Windows Deployment Services

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Windows Deployment Services

Windows Deployment Services is Microsoft’s revised version of Remote Installation Services or RIS. This add-on application allows for the deployment of Windows Operating Systems. This deployment service application is designed for all operating systems including Microsoft’s Windows Vista. This application cuts down on administrative overhead by installing the operating systems over your network to multiple computers. With limited resources, information technology departments can benefit by implementing WDS as an automating tool.

Having over 400 computers, we often have to install a room of twenty or more computers that have no operating system installed. Windows 2000 Server’s add-on application is Remote Installation Services (RIS) and is featured as an add-on under Add/Remove /components. RIS allowed for the copying of Operating Systems and the installation of the operating systems on multiple computers.

Windows Deployment Services is also found under components in the add/remove MMC. Windows Deployment allows for images to be deployed across a network domain with applications saving your company money. WDS also allows for legacy installation which mimics RIS. This ‘legacy’ WDS is for system administrators wishing a more simplex means of deployment in smaller environments.

If administrators wish to install operating systems on multiple computers, three components are required. WDS on a domain, a DHCP server and clients with PXE compliant cards. (network cards that ‘look’ for installation servers). Below are basic instructions on how to install WDS on Microsoft Windows Server 2003.


Installation of WDS on a Windows Server 2003 Domain

Logon to the Server locally

Go to the Control Panel and click Add/Remove Programs

Click Add/Remove Windows Components

Select Windows Deployment Services

Click Next (insert the Windows Server Disk as necessary) until finished.

(WDS can be found under Administrative Tools under the Control Panel after installation)

How to configure Windows Deployment Services

(you should decide at this point if you will use the legacy version of WDS (emulates RIS)

Start > All Programs > Administrative Tools > Windows Deployment Services (WDS will start)

Expand Server and right click [server name]

Click on Action and Configure Server

Click Next to start the Wizard

Check the Path (install on a larger secondary hard drive if possible.)

For PXE Server Initial Settings select “Respond to all (known and unknown) client computers” and click Finish

Download and Install Business Desktop Deployment 2007 (BDD 2007)

Launch the Workbench software - add components (AIK) as necessary (this can be a >1gb download. (The network administrator can use the legacy WDS under admin tools-this will require copying each OS that the network administrator plans on installing-however, this is recommended if the network administrator doesn’t want to make images.)

Note: an answer file can be generated when walking through the WDS setup of images. This file can put in company information, product keys and more. WDS also has the capability to generate random computer names so that the computer NetBIOS names will not conflict once the operating system installs.

Technet’s documentation on WDS can be found at: