What Is Windows Deployment Services and How to Configure It [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is Windows Deployment Services

What is Windows Deployment Services? Windows Deployment Service is a server technology of Microsoft for network-based Windows operating system installation. WDS is designed for remote deployment of Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2016, but it also supports other operating systems.

Tip: To learn more information about the Windows operating system, you can go to the MiniTool official website.

Microsoft WDS is used in conjunction with PXE (Pre-Boot Execution Environment) to load a mini-Windows version called Windows PE to perform installation and maintenance tasks. WDS is used both as a storage repository for PXE network boot images and as a repository for actual operating system images to be installed on the target computer.

When multiple boot images are available, PXE booting through WDS will provide you with a boot menu to select the image to be loaded. Maybe, you are interested in this post - How to Use the PXE (Preboot Execution Environment) Boot.

Purpose of Windows Deployment Services

This part introduces the functions of Windows Deployment Services.

  • Facilitate the deployment process.
  • Allows you to install a network-based operating system.
  • Support the deployment of computers without any operating system.
  • Provide end-to-end deployment solutions for client and server computers.
  • Use existing technologies, such as Windows PE, Windows image files (.wim) and virtual hard disk (.vhd and .vhdx) image files, and image-based deployment.

Requirements of Windows Deployment Services

Hardware Requirements

  • RAM: minimum of 4GB
  • Processor: 64-bit processor
  • Hard Drive Space: At least 10GB or depend on system ISO and software’s size.

Run-time requirements

Windows Deployment Services can be used as an add-on to Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) and is included in operating systems starting from Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2 (SP2). The WDSPXE Server API requires the WDS server role on the server to implement a custom PXE provider.

The WDS client API needs to be installed during the Microsoft Windows pre-installation environment (Windows PE 2.0) phase. As part of the implementation of a custom WDS client’s network boot process, a RAMDISK bootable image of Windows PE 2.0 in WIM format must be downloaded.

How to Configure Windows Deployment Services

Before you start to configure Windows Deployment Services, you had better change Windows Server hostname, turn off Windows Server firewall, and set static IP on Windows Server. After that, you can go to configure Windows Deployment Services.

static vs dynamic ip thumbnail
Static VS Dynamic IP: What Are the Differences and How to Check

What is the static IP? What is dynamic IP? What are the differences between static and dynamic IP? This post shows answers.

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You can use MMC to locate the WDS management unit in the management tool folder or execute the command wdsmgmt.msc to load the console for the first time to start the WDS management unit. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: In the nested hierarchy under Server, if you notice a small yellow exclamation mark next to the server's hostname, it means that your server is not configured with Windows Deployment Services.

your server is not configured with Windows Deployment Services

Step 2: Right-click the server name and select Configure Server from the context menu. Then, click Next to continue.

Step 3: There are two options for you – Integrated with Active Directory and Standalone server. You should notice that - once the integrated mode is selected, it cannot be downgraded to standalone mode, although standalone mode can always be upgraded to integrated mode.

choose Integrated with Active Directory or Standalone server

Step 4: Select the default path or enter a custom path to store the directories, then click Next.

Step 5: Then, you will receive a warning message, you just need to click Yes to confirm.

Step 6: Now, the PXE Server settings will be configured. By default, selecting Respond to All Client Computers (Known And Unknown) works well. For additional security, you need to check the Require Administrator Approval For Unknown Computers box.

The configuration process for Windows Deployment Services takes several minutes, depending on the speed of the server being used. Once Windows Deployment Services has been successfully configured, it'll be ready to use.

Final Words

To sum up, this post has introduced what Windows Deployment Services is, and you can also know the purpose and requirements of the Windows Deployment Services. Besides, this post introduces how to configure it. I hope that this post can be helpful to you.

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