WDS Setup Guide: Part 2 – Boot Image Setup

Boot Image Setup

Boot Image Types

Boot Image

Before you can make use of the PXE server, you must have a boot image.  This boot image contains the necessary files to install windows, such as setup.exe, which gives you the GUI that you see when installing windows.  Boot images don’t really need to be ‘created’ you simply get a Vista or Server 2008 Install disc and use the ‘boot.wim’ file located in the \sources directory.  Note that in order to join a multicast; your boot image will need to be either the server 2008 boot.wim, a boot.wim from a Vista SP1 CD, or a Windows 7 Boot.wim.  A normal Vista CD’s boot.wim cannot join a multicast.  I suggest using the server 2008 boot.wim.  Multicasting will be explained later in this document.

To add a boot image to your server:

  1. Insert your Server 2008 CD, navigate to the \sources directory and copy the boot.wim to the server containing WDS.  You can make a simple folder called ‘Images’ and add it there; I chose to leave the default image share folder alone.
  2. Open the WDS MMC.
  3. Expand the Servers > ‘yourserver’ node, you will see 5 folders.
  4. Right click ‘Boot Image’ and select add image.
  5. Navigate to the boot.wim that you copied from the Server 2008 CD, click Next.
  6. Give a name and description to the image, click Next.
  7. Review the settings and click Next, the image will be added to the server.
  8. Click Finish.

The boot image you just added should be visible in the right hand pane when you click the Boot Images node.  The Image name you chose will show up as an option when you network boot a computer.  This Image type is used when you want to install an Image to a machine, to capture an image see the next section.

Capture Boot Image

WDS can be used to both deploy and capture computer images; the default boot.wim is used to deploy install images of windows (i.e. A fully setup image ready to be deployed); however a modified image known as a ‘Capture Boot Image’ is required to capture an image from a computer.  Creating a capture boot image is very simple, and provided you have the default boot.wim added to your WDS server, will only take a few simple steps.

  1. Open the WDS Console.
  2. Expand the Server > <Your Server> node and click boot images.
  3. Right click the boot image you added earlier – under the ‘Boot Image’ heading.
  4. Select Create Capture Boot Image.
  5. Give the boot Image a name and select the save location.
  6. Click Next and allow the image to build.
  7. Go back to the boot node in step 1.
  8. Right click the node and select add boot image.
  9. Navigate to the capture boot image you created and give it a name etc.
  10. Allow the image to load to the server.

The server should now be setup to capture and deploy images.  These images can be deployed to any computer with PXE booting enabled.  The next section outlines how to setup an image, sysprep it for capturing with WDS, and then deploy the image to multiple computers.

Continue to Part 3 – Install Images – Capture and Deployment


About Glen Wickert
I am an IT Administrator, currently living in Sydney, NSW. I've been with my current job at a school for the past 2 years. I manage servers, switches and desktop computers.

6 Responses to WDS Setup Guide: Part 2 – Boot Image Setup

  1. Pingback: WDS Setup Guide: Part 1 – Installation and Initial Setup « IT Admin Tips and Information

  2. ferhenriq says:

    Very good! thanks a lot for that!

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