Windows Deployment Services – XP Capture and Deploy
I have been struggling for sometime now to setup a process of mass deploying operating systems to machines on our network, having come from a business where this was the norm its hard to adjust to the ‘get the xp cd out and reformat the machine’ approach they are used to at my current work.
At my old work we used to use BDD (Business Desktop Deployment) but this seemed a redudant software compared to WDS so I embarked on the painstaking challenge of setting this up myself, here are a few tips/documents/links that I used. I found myself using about 10 different websites just to get my system running the way we want it. So hopefully I have centralised some documents for everyone out there to use.
WDS or Windows Deployment Services allows you to upload an ‘image’ of your machine to a server and deploy it to other machines using the network. These images can range from your basic XP build to a build with all of your business/schools applications and settings contained within it (very useful if you need mass to deploy to 30 new machines in a matter of days with a few taps of a keyboard)
Click below to read more (its worth reading)
Aim: To setup WDS on our main server (running AD,DHCP,DNS etc) to deploy XP SP3 to our ICTSUITES and Laptops. (sounds easy enough right?)
Windows 2003 (Domain Controller, Active Directory, DHCP, DNS etc etc all need to be running)
Windows AIK (its a massive file but get the whole thing dont think you can route around for the files separatly its not worth the effort, mount it with Virtual CloneDRIVE then its always there)
Windows Vista DVD (we need this for the boot.wim file located in the Sources directory)
Windows XP Pro DVD (we need the Deploy folder located in Support\Tools directory)
Install and configure Windows Deployment Services for capturing images
‘Sysprep’ and capture the client machine to our WDS server
Deploy the capture image to another machine from the WDS server
Troubleshoot any problems
Installing WDS onto Windows Server 2003
- To install WDS navigate to the Add and Remove programs menu in the Control Panel > Select Add/Remove Windows Components and tick the box next to Windows Deployment Services to install WDS
Preparing the bootable WIM files from the Windows AIK and Vista DVD
- Mount your Windows AIK image using Virtual CloneDRIVE or other mounting software. Explore into the image and locate the Winpe.cab file, open this up using WinRar or any other extract software.
- Extract the following files from the Winpe.cab file; F1_WINPE.WIM and F3_WINPE.WIM onto the desktop (these are bootable files we need to capture the images)
- Next insert or mount a copy of Windows Vista (I used business premium) navigate to the Sources folder on the disc and copy boot.wim and paste it onto the desktop.
Windows Deployment Services Configuration
Step 1 – Configuration
- Launch Windows Deployment Services from the start menu under Administrative Tools
- Inthe left hand panel expand the server list and click the server you wish to manage (if the server is not in the server list, right click “servers” and add the name of the server you wish to use or click browse to find the server)
- Right click the server that you want to manage, and click Configure Server to start the WDS setup wizard.
- Click next through the welcome page
- On the Remote Installation Folder Location page, click next making sure the default location is set (C:\RemoteInstall)
- The server you are installing WDS on should also be running Microsoft DHCP service, set DHCP Option 60 to PXEClient and set Windows Deployment Services to ‘Do not listen on Port 67′
- Check ‘Respond to all know and unknown’ on the PXE settings
- Click Finish
Step 2 – Adding boot images
- Right click ‘Boot Images’ and click ‘Add Boot Image’
- Browse to the desktop add F1_WINPE.WIM and then F3_WINPE.WIM
- Restart the WDS service by right clicking the server name and selecting restart from the tasks, the boot image files should now appear (as seen below)
Step 3 – Creating capture boot images for XP machine
- Create a folder in C:\RemoteInstall called Capture
- Right click Windows Vista PE (X86) under the ‘Boot Images’ folder and click ‘Create Capture Boot Image’
- Name the image Capture XP or something similar and save it in the ‘C:\RemoteInstall\Capture’ (use the same name for the description) click next
- Right click on Boot Images and the Capture XP image we just created again restart/refresh WDS and you will see Capture XP in the Boot Images panel
Step 4 – Creating deployment images for XP machine
- Right click ‘Boot Images’ and click ‘Add Boot Image’
- Browse to the desktop and select the boot.wim file we copied earlier in the guide, this file we be used to deploy images to client computers
- Click next and name the image Deployment XP click next and the image will be added to the Boot Images panel
Step 5 – Creating groups in the Install Images panel
- Right click ‘Install Images’ and click add image group, enter an image name for example Admin Machines etc
WDS is now ready to capture and deploy images =)
Capture and Deploy
Step 1 – Prepare client to boot from the network card (PXE Boot)
- Restart the client machine and enter the bios, they key used to enter the bios varies from each machine normally its F2 or DEL. On some machines F12 will take you straight to the boot sequence where you can select to boot of the Network card if not go onto the next part of this step.
- In the bios locate the Menu for changing the boot sequence this maybe called Boot Priority or similar just have a poke around for it. When you locate it change the 1st method of boot to Network Device ( could be PXE, or NIC)
- Save and exit
Step 2 – Use sysprep to prepare the client for capture (sysprep must be used in order to capture to WDS)
- On the client machine create a folder in the C:\ drive called sysprep
- Insert your XP disc into the computer and navigate to Support\Tools\Deploy copy the contents of this folder to C:\sysprep
*** NOTE: It is my recommendation that you then copy the i386 folder from the XP CD into C:\Sysprep, I had some issues with missing files which I solved by copying the entire folder over ***
Step 3 – Sysprepping
- Double click setupmgr.exe in the sysprep folder to create an answer file.
- Select sysprep setup then Windows XP Professional then Accept the terms and conditions
- Fill out the rest of the details for example cd-key, machine name, time zones, languages etc etc
*** NOTE: Do not encrypt the administrator password while using sysprep this can cause the capture to fail ***
- In the sysprep folder double click sysprep.exe select use minisetup and reseal, the computer will then shutdown and is ready for capture to the WDS server
Step 4 – Capturing
- To capture our syspreped machine we need to PXE Boot, earlier we setup our machine to boot off the network card.
- When the machine boots off the network card it should find the DHCP server and you will be prompted to press F12 (NOTE: On some of my machines hitting F12 more than once crashed the capture so just try to press it once)
- Select Capture XP from the options which should include Deploy XP
- Select the volume to capture e.g. C:\ give the image a name normally the machine model for example we have PARSG31_UPSTAIRS, again the description can be the same as the name or you can add some further details about the build.
- Store the image on the C:\ Drive, at first the image will be build locally on the client then it will be uploaded to the WDS Server
- Check the box to upload the image to the WDS server and enter the server name (you may be prompted for user name and password)
- Select the group you wish to store the image in (these are the groups we created in WDS for example Admin machines etc)
- Click finish, the image will now capture and upload. This can take some time depending on your network/server speeds so get a cupa.
- Once the image capture has completed open WDS and check it has appeared under the group name you created, it does? awesome capture complete!
Step 5 – Deployment
- Repeat the PXE Boot process of hitting F12 and select Deploy XP from the boot manager options
- This will launch a very vista looking installation screen. You will have the option to format/partition driver while in this wizard, becareful when paritioning drives for example on a few of our machines the image would not install on partition 1 I cannot recall why but just watch out for it.
- Fill in the rest of the details you need and the machine should install XP reboot and present you with a login screen, job done.
Edugeek post by Oakie - Complete guide to WDS and sysprepping
Oakdome.com – Complete guide to WDS and sysprepping
Far2paranoid Website – General sysprep info
Briandesmond.com – Sysprep details and guides
Mabreen Website - Again complete guide to WDS and sysprep (Server 2008 and XP) (also some good tips for any problems that may arise)
With any project you will come across problems thats life, getting this setup at my work took me ages I gave up multiple times. I have tried to bookmark/recall problems I had on the way and the documents/posts that saved me so please have a look below before you give up
Image Capture – Machine has IP address but cannot find WDS server
The client seems to boot via PXE from the bios and connects to the WDS server to run the WDS Capture Boot Image Wizard but when you attempt to connect to the WDS server within the wizard you recieve “NETWORK PATCH CAN NOT BE FOUND”. The issue is that the network drivers that are loading in PXE are not loading in our Windows PE Environment.
- When you get to the screen prompting you to enter the WDS server name press SHIFT+F10 before trying to connect to the WDS server.
- This will launch (X:\windows\system32) command prompt.
- Insert your network driver CD containing the EXE or MSI file for installation
- Assuming your CD Drive maps to D:\ type D: and launch the installer if you do not know the name of the installer type DIR this will give you a list of all the files on the CD just simply type setup.exe for example and it will launch the install wizard.
- Insert a CD with the network driver installation INF file in the CD ROM (assuming D:\ is your CD-ROM).
- From the X:\windows\system32> prompt, type in (DRVLOAD d:\e1000.inf ) or whatever your INF file is called
Once your Network card driver is installed, you’ll need to go back to the X:\windows\system32 prompt. From D: type X:
Now that you are back at the Windows PE X:\Windows\system32 prompt type the following
Did it work?
- You should recieve the following message in the cmd prompt ‘SUCCESS’ after you have launched WPEUTIL INTIALIZENETWORK
- Run an ipconfig and ensure you have an IP address
- Now close the box and connect to your WDS server job done
Source: Unable to upload image to WDS server through Image Capture wizard - Search for a post by Billnutt
Image Deploy – c_20127.nls not found
You may get this error as you are deploying the image to a new machine. Missing files during install.
Make sure you copy the i386 folder from your Windows XP Pro into the sysprep folder on the C:\ of the computer you are capturing.
Also make sure you edit the sysprep.inf file in the sysprep folder to have the following line;
Driver problems when using the Windows PE Environment (Pre Installation)
Now this is a rather cloudy problem, we had some major issues with drivers due to having custom machines with various makes of harddrive, network card etc. By default the Windows PE Environment has a limited array of drivers but it is possible to ‘inject’ drivers into the WIM files before we add them to the WDS server. This is by no means easy but can be very useful, below are some links to websites I used to do this.
APCMAG – HOW TO: inject drivers into Microsoft’s free OS, Windows PE 2.0
APCMAG – Exploring Vista’s WIM format with ImageX
Microsoft TechNet – Use ImageX without Installing WAIK
Windows Noob.com – Mounting an image with read/write permissions using ImageX
You may come across problems trying to ‘mount’ the WIM files so use this website to help fix those
Thats all for now