Rolling out PC’s can be boring and a pain. Using Acronis Snap and Deploy can help (that was not a sponsored ad, however acronis if you want to pay me to post this please give me a copy the trial ran out.) but the software can be expensive.
So what does a sysadmin do then? Whats free with my Server 2012 installation that can help me roll out my PC’s faster? PXE and WDS. Using a simple mix of PXE and Windows Deployment Services you can guarantee a quick and painless roll out.
Issue: I want to deploy Windows to a bunch of hosts but I also want to play Portal 2.
Solution: Install WDS
First we need a Windows Server 2012 install and a DHCP server that works I am going to assume you have both. These dont have to be on the same host but you can if you like (as is this case).
If you are using Windows Server 2012 as your DHCP this will be super easy. Before you start I would reccomend adding a new virtual disk for your images. ~200GB would be good for working room but I used 40GB in my lab. In this example we are going to be using disk D:
Install the role and reboot if necessary.
Click it to open it up.
You will be prompted for an initial setup where you will be asking items like:
-Is this a DHCP server (this is the most important step).
-Where should I store the data for these images? Keep this path simple let it pick the path simply pick the disk. This will be covered in a different article where I show you how to add ISOs (memtest, konboot) and other items into WDS that shouldn’t be there.
Once you have completed these steps its time to add some ISOs and Images. To be clear on this you will need some OEM ISOs, or genuine disks that came with the PC or something that came from MSDN. Simply take your iso and extract it with WinRAR or with Windows Server 2012’s built in ISO mounter.
Inside this \sources\ folder you will find some WIM files. These are what you need you can leave them here though. We now need to tell the WDS about these disks.
Please note I already had images in here you will not have.
Simply go to the folder that you extracted the contents of your Windows installation DVD to and open the /sources/ folder.
Open the boot.wim file then choose Next. You then will be asked for some info on what you wanted it named fill out as desired.
This is great but you still cant install windows with just this added. We still need to add the install.wim to the WDS server. This is done by right clicking on Install Images and selecting Add Install Image…
You will be prompted to make a group. Name accordingly. I use MSDN and OEM just so I am aware what is what. However you may wish to do it by OS level.