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How to create boot and install images of VMs for using with Windows Deployment Services

Article ID: 6833, created on Nov 2, 2009, last review on Aug 12, 2014

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To create a boot image for Windows Deployment Services (WDS) in Windows Server 2003:

1. Create a VM and install Windows Server 2003 SP2.
2. Set up WDS on it.
3. Set up Windows AIK (Automated Installation Kit) 1.1.
4. Download boot.wim from Windows Vista x86 DVD (<disk>:\sources\boot.wim) to C:/.
5. Download drivers, unpack them, and copy them to the C:\prl\ folder.
6. Using Windows AIK tools, take the following steps:

imagex /mountrw c:\boot.wim 1 c:\ff

Add the drivers to the image:
peimg /inf=c:\prl\prl_eth5.inf c:\ff

Unmount and commit the changes:
imagex /unmount /commit c:\ff\

Then do the same for image 2 in the boot.wim file:
imagex /mountrw c:\boot.wim 2 c:\ff

Add the drivers to the image:
peimg /inf=c:\prl\prl_eth5.inf c:\ff

Unmount and commit the changes:
imagex /unmount /commit c:\ff\

7. Add boot.wim to the WDS server as a boot image.

To create a Windows 2003 install of the image:

On the WDS server side:

1. Right-click the boot image on the WDS GUI.
2. Click "Create Capture Boot Image."
3. Enter a name (different from your boot image, say, "Windows PE Capture(X86))," for the capture image.
4. Choose a location and a name (again, different from your boot image, e.g., "WinPECapture.vim)," to save the capture image.
5. Click "OK."
6. Click "Finish."
7. Right-click the "Boot Images" folder.
8. Click "Add Boot Image."
9. Browse to select WinPECapture.vim, then "Next," then "Finish."
10. Right-click your boot image (not the capture image) to disable it.

On the reference computer (with Windows 2003 manually installed):
1. Create a directory under the C: drive named sysprep.
2. Copy all files from C:\WINDOWS\system32\ to this folder.
3. Start a command prompt; change directory to C:\sysprep.
4. Type "sysprep /reseal /reboot."
5. When your reference computer reboots, load in PXE.
6. The Image Capture Wizard should start (since we disabled the boot image on the WDS server, only the capture image is enabled); click "Next."
7. Choose Volume to Capture, enter a name and description for your image, then click "Next."
8. On the "Image Capture Destination" page, browse to the location where you want to save the image, for example, C:\.
9. Type a name in "File name" box, for example, win2k3ee.vim; then click "Save."
10. Click "Upload image to WDS server."
11. Type your WDS server name and click "Connect."
12. Enter user name and password that has admin access to your WDS server.
13. Choose an Image Group.
14. Click "Finish."

To make installation unattended:

1. Download and copy the unattended.xml file to the C:\RemoteInstall\WdsClientUnattend folder.
2. Edit the <InstallImage> and <Credentials> tags in the unattended.xml file in concordance with your install image; let's say the image is named "Win2k3."
3. In WDS Server properties, select "Client," Unattended installation file for x86, unnatended.xml, in С:\RemoteInstall\WdsClientUnattend.
4. Create a folder with the same name as the "wim" file; in our example it is Win2k3, C:\RemoteInstall\Images\Win2k3\Win2k3.
5. Create a "$OEM$\$1\sysprep\" folder structure in the C:\RemoteInstall\Images\Win2k3\Win2k3\ folder.
6. Download and copy the sysprep.inf file to the C:\RemoteInstall\Images\Win2k3\Win2k3\$OEM$\$1\sysprep\ folder.
7. Modify the sysprep.inf file in concordance with your environment.
8. Download network drivers, unpack them, and copy them to the C:\RemoteInstall\Images\Win2k3\Win2k3\$OEM$\$1\Drivers\Network\ folder.

For more information about Unattended Installation, refer to this article:
Settings to Use for an Unattended Installation

For information on how to modify the sysprep.inf file, see this article:
Sysprep Tools and Settings


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