Best of Questions and Answers from Webcast: Windows Deployment Services Overview

Full Service Computing Here are the “Best Of” the questions and answers from today’s TechNet Webcast: “Windows Deployment Services Technical Overview.

Thanks to all who attended! 


PS – Here is my resource page for this webcast

“Will WDS let you boot using floppy instead of PXE NIC?”

Yes. That’s essentially what I was doing during the demos today. I was running a virtual machine that thought I had a bootable floppy disk in the drive (really it was a virtual floppy disk). Windows Deployment Services has the option for you to create a “Discovery Boot Image”, which can be saved to removable media and used as a substitute for the PXE boot support; in case your NIC is older and doesn’t do PXE boot.


“What is pixie? Is it PE?”

No! PXE is not PE. Windows PE is the Windows Pre-installation Environment. PXE is the Pre-boot eXecutable Environment.


“Is the ISO image a RIS image, or the straight-from-MS ISO setup disk?”

The ISO Image I was using was not a RIS image. To the Machine, it saw it as if I had put the Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition installation disk into the drive.


“Kevin, Can you brief explain the differences between BDD and WDS?”

Excellent question! It’s a little confusing, because BDD and WDS both have tools that allow you to make installable images available.

I found a brief but accurate description of this relationship on Ben Hunter’s blog. Number 3 in his list of top BDD issues, “Trying to deploy [BDD] images with WDS”…

This is a common misunderstanding about the relationship between BDD and WDS. Let me assure the relationship is not a close one, BDD is just using WDS! Simply put uses WDS as a mechanism to boot the Lite Touch WIM which connects to the BDD deployment point. Once this has happened it has nothing more to WDS, nothing! So my advice here is DO NOT try to load an image captured with BDD into WDS.


“Where is sysprep found in Windows Vista?”

By default, it’s found in the C:windowssystem32sysprep folder. (if you’ve got Windows Vista running on your C: drive, that is.)


“If I only have XP clients, how will I perform a Capture Image?”

The same way. You can indeed create a “Capture Boot Image” and boot to it from a sysprepped-and-ready-to-duplicate XP machine, and it will launch the same capture process we launched in the webcast. You’ll end up with a .wim that contains a Windows XP image that can be rolled out using WDS.


“How do you edit a .wim file (e.g. add new drivers, add updates, etc.)?”

Get the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) and use the ImageX tool.


“Can a virtual PC be installed using ReadyBoost on a flash drive? The reason I ask is because Virtual PC drains system resources.”

I think what you’re asking is “Can Windows Readyboost™ improve the performance of my Virtual Machines.

Yes, it can. Now… remember, it’s going to benefit the host machine only. Vista running within a virtual machine can’t use the USB drive for it’s own performance improvements. But the machine that is hosting Virtual PC can benefit from it.

NOTE: That doesn’t mean that you can suddenly run VPCs with more memory than what you still physically have in your PC. It doesn’t work that way. But it can improve performance overall because of how the application cache is expanded.


“With multiple WDS servers, how can I set/change their priority for client access?”

I don’t think you’re going to have multiple WDS servers answering on the same subnet. Like DHCP, you’re going to have one server answering to the information that DHCP initially tells the client.


“You choose not to listen on port 67 because you are using one machine for both services. In production you would use two.”

Right. We were using 1 machine with both DHCP and WDS, and by default they would have been listening on the same port. We had to set that switch so that on the same machine it would work. However, usually they would be on two separate machines. Thanks!


“Is there a way to deploy 1 XP or W2k image to multiple computers with different hardware?”

With XP and Win2K3 or 2K you still have the HAL limitation. Sysprep in Windows VISTA makes the machine hardware agnostic. But it still isn’t able to do that for XP or earlier because the OS isn’t “componentized” enough.


“Any suggestions/ for procedures creating the USB boot key?”

I assume you’re asking about how you can create a Windows PE installation and boot from a USB drive…

Start out by looking in the Windows PE Users Guide, which is a part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit.

And I see that Josh has posted the steps on his blog.


“In win. sys image manager; If x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_neutralOOBEskipmachineoobe is set to true, the validation section says “setting skipmachineoobe is depreciated in the win image. Why does it say that? what does that mean?”

That setting was apparently for testing only. Check out the description on this TechNet page:


“Did you say that the full version of WinPE is available in WAIK and is fully customizable?”

Yes indeed! It’s not just for OEMs, System Builders, or Customers with SA on their OS purchases. WAIK, baby!

One thought on “Best of Questions and Answers from Webcast: Windows Deployment Services Overview

  1. Thanks for answer the "skipoobemachine=true" question… I was having hard time understanding what was going on….


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