DFS Replication to synchronise configuration and images.  This article is assuming you have a Windows 2012 R2 server ready to rock and roll with, so let’s begin!

As with Server 2008 you no longer require the media to hand as all roles and features are included in the initial installation albeit inactive. In order to set-up WDS navigate to Server Manager and click on “Manage” to the top right and then click on Add Roles and Features. This will invoke the Add Roles Wizard that we have become familiar with in Windows 2008.


Click Next.  Select Role-based or feature-based installation


Click Next. Select the server you wish to install the Roles on.

install-roles-3Click Next. Select the role Windows Deployment Services.

install-roles-4If you wish to have multiple WDS Servers and want to replicate the data between them also select DFS Replication.

install-roles-5Click Next. You don’t need to select features as these will have been added above.

install-roles-6Click Next. One thing that is good about new versions of windows server is that Microsoft have spent a lot of time giving you an explanation of the service along with things to note.

install-roles-7Click Next. The below services are automatically selected, read the descriptions for more details.

install-roles-8Click Next. You will see a confirmation screen that will show you what will be installed.

install-roles-9Click Next. The roles will install and you will see the below completed installation screen.


Once the installation has completed, navigate to Server Manager > Tools > Windows Deployment Services. When you first load the WDS Management console you will notice a warning symbol next to the server.


Windows Deployment Services is not configured.
This server is not configured. To configure this server, first verify that you are a local administrator.

Right click on the server and select configure server.  The below wizard is invoked.  You will need to ensure that the below pre-requisites are met before WDS can become functional.

wds-config2Click Next. Select the option most suited to your deployment, if your server is a member of Active Directory Domain Choose integrated if not choose standalone. I will explain why this exists further in the blog.


Click Next. Select your remote installation folder. As the image below states make sure you choose a drive large enough for your images to be stored, it is also recommended that this isn’t the operating system partition.



Click Next.   Select your PXE settings.  You have the option to prestage your client which is when you create a computer account object in Active Directory Users and Computers and map this computer object to a physical computer.  This then becomes a known client.  In my example below I have selected Respond to all computers for simplicity, you may also select require administrator approval, this is a great feature as you need to approve imaging from the server. Stopping users from accidentally imaging their computers.


Click Next.  The server will then go through the configuration process until you receive the below confirmation.  You now have the ability to add your images to the server.  I will leave the Add images to the server now checked which will invoke the Add image wizard.



Here I will add the Windows 8.1 boot and install images.  These images are originally located under the sources folder on your Windows 8.1 DVD.  The two files that you need to locate are, install.wim and boot.wim.  In my example below I have copied these 2 files to the WDS server under C:\Windows 8.1\.



Click Next. You will now be presented with the below screen. You can select an existing group or create a new one. I have called mine Windows 8.1


Click Next. The wizard will detect my 2 images, 1 boot being the boot.wim file and 1 install image being the install.wim file that I had copied from the Windows 8.1 media to my image path below.


Click Next.  The images are now added to the server and will be listed as per the below 2 screen shots.

Below is the Windows 8.1 install image added from our media.


Below is the Boot image added from our media.


This concludes the first part of this blog.  In part 2 of this series we will look in to the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) where we will concentrate our efforts in automating the PXE boot by creating a WDSunattend.xml file and then continue in part 3 by automating the Out of Box experience on our Windows 8.1 install image by creating an Imageunattend.xml.



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