Microsoft renamed Remote Installation Services (RIS) to Windows Deployment Services (WDS). I haven’t used it’s older brother in years but I wanted to get re-familiarized with WDS. I will be going over the setup of WDS on Windows Server 2012R2. This tutorial is going to go over setting up the entire Server since WDS is dependant on so many things. If your server already has DHCP, AD, or DNS installed you are most likely good to go however if you are having issue you might want to check out what I did to setup the services in this post.
What is WDS?
WDS is Microsoft’s way of streaming an image of a machine to a computer using PXE boot or booting off of Windows PE.
What are the Requirments for WDS?
- A functioning Windows Server with Static IP address (IPv4 & IPv6)
- Windows Deployment Services Role
How are the IP protocols setup on this server?
- Address: 192.168.100.1
- Subnet: 255.255.255.0
- Gateway: 192.168.100.254
- Address – 2001:db8::1234:1
- Subnet Prefix – 64
- DNS – 2001:db8::1234:1
** NOTE ** – Please note that if you don’t setup IPv6 as a static address then you will get a few errors along the way. We are at the stage where we need to learn to just deal with IPv6.
How to install the roles needed
Open server manager.
You will need to select and install:
- Active Directory Domain Services
- DHCP Server
- DNS Server
- Windows Deployment Services
- Deployment Server
- Transport Server
Leave features alone [NEXT].
Notice that you will need to Install AD first, followed by DHCP, DNS and then WDS!
A friendly remnder if you are doing this on a live server.
The DNS is pretty straight forward. Click next.
I highlighted the items that are important. Many junior admins don’t read this info. It’s sad because Microsoft does a really great job of summing up what you need to do in order to get WDS to work!
Next screen you will need to set up Deployment and transport Servers.
Here is what each one does.
Make sure to select both are checked off:
Check off the “restart box” and click “Install”
It’s a good idea to backup the configuration settings.
Save the config to a safe location.
When the install is done you will need to configure the different roles starting with “Active Directory”.
Click on “AD DS” and then the “More” link.
Click on “Promote this server to a domain Controller”.
Enter domain… I entered: jaredheinrichs.prv (prv ==> private)
Enter DSRM password
Verify Netbios domain name and hit next.
Verify the folder locations
It’s always a good idea to view the script and back it up. You can run this script using PowerShell.
Here is the script that will setup Active Directory just as you have seen!
The server will need to be rebooted and logged in with the domain credentials. When you log into the server you will need to select “DHCP” and click more.
Click “Complete DHCP configuration”.
Make sure username is entered. Then hit Commit.
You will need to setup a new scope.
Enter the scope range. 1-50 won’t be used. We won’t use the Default Gateway address either 192.168.100.254 since the last number is 253.
Use the defaults on the next couple of screens. Enter Gateway and hit Next.
This next window should be pre-configured for you.
You don’t need WINS
Open DNS Manager and verify DNS is up and running.
One thing I have seen people forget is to setup is “Reverse Lookup Zones”. Let’s set it up. You need to right click “Reverse Lookup Zone” and select “New Zone…”
You want to create a primary Zone
I normally say to replicate this throughout the entire forest. Unless there is some reason not to.
You will be asked if you want to setup IP4 or IP6 reverse lookup. We’ll only do IPv4 for this tutorial.
Specify the subnet that you want to create the Zone for
Select “Secure” only.
Right click Server name and click “properties”.
Make sure that the Reverse IP address for DC01 is in DNS otherwise, you will have issues later on.
Right click the zone you created and click properties.
As you see the “IP address” is unknown. We need to click “Edit”.
The server name should already be in the box. Click “resolve” and click “ok”.
You should now see that “unknown” has changed to the correct IP address of the server.
Select “Interfaces” tab and then click on “Only the following IP addresses”. Select the primary IPv4 address. Click “OK”.
How to setup WDS
Ok! I bet you didn’t think we’d ever get to this point! You can maybe see why I setup everything before hand so you can see all the work that needs to be done before WDS can be configured.
Open “Windows Deployment Services” MMC. You will see that it says it is not Configured.
You will need to right click the server and configure it.
First screen will remind you why we configured all the previous services on this server.
Make sure you have “integrated” selected and click “NEXT”.
You will be asked where do you want to put the files needed for WDS. Please note the warning. You will get a warning if you put the images on the same drive as the System Volume. ie C: drive. I would recommend that you use a different volume if at all possible.
Please read this next page. DHCP is running on this server so we will need to make sure that both check boxes are checked off!
Make sure that you check “respond to all clients…” and click “Next”.
** NOTE **
Now I have seen an error message come up several times at this next point. It will look like WDS is setup fine but it will say that the service failed to start up. I believe this happens more on Virtual machines that aren’t that beefy. (ie Doesn’t have a lot of Ram)
What you will need to do is to Right click the server and click “All Tasks “START”. This should “re-try” the starting of the WDS service and it should start up for you.
Once you have verified that the WDS server is running I like to start making a few groups. You can make groups for your install images. You might want to create one called “Servers” and one called “Workstations”.
We are going to start by adding a Windows 2012R2 install image.
You will need to tell the wizard where the “install.wim” file is located. The screen tells you exactly where it is on the Server DVD.
Browse the Server install path. Mine is “D:\Sources\install.wim”
Select the versions you need.
Confirm your selections
This next part might take a little while. The service will verify the .sim’s integrity is fine. Plus it needs to copy the data from the location you specified to the drive folder you also specified in the setup steps.
Verify that the images have been integrated with WDS.
I also like to open explorer and verify what WDS did when importing the files. You will noticed that the folder “C:\RemoteInstall\Images\Servers” was created. There are also 3 files. 2 smaller files and one larger one. The larger one is the base image. The two others align with Server Standard Core or Server Standard (Full /w Gui).
Now the next thing you will need to do is to setup the “Boot” image the machines will be using. Go down to Boot image – Right click and select “Add Boot Image…”
Similar to the Install image you will need to point to the “boot image”. The Boot image is in the same location as the install image
Rename the image name to something better. Click “NEXT”.
Verify that the Boot image has been integrated propperly.
Congradulations WDS has been setup. Check out this blog post on how to boot a client machine and have it install the Windows OS using WDS.