Deploy XP Images in the Computer Lab with Windows Deployment Services on Server 2003.

Posted on May 6, 2011



Windows Deployment Services will allow you to image XP machines across the network. Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is included in the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) and in Windows Server 2003 SP2. This is an imaging / cloning method that allows you to clone lab and campus computers without using any floppy drives, CD drives or boot disks. Instead, you set the client computer’s BIOS to start the boot from the network card. The network card then gets an IP address from a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, then it locates the WDS server that will send a boot image file to boot the client machine. Once the machine is booted you will be presented with a menu to select an image file located on the WDS server to clone your client machine.

This tutorial covers 4 main steps to successfully deploying XP images with Windows Deployment Services (WDS).

– Configure WDS server to capture and deploy images.

– Configure client to boot from network card and sysprepping XP for automatic installation.

– Capturing sysprepped XP image from client to WDS server.


– Deploying sysprepped XP image from WDs server to client.


To do this, you will need:

– The WDS server must be a member of an Active Directory domain or a domain controller for an Active Directory domain.

– Windows Server 2003 with WDS installed.

– A DHCP server for the clients to automatically obtain IP addresses.

– A DNS server.

– An NTFS partition on the WDS server to store images.

– 2 files: F1_WINPE.WIM and F3_WINPE.WIM from the Windows AIK. These files are required to capture images from clients.

– 1 file: boot.WIM from a Windows Vista DVD. This file is required to install images on clients.

– Client computers configured in the BIOS to boot from the network card. (PXE booting)

– A client machine with XP configured to your specs, and sysprepped for imaging.


1. Configure WDS server to capture and deploy images.


Install WDS on your Windows 2003 Server.

On Windows Server 2003 SP2, go to Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs > Add / Remove Windows Components > Windows Deployment Services. If you are using Server 2003 SP1, you have to install RIS first, then upgrade to WDS using the Windows AIK.

Download the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK).

Windows AIK. Burn the Windows AIK image file to a DVD with IMG BURN or mount the Windows AIK .img file to a Virtual CD/DVD Drive.

On the desktop create a folder called WDS temp to store the following 3 files:

Right click on the Windows AIK disc and find the WinPE.Cab file and extract the F1_WINPE.WIM and F3_WINPE.WIM bootable files. We need these in order to capture an image from our base machine. Put those in the WDs temp folder.

Next, insert the Windows Vista DVD and copy the boot.WIM file located in the “sources’ folder. Paste that file in the WDS temp folder.

Start and Configure WDS

1. On the Start menu, click Administrative Tools, and then click Windows Deployment Services.

2. In the left pane of the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, expand the server list.

3. Click the server that you want to manage.

4. If the server is not in the servers list, right-click the Servers node to add a server.

5. In the Add Server(s) dialog box, click Another computer, and then browse to select the computer to manage.

6. In the Add Server Warning dialog box, click Yes to add the server.

7. Right-click the server that you want to manage, and click Configure Server to start the Windows Deployment Services Configuration Wizard.

8. At the Welcome page, click Next.

9. At the Remote Installation Folder Location page, click Next to accept the default location (C:\RemoteInstall).

10. If the Microsoft DHCP service is on the server that is being configured as a Windows Deployment Services server, set DHCP Option 60 to PXEClient and set Windows Deployment Services to Do not listen on Port 67.

11. On the PXE Server Initial Settings page, click Respond to all (known and unknown) client computers.

12. Click Finish to complete the configuration.

13. Clear the Add images to Windows Deployment Services now check box, then click Finish.
Add the Boot Images F1_WINPE.WIM and F3_WINPE.WIM to WDS

In the WDS control panel, right click the “Boot Images” folder and select “Add Boot Image”.

Browse to the WDS temp folder on the desktop where you saved the F1_WINPE.WIM and F3_WINPE.WIM files. Add both images, the restart WDS and 2 new boot images will appear in the “Boot Images” folder. We will use the “Windows Vista PE (X86)” image.

Create a Capture Boot Image for your XP machines

Right click the “Windows Vista PE (X86)” image and select “Create Capture Boot Image”. We will use this boot image to capture (transfer) the sysprepped XP image from the client to the WDS server.

Name the capture image “XP Capture Boot Image” and save it to C:\RemoteInstall\CaptureBootImages (you’ll need to create the capturebootimages folder) and click Next.

Import the XP Capture Boot Image into the WDS “Boot Images” folder.

In the WDS control panel, right click the “Boot Images” folder and select “Add Boot Image”.

Browse to the CaptureBootImages folder and choose the “XP Capture Boot Image.WIM file you created previously. Click Next to add the image. When the image is added you will see it in the “boot images” folder.

Import the boot.wim image into the WDS “Boot Images” folder. This image file is used for the DEPLOYMENT of images to client computers.

In the WDS control panel, right click the “Boot Images” folder and select “Add Boot Image”. Browse to the WDS temp folder on the desktop and select the boot.wim image file. Click Next and name the file “XP Deployment Boot Image”. Click Next to add the image to the Boot Images folder.

When the image is added you will see it in the “boot images” folder.

Create an Image Group in the Install Images folder.

Image Groups organize images into similar types. You must have at least one image group to upload images. In this example there are three groups, Administrative desktops, Computer lab desktops and Servers. Right Click on the Install Images folder and “Add Image group”.

We are finished preparing the WDS server.


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