Deploy Vista Remotely

PCQ Bureau
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Remote Installation Service (RIS) is available on all Windows 2000/2003

servers and helps to deploy all Windows OSs across workstations in an

enterprise. But the service doesn't support Windows Vista and the upcoming

Longhorn. To overcome this, Microsoft has come out with a new service called

'Windows Deployment Service' (WDS) to replace RIS.


Pre-requisites for WDS

To deploy the service, you require a Windows 2003 SP1 server with RIS and

DHCP server running. You also require Window Automated Installation Kit (WAIK),

which is a 900 MB DVD image file that you have to burn on a DVD. You can even

mount this image as a DVD on your Windows machine using a virtual CD/DVD demon


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Updating RIS to WDS

The WAIK DVD will auto-run when you put it on the deployment server and open

an interface for you. On the left end of the welcome screen you will see seven

options. Select the Windows Deployment Server option. This leads you to a folder

with four files: two doc files and two RIS update patches for AMD and x86

architectures. Choose the relevant patch. To start the update process, double

click the RIS update file and proceed with the wizard till you finish the entire

process. Once you are done, you will be asked to restart the machine.


Configuring WDS

After rebooting, you will notice that your RIS has changed to WDS. Now go to

Start>All programs>Administrative Tools and click on WDS. This will open a

Microsoft Management Console screen, showing a list of available WDS servers on

the left navigation pane. Select the server object from the left pane and right

click on it. From the context menu select 'Configure Server'. This will kick off

the WDS configuration wizard. In the first screen you will be asked to specify

the remote installation folder location. Just keep in mind that the location you

give is on a separate NTFS formatted drive other than C drive. Next you will be

asked to configure DHCP options, select both the options-'Do not listen on port

67' and 'Configure DHCP option 60 to PXEClient'. In the next screen configure

how the WDS server should respond to known or unknown clients. Generally in RIS

you need to set 'respond to unknown clients', otherwise you can't deploy an OS

image. But with WDS there is an option to notify system administrators when an

unknown client attempts to connect, and then serve that client once the approval

has been given from the administrator. With this the WDS configuration part is

complete. Now add Vista images to the WDS server.

Adding OS images on WDS

On the WDS console, you will see the WDS server, ready to accept new OS

images. Before this put your Vista distribution DVD in the WDS server's DVD

drive. To add a new Vista image, expand the WDS server icon and right click on

Install images. From the context menu, select Add Install Image. This will kick

off a wizard to extract Windows Image Format (WIM) from the DVD.


WIM is a file-based imaging format that can store a large number of

individual system images. The wizard will ask you to create a new image group.

For this select 'Create New Image Group'. Next you will be asked for the image

source files. For this browse the file at 'Vista DVD\SOURCES\INSTALL.WIM' and

click next. Then the screen shows all the WIM files from the Vista DVD and gives

you the list of all available WIM images. Here select the images that you want

in your deployment server and click next. It will start processing the selected

WIM files and then copies them to your WDS server.

To configure remote boot process you need to

go to 'boot' tab and under 'default boot image' option select the newly

created boot image

Once all the images have been copied, you need to add a boot image to the WDS

deployment server, so that the clients can be connected and booted from the WDS

service. To do so open the WDS management console and expand the WDS server from

left navigation pane. Then right click on boot images and select 'Add boot

image' and choose the image from Vista DVD\SOURCES\ BOOT.WIM. Next you need to

associate this file with WDS, so that a remote client can use this file while

booting. For this right click on the WDS server from the console and select

properties from the context menu. In the properties sheet select the 'Boot' tab

and go to 'Default boot image (optional)' option. Select x86 architecture and

add newly created boot image and then click OK. With this Vista image is ready

to be served on the network for remote deployment. Finally, you need to restart

WDS services.To do so right click WDS server from the management console, select

all tasks and restart.

After you've configured WDS

server, boot-up a client machine from it. You'll get the screen on the left.

After that the installation files are copied (right) to the client and the

OS installation begins

Client requirements

At the client's end, a machine that supports PXE LAN booting is needed.

Configure the machine from the BIOS so that it can be booted from the network

card directly. Once your machine gets the IP address from the DHCP running on

WDS server, you will see the installation process getting started and after

sometime you will see Windows Vista installation wizard on the remote client


 Now you have deployed Vista completely without even using an installer