Thursday, June 16, 2011

Windows Deployment Services on Server 2008 R2

Yesterday I installed Windows Deployment Services (WDS) on a Windows Server 2008 R2 server. A good possibility to see the new features available in this release. Most of times I install WDS needed for ConfigMgr installations. Then there's no need to configure WDS; this will be left unconfigured then. In this blog we have a look at the new features in this release.

First install the WDS role on a Windows Server 2008 R2 server. By default both Deployment Server and Transport Server will be installed. After that configuration must be done. Just import Boot Images, and create Capture Images from that. Then there's the possibility to add images for all kind of Windows editions. In this release there's no support available for RIS (Remote Installation Services) anymore. This was formerly known as "Legacy Images" in Windows Server 2003 editions.

Let's have a look at the console now. There will be default folders for Install Images, Boot Images, Pending Devices, Multicast Transmissions and Drivers in it. Drivers has default folders for All Packages and DriverGroup1 in it. What's the meaning of this folders?:
  • Install Images: All Images used for Windows deployment, with the possibility to create folders for overview;
  • Boot Images: Specific Images used for deploying and capturing new OS Images;
  • Pending Devices: Once this setting is enabled, you can approve and reject computers in the pane;
  • Multicast Transmissions: Once created, Windows Deployment Services will transmit the image to multiple clients using a single transmission, instead of one transmission for each client;
  • Drivers: New folder for creating driver packages and driver groups;
  • All Packages: You can use Windows Deployment Services to add driver packages to the server and configure them to be deployed to client computers along with the install image;
  • DriverGroup1: You can use filters to map client computers to the packages in a driver group. The filters define which clients will install the drivers.

As mentioned before there are new features in this release. These are Multicast support and additional Driver packages for deployment. That way there's no need to create multiple OS Images for all kind off type devices. Just create multiple Driver packages and add them to the default image; with the use off a query. Let's have a look at all the new functionality.

Multicast: Transmission Name: This wizard creates a multicast transmission for an image. Once created, Windows Deployment Services will transmit the image to multiple clients using a single transmission, instead of one transmission for eacht client. This can significantly reduce the amount of network bandwidth that is used.

Rightclick on Drivers will show these options.

"Add Driver Package" will let you choose between driver packages from an .inf file or a specific folder with drivers. Once the packages are on your server, you can define which client computers will install them using driver groups and you can add them to boot images.

"Add Driver Group" will create a new driver group which can be used to create a collection of driver packages. This wizard helps you define these clients based on the client's hardware and the install image that is selected during setup.

There are also more possibilities with "Enable/Disable Driver Packages" and "Delete Driver Packages".

Rightclick on DriverGroup1 will show these options.

Choose Properties to create new filters. You can use filters to define which clients install the driver packages in this group, based upon the hardware of the installing client and the install image that the client chooses.
When adding a new filter there is the choice between: Manufacturer, Bios Vendor, Bios Version, Chassis Type, UUID, OS Version, OS Edition and OS Language.

There are also more possibilities with "Modify Filters for this Group" and "Add Driver Packages to this Group".

With WDS on Server 2008 R2 there's better support for multiple devices now! No need to create multiple OS Images anymore; just create multiple driver packages for that. With Multicast support bandwidth can be saved, when multiple devices must be re-installed during working hours. It's good to see that WDS without the need of MDT and/or ConfigMgr is a goodworking solution for deployment.


  1. Found your blog via a WDS Driver search, and this is a great write up.

    Thought I would put in a plug for our tool SmartDeploy, which you can download here:

    SmartDeploy will integrate with WDS, and makes capturing your deployment image super easy. Most importantly though, it makes dealing with driver packages effortless with innovative platform packs.

  2. Hi

    Does all this apply if you are using on Windows 2008? Or does the R2 release have extra features?

  3. WDS is a server role that was included with Windows Server 2008 and now includes various updates for Windows Server 2008 R2.