Windows Deployment Services is a server technology from Microsoft for network-based installation of Windows operating systems. It is the successor to Remote Installation Services.


Go to server > Add role > WDS

1. From Server Manager (ServerManager.exe) > Local Server.

ServerManager - Local Server

2. Manage > Add Roles and Features.

2012 Add Role

3. Next.

Add Roles to Server 2012

4. Next.

Add Roles and Features 2012

5. Next.

Local Role Windows Server 2012

6. Select ‘Windows Deployment services’ > Next > It will ask to install some other features let it do so.

Add Windows Deployment Services

7. Next.

WDS Feaures

8. Next.

Add Role Wizard

9. Accept the default (both roles) > Next.

WDS Deployment and Transport Roles

10. Install.

Confirm Installation

Configure the WDS Server

11. From the Start menu > Launch the Windows Deployment Services management console.

WDS Manager

12. Expand servers > Right click the server name > Configure Server.

Configure WDS 2012

13. Read the prerequisites > Next.

WDS Prerequistes

14. Next.

AD inegrated WDS

15. Select the location where you want to store your images and keep the WDS files.

WDS Image Location

16. Note: In this case it’s warning me NOT to use the C: drive, as this is just a test server I will accept the warning and leave it as it is. In production environments make sure you are using a different drive/volume.

WDS Warning

17. This particular server IS a DHCP server, but we will address the DHCP requirements when we are finished > Next.

WDS DHCP Options

18. I’m going to choose ‘Respond to all (known and unknown)’ > Next.

WDS Respond to all

19. WDS should configure and the service SHOULD start.

WDS Install

20. Here we can see the service has not started (the server will have a small stop symbol on it).

WDS Services not started

21. So I need to manually start the service.

Start WDS Services

Adding Image Groups and Images 22. Firstly I’m going to create an group that will hold all my Windows 8 Client machine images. Right click Install Images > Add Image Group.

WDS Image Group

23. Give it a name > OK.

2012 Image Group Name

Adding a boot image (To send an image to a remote machine)

24. Now I need to add a boot image, so I can boot my remote clients from the WDS server and use this image to load WindowsPE on them, so they can be imaged. Right click Boot Images > Add Boot Image.

WDS Boot Image - Install Image

25. You can use either a Windows 8 DVD or a Windows Server 2012 DVD, you will need to navigate to the sources directory, and locate Boot.wim > Open.

2012 boot.wim

26. Next.

import image WDS

27. Rename the image ‘Install an Image’ > Enter a description > Next.

Install an Image WDS

28. Next.

Boot Image

29. The Image will be imported.

Import Boot Image

30. Finish.

Imported Windows Deployment Services Windows 8

Adding a Capture Image (To take an image from a remote machine) 31. Right click the image we have just added > Create Capture Image.

Create Capture Image

32. Call this one ‘Capture an Image’ > Give it a description > Save the image (with a .wim extension). Note: It does not matter where you save the image, but I would suggest somewhere in the ‘Remote Install’ folder > Next.

WDS Capture Image Location

33. The image will be created.

Create Capture WDS

34. Finish

WDS Windows 8

35. Now even through we have created the capture image, we still need to import it. Right click > Add Boot Image.

Boot Images Import

36. Select the capture image you created earlier > Next.

Import Capture

37. Make sure it’s called ‘Capture and Image’ > Next.

Image Capture Image

38. Next.

image add to wds

39. Now the capture image will be imported into WDS.

WDS Capture an Image

40. Finish.

Capture imported 2012

Configure DHCP with WDS Options

41. Launch the DHCP management console.

DHCP Manager WDS

42. Open the active scope > IPv4 > Server Options > Configure Options.

Configure DHCP for WDS

43. Tick Option 66 > Set its value to the IP address of the WDS server > Apply > OK.

DHCP Option 66

44. Tick Option 67 > Set its value to;


Apply OK

DHCP Option 67



In Client


. When you have first built the Windows 8 machine, you will see the screen below, Press CTRL+SHIFT+F3, the machine will automatically reboot and enter audit mode.

windows 8 Audit Mode

Option 2: You Are Already in Windows

2. You can also put a Windows 8 machine into audit mode by running the sysprep executable with the /audit switch.

Sysprep Audit Mode

3. Once in Audit mode, install all the program and configure all the settings you want in your master image. When you are happy run the sysprep program, (Or simply reboot, as sysprep launches at every boot when you are in audit mode).

Windows 8 Sysprep

4. Tick the ‘Generalize’ option, select either shutdown or reboot, (If you choose reboot make sure the machine is ready to pXe boot from the network, and the boot order has the NIC BEFORE the hard drive, or sysprep will start and rebuild the machine before it’s imaged).

Sysprep Generalize

5. Sysprep will run, and shutdown or reboot as requested.

Run sysprep in Windows 8

6. When the machine boots press F12 to boot from the WDS server.

F12 Network Boot WDS

7. Note: Now you can see why (in part one) we called the boot image ‘Capture an Image’ and the capture ‘Capture an Image’. Select the capture option.

WDS Cature an Image Windows 8

8. WindowsPE will run at the welcome screen > Next, Note: If the process fails at this point, usually it’s because the network card driver for this machine IS NOT in the boot image. Adding Drivers to Images on Windows Deployment Services

WDS Welcome

9. Select the volume that you want to image, (Note: It will NOT be C: that’s reserved, usually it’s D:) > Give the image a name, this is the name you will see in the WDS console, and when you are imaging the target machines > Enter a comment/description > Next.

WDS Image Directory

10. Browse.

WDS Image Location

11. Navigate to a local drive, and give the image a name with a .wim extension > Save.

wim image location

12. Tick the box to upload the image > Supply IP/Name of the WDS server > Connect.

Connect to WDS

13. Supply credentials to log onto the WDS server > OK.

Authenticate to WDS

14. Once authenticated you can select the image group we setup in part one > Next.

Pick Image Group

15. The image will be created on the reference machine.

Create Local Image Windows 8

16. Then it will be uploaded to the WDS Server.

Upload Image to WDS

17. When complete click Finish. At this point the reference machine will reboot and rebuild itself.

Capture Image Finished

18. Back in the Windows Deployment Services management console yo will see the image you have just uploaded in your image group. Note: Sometimes it can take a while to appear, be patient!

WDS Management Image Uploaded

Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

WDS Prerequisites

  • The Windows Deployment Services server must be a member of an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain or a domain controller. You may need to ‘Install Active Directory in Windows Server 2012 R2‘.
  • The Domain Name System (DNS) server on the network before you can run Windows Deployment Services. DNS will install with Active directory domain services, but if you have not, read the DNS Installation article ‘Install and Configure DNS in Windows Server 2012 R2‘.
  • For deploying IP address you must have a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server with an active scope on the network because Windows Deployment Services uses PXE, which relies on DHCP for IP addressing the clients that want to install OS remotely. Read the topic ‘Install and Configure DHCP Server on Windows Server 2012 R2‘ for DHCP Server.
  • You must have the appropriate credential to install role. It means you must be the member of local admin or domain admin. The hard disk volume must be NTFS.

How to Install and Configure WDS?

In Windows Server, sign in to the server as a domain admin and open the Server Manager if it’s not will start automatically. If the step by step is time consuming for your, watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.

Windows Server Manager

Windows Server Manager

On the Server Manager click Manage and then click Add roles and features. On the Before you begin page click Next.

Role-based or Feature-based installation page

Role-based or Feature-based installation page

On the Select installation type page, click Role-based or feature-based installation, and then click Next.

Destination Server for Windows Deployment Services

Destination Server for Windows Deployment Services

On the Select destination server page, select the appropriate server, and then click Next. By default the MS2.technig.local server has selected.

Windows Deployment Services Role

Windows Deployment Services Role

On the Select server roles page, scroll down and then select Windows Deployment Services check box. in the Add feature that are required for Windows Deployment Services? click Add Features and click Next. This task will install the Windows Deployment Services Tools which included in Windows Remote server administration tools.

Install Windows Deployment Services Role

Install Windows Deployment Services Role

On the Select features page, click Next.

Windows Deployment Services Features

Windows Deployment Services Features

On the WDS page once read the information and click Next.

Deployment Server and Transport Server

Deployment Server and Transport Server

On the Select role services page, select the role services to install for Windows Deployment Services. Leave these role services selected by default if you want to install both the Deployment Server and Transport Server. Click Next.

Confirm Installation of Windows Deployment Services

Confirm Installation of Windows Deployment Services

Finally on the Confirm installation selections page, click Install.

How to Install and Configure WDS In Windows Server 2012 R2

How to Install and Configure WDS In Windows Server 2012 R2

When the installation process complete successfully, click Close and go to Server Manager dashboard.  Now we have the WDS role and lets try to configure it.

How to Configure Windows Deployment Services?

While you are log in as domain admin account or local administrators members, go to Server Manager and click Tools then click Windows Deployment Services in order to open it.

Windows Server Manager Dashboard

Windows Server Manager Dashboard

On the Windows Deployment Services console page expand the Servers and right click the MS2.technig.local then click Configure Server.

Windows Deployment Services Console

Windows Deployment Services Console  –  Install and Configure WDS

On the Windows Deployment Services Configuration Wizard page, read it once and click Next.

Windows Deployment Services Configuration Wizard

Windows Deployment Services Configuration Wizard

On the Install Options page select integrated with Active Directory and then click Next.

WDS Install Options

WDS Install Options

On the Remote Installation Folder Location, select the location where you want to keep all Windows Images and configuration files and then click Next.

Remote Installation Folder Location

Remote Installation Folder Location – Install and Configure WDS

On the PXE Server Initial Settings page select Respond to all client computers (Know and unknown) and click Next. Remember, we are in the test area so in the real network environment select whatever you want.

WDS PXE Server Initial Settings

WDS PXE Server Initial Settings

The sever will start and complete the configuration. On the Operation Complete page unchecked the Add image to server now and then click Finish 

WDS - Operation Complete

WDS – Operation Complete – Install and Configure WDS

Here is the Windows Deployment Services in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Windows Deployment Services In Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Deployment Services In Windows Server 2012 R2