Monday, April 30, 2007

Windows Deployment Services Part 2 - Installing/Pushing an Image

Ok, so last week I got WDS installed on the server and working. I ran into problems actually pushing an XP image I had captured. Microsoft has made it very difficult to push Windows XP over WDS. They want you to run Vista, for better or worse. Deplying Windows Vista is in fact extremely easy to do, everything you need comes factory on the Vista disc (install.wim and boot.wim) and since the .WIM format is the new MS image format, of course an XP disc won't have it. There were no white papers on using XP with WDS. They simply say it's possible. I had tried just about everything and here is what I have found:

- You can use Business Desktop Deployment (free download) to create a boot image for installing XP, then importing it into WDS as a boot image.

or

- You can obtain a factory Windows Vista disc and pull the boot.wim file from it and import it to WDS under Boot Images. (note - A Dell OEM Vista boot.wim WILL NOT WORK, this is what caused my headaches, there IS a difference in boot.wim files between MS Vista and OEM Vista discs.)

Once you have the correct boot.wim file, PXE boot the target machine and you will get a nice Graphical User Interface (GUI) to select and push the image of your choice down to the machine. The technical term is 'Down-Level Image'.

For me, now that WDS is functional, the image tweaking process begins. I would recommend spending a little time with your master image to make sure all drivers are installed and things are configured correctly. A basic checklist for any machine image is as follows:

- Drivers
- Service Packs
- Copy i386 folder to %systemroot%\Windows folder (thus removing the need for the OS disc)
- Modify registry to point the install source path to the above folder.
- open regedit
- HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup
- change 'Installation Sources' to whatever Drive letter your %systemroot% is on (C:\)
- change 'SourcePath' to %systemroot%\Windows
- Do not set administrator password (you will set this in your image configuration files via unattend or sysprep)
- Do not add to domain (you will do this also with config files later)
- Sysprep and reseal (ALWAYS use Sysprep, do not use a 'flat' image as this does not regenerate the security ID's used by Windows)

Remember using the new IMAGEX included with the Automated Installation Kit you may mount an image and modify its setting without fear of breaking the image (as happened in ADS and RIS)

EDIT: If you are having trouble obtaining an IP address while pushing an image within the WDS boot image, make sure 'Spanning Tree Port Fast' is enabled on the switch/port!

1 comment:

[OF] Jonesy said...

Hey Romm3l,

Cool blog! It's moslty foreign to me, but I find it interesting.

Do you have any background on Apache servers?

Thanks!