Windows Deployment Services – Microsoft’s next generation out-of the box server and client purposing solution


Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is Microsoft's newest server and desktop purposing (building machines) solution. Essentially, WDS is Longhorn Server replacement to Remote Installation Services. WDS will leverage new deployment technology such as Imaging, IBS and WinPE. In addition, it will feature a remote boot capability for Pre-Install Environment (WinPE) and a Plug-in model for PXE Server extensibility and unify on single image format (WIM) for Windows Deployment. In terms of legacy support, you can continue to deploy RIS images from WDS Servers and we will offer migration path from current RIPREP format to WIM. As far as the management experience, WDS offers a robust yet simple management experience using MMC (UI) and command-line tools. It will be available as a download for WS2K3 SP1+ with Longhorn Client release.

Below are some other key features and support items:

  • Replaces the Client Installation Wizard (CIW aka OSChooser) as the boot environment

  • Compressed WIM image with RAMDISK boot support (~80MB)

  • Support for customized versions of LH WinPE

  • Boot support for 32 bit and 64 bit

  • Bare-metal deployment / machine re-provisioning

  • Native support for WIM images with migration path from RIS format

  • Able to deploy Longhorn, XP, Win2K3, and Win2000 images

  • WinPE based WDS Client - variation of Longhorn Setup - allows image selection and disk configuration via robust UI

  • WDS Client can run in fully unattended fashion

  • Integrated with Active Directory

  • Platform technology that provides extensibility

  • Scalable PXE Server built on new unified Microsoft PXE Server architecture

  • Uses "Provider" logic: plug-ins to augment core networking functionality

  • To-be published APIs

  • WDS PXE service can now handle more than 1600 requests per second, BINL 700 sustained

  • Communication protocol for image enumeration

  • Robust management of WDS server, images, and pre-staged devices

  • MMC UI and command-line toolset

Comments (2)
  1. crawf75861 says:

    So will the new software have a "Ghost" like imaging client as well?  Or will it be the usual sysprep like service?

  2. htsblog says:

    Windows Deployment Services leverages images that have been sysprepped to install them onto a system.  Windows Deployment Services also includes an image creation utility that is used to capture the state of an offline, sysprepped, image into .WIM file format and, optionally, upload the image to the Windows Deployment Services Image Store.  Below are step-by-step instructions.

    1. Deploy a Windows Image to a reference machine. This can be an install from Windows Deployment Services, CD / DVD, traditional network installation, etc…

    2. Perform customizations, install 3rd party software, etc.

    3. Run the correct version of sysprep for the reference machine’s operating system.

    4. Reboot into Windows PE and launch the WDSCapture utility.

    5. WDSCapture.inf is located (in X:WindowsSystem32).

    a. If the file exists and contains settings, those settings are used.

    b. If the file exists but settings for a particular section are missing, UI will show and you must enter the missing information.

    c. If the file does not exist, UI will show and you must enter the missing information.

    6. All local drives are scanned for an appropriate offline, sysprepped image.

    NOTE: The Windows Deployment Services Image Capture Utility will only capture a volume containing an offline, sysprepped image. The utility does not have the ability to capture a partial volume, nor does it have the ability to capture a non-sysprepped image.

    7. Metadata such as HAL type, architecture, product name and type, operating system version, and language are extracted from data points in the offline image.

    8. Image capture of selected volume is performed. Output occurs to specified .WIM file.

    9. Metadata of the image is updated with the information extracted from the offline image as well as values input by the user.

    10. The image is uploaded to the specified Windows Deployment Services server (optional)

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