WDS Deploying Windows Part 2: Prepare Windows, and Capture to WDS

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In part one we built and configured the WDS Server. Now you need to prepare the reference Windows 8 machine so that you can ‘capture’ its image.


Before you start, make sure that the machine you are imaging has PLENTY of room on one of its local drive(s), because it copies the image locally, before it sends it to WDS.

Place Your Reference Windows 8 Machine in Audit Mode

To put all the software on your reference machine and configure it how you like, the machine needs to be in ‘Audit Mode’ before you start. There are TWO ways to put the machine into audit mode.

Note: While a machine is in audit mode, it will log on automatically as the Administrator, and every time the machine boots sysprep will launch (in anticipation of you needing it).

Option 1: A Newly Built Machine

1. When you have first built the Windows 8 machine, you will see the screen below, Press CTRL+SHIFT+F3, the machine will automatically reboot and enter audit mode.

windows 8 Audit Mode

Option 2: You Are Already in Windows

2. You can also put a Windows 8 machine into audit mode by running the sysprep executable with the /audit switch.

Sysprep Audit Mode

3. Once in Audit mode, install all the program and configure all the settings you want in your master image. When you are happy run the sysprep program, (Or simply reboot, as sysprep launches at every boot when you are in audit mode).

Windows 8 Sysprep

4. Tick the ‘Generalize’ option, select either shutdown or reboot, (If you choose reboot make sure the machine is ready to pXe boot from the network, and the boot order has the NIC BEFORE the hard drive, or sysprep will start and rebuild the machine before it’s imaged).

Sysprep Generalize

5. Sysprep will run, and shutdown or reboot as requested.

Run sysprep in Windows 8

6. When the machine boots press F12 to boot from the WDS server.

F12 Network Boot WDS

7. Note: Now you can see why (in part one) we called the boot image ‘Capture an Image’ and the capture ‘Capture an Image’. Select the capture option.

WDS Cature an Image Windows 8

8. WindowsPE will run at the welcome screen > Next,

Note: If the process fails at this point, usually it’s because the network card driver for this machine IS NOT in the boot image.

Adding Drivers to Images on Windows Deployment Services

WDS Welcome

9. Select the volume that you want to image, (Note: It will NOT be C: that’s reserved, usually it’s D:) > Give the image a name, this is the name you will see in the WDS console, and when you are imaging the target machines > Enter a comment/description > Next.

WDS Image Directory

10. Browse.

WDS Image Location

11. Navigate to a local drive, and give the image a name with a .wim extension > Save.

wim image location

12. Tick the box to upload the image > Supply IP/Name of the WDS server > Connect.

Connect to WDS

13. Supply credentials to log onto the WDS server > OK.

Authenticate to WDS

14. Once authenticated you can select the image group we setup in part one > Next.

Pick Image Group

15. The image will be created on the reference machine.

Create Local Image Windows 8

16. Then it will be uploaded to the WDS Server.

Upload Image to WDS

17. When complete click Finish. At this point the reference machine will reboot and rebuild itself.

Capture Image Finished

18. Back in the Windows Deployment Services management console yo will see the image you have just uploaded in your image group.

Note: Sometimes it can take a while to appear, be patient!

WDS Management Image Uploaded

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links

2012 – WDS Deploying Windows 8 Part 3: Carry Out a Windows 8 Unattended Deployment 2012 – WDS Deploying Windows 8 Part 1: Install and Configure WDS


Author: Migrated

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