MCSA 70-411 – Part 1 – Deploy WDS

As I prepare for the 70-411 exam I figured it could be useful to write some guides that touches on the exam objectives. This will mainly be a benefit to myself, as putting together a guide will make sure that I gain a good understanding on all areas of knowledge required. I will use PowerShell as much as possible in these posts, as there is a heavy focus on PowerShell in the exam. The Microsoft Exam Ref for 70-411 will be followed as for the topics and the order to cover them in. First up we start by deploying and configuring WDS (Windows Deployment Services) on Windows Server 2012 R2.

  1. Install the server role. The “-IncludeManagementTools” flag installs the GUI tools for managing WDS:
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  2. Once the role is installed we need to initialize WDS. The directory specified under “/reminst” is the directory where we want to store our images. This should not be on the OS drive for performance and space reasons (in this case this is done in a lab):
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  3. Now we need to add a boot image. We can use the boot.wim file from a standard Windows Server 2012 R2 install ISO (mounted on E: here):
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  4. Next up we will add some installation images. First we create a new image group, and then we add an image. We get the image name by running “Get-WindowsImage”, as seen in the last screenshot.
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  5. Some additional configuration is required. Here we set the WDS server to use its own DHCP server, to answer any client requesting an image, and to require administrator approval for each installation:
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  6. We can now spin up a virtual machine and try to PXE boot. We should see the following screen:
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  7. On the server side we can get a list of our pending devices. Make a note of the RequestId:
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  8. We now just need to approve our client, using the RequestId:
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  9. Switch back to our PXE client and we should now be booting up the Windows installer:
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  10. We will run through the Windows Server 2012 R2 installation. Once done, we will create a new image using the virtual machine we just installed Windows on. Normally you would customize this installation, however since this is just a lab environment we will capture the vanilla installation. To be able to capture the image we need to first run Sysprep (C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Sysprep.exe):
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  11. Once Sysprep is done it will shut down the computer. Before we boot back up we need to create a capture image on our WDS server, so that we can grab the image of our customized and sysprep:ed machine (the “Captures” folder was created manually):
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  12. Once the capture image has been created we need to import it into WDS. We can then verify that the image was imported successfully:
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  13. We PXE boot our client again and select the capture image:
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  14. We can now import the capture image following the previous step 4, and we will be ready to deploy our custom image.

This concludes the WDS setup and configuration process. We mainly use “wdsutil.exe” as PowerShell is not yet fully mature to configure WDS. To get a list of available wdsutil commands we can use “wdsutil /?”, and to get a list of all PowerShell commands for WDS use “Get-Command *-WDS*”. Next up we will take a look at deploying Windows Server Upgrade Services (WSUS).