How to set computer naming policy in Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

February 19, 2010

In old remote installation services, you have the options to customize computer name or select automatic installation while running RIS on a client. similarly, new Windows deployment services has the option for you to set naming policy in Windows Deployment Services server. In WDS server, by default naming policy set to %Username%# that means WDS will create computer name using username who logged on when running remote installation process and # is the number 1,2,3..up to 999 will be added after username. To Set naming policy and  default organisational unit in Active Directory. Log on to WDS server using domain admin credentials.

Start menu>Administrative Tools>Windows Deployment Services>Expand Servers>Right click on WDS server>Property>Directory Services Tab

Set Automated name add the string you want and browse and point the OU in Active Directory you want to place computers.



To set custom name and approval process for WDS client. Click PXE Response settings Tab. Check For unknown clients, notify administrator and respond after approval then apply and ok.

Warning! Apply this may result all unknown computers and manually added computers (computer didn’t use WDS for windows installation) in Active Directory will auto boot up to WDS services without pressing F12.


Now boot an unknown client i.e. new client in the network. Client will  automatically boot using WDS. Log on to WDS server and go to pending devices as shown here. Select and right click the computer that’s waiting for approval, click name and approve. Type Name and Approve this pending device. If you want to place this computer in a specific OU in Active Directory then click location and place in that OU.

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Pre-staging an approval of a client:

  1. To open Active Directory Users and Computers

  2. In the console tree, right-click the organizational unit that will contain the new client computer.

  3. Click New, and then click Computer.

  4. Type the client computer name, click Next, and then click This is a managed computer.

  5. In the text entry field, type the client computer’s globally unique identifier (GUID/UUID) and then click Next.

  6. Click one of the following options to specify which server or servers will support this client computer. Check The following remote installation server and Type WDS server’s FQDN

  7. Click Next, and then click Finish.

Important! The term GUID usually refers to Microsoft‘s implementation of the Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) standard. A UUID is a 16-byte (128-bit) number. The number of theoretically possible UUIDs is therefore about 3 × 1038. In its canonical form, a UUID consists of 32 hexadecimal digits, displayed in 5 groups separated by hyphens, in the form 8-4-4-4-12 for a total of 36 characters (32 digits and 4 hyphens). For example:


Screen Shots for further help:

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Note: Typed without ‘-‘ (hyphen)



Now this re-image this computer by pressing F12 while booting.

To find UUID:

1. Log on to Windows XP Machine. Open Command Prompt>Change directory to  C:\Windows\system32\wbem  Type wbemtest.exe hit enter.
2. Click Connect. Change root\default to root\cimv2 >hit connect.
3. Click Enum Classes button>choose Recursive>Click ok.
4. A Query Result will appear, scroll down, select Win32_ComputerSystemProduct then Double click it then Object editor for win32 will appear
5. In the Properties box scroll down, choose UUID and click Instances button. In the Query Result, Select Win32_ComputerSystemsProduct double click on it and another Object Editor will appear and  it contains desired UUID for the computer.

It’s painful process but you may find UUID in some computer and laptop’s bios. For example, on IBM R61 laptop I got UUID in bois. 

Relevant Article on Windows Deployment Services 

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Windows Deployment Services:How to resolve “uploading image to WDS Server The System Cannot find the file specified”

January 5, 2010

I was stuck for hours and scratching my head to find out a solution of this problem. I googled heaps but outcome is zero. Here, I will show you how to resolve this issue.

Issue: When you uploading image in windows deployment services, it start uploading however in few seconds it stops with error “ The System Cannot find the file specified”

Why it happens? This is an weird problem I have ever seen. What it says in error practically not that case. You will not find any event log for this error in event viewer. It happens for WDS mixed-mode  server. It shows that error for several reasons.

Disk Space in system partition and drive:\Remoteinstall aren’t enough

Disk space for TEMP /TMP folder in %userprofile%\username\Local Settings\TEMP aren’t enough

Mixed-Mode WDS not configured properly


As I said this is a weird error though I have enough space in both partition still I got that error.  However, I did followings to resolve my problem.

Must have more then enough space in C:\ drive and Remoteinstall partition. Remember Microsoft Windows needs extra disk space for Pagefile, shared memory for RAM,  temp folder and on top of that disk space for WDS WIM file in TEMP folder of system partition. Also you need enough disk space for Drive:\remoteinstall\temp folder.

Empty temp folder as shown below


Check Temp folder configuration. System Property>Environment variables. You must point TEMP folder to %Windir%\Documents and Settings\%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\TEMP.

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You must see these four .bcd files in remoteinstall\temp folder after you add boot.wim and winpe.wim image otherwise WDS will not work properly. DO NOT DELETE THESE FILES.


Type WDSUTIL /set-server /DefaultX86X64ImageType:both on command prompt to set WDS boot and read x64 and x86 format image.

Add separate image group for the image you are loading.


Install Windows 7 AIK in WDS Server and copy drvstore.dll , cmiv2.dll and xmllite.dll files from %windir%\Program files\Windows AIK\Tools\Servicing to %windir%\system32

Patch up WDS server from site or WSUS

Now reboot server and you are laughing.

Riprep Image to WDS WIM conversion error

December 31, 2009

I found an error while converting  Riprep Image to WDS WIM file. If you are having same trouble doing conversion. Here is a little solutions for you.


An error occurred while trying to execute the command.
Error Code: 0xC103014B
Error Description: Wdsmgmt could not load a required library.  If this is a version of Windows prior to Vista, please install the OPK/WAIK toolkit and ensure that drvstore.dll and cmiv2.dll are in the path.

Why it happens? WDSUTIL looks for drvstore.dll , cmiv2.dll and xmllite.dll file in %windir%\system32 folder. When it fails to locate these files it gives an error code:0xC103014B even though Windows AIK is installed in WDS server.


You must install Windows AIK and Copy drvstore.dll , cmiv2.dll and xmllite.dll files from %windir%\Program files\Windows AIK\Tools\Servicing to %windir%\system32

Now open command prompt and run  wdsutil /convert-RiprepImage /filepath:SourcePath\riprep.sif /destinationimage /filepath:destination path\FileName.wim 

Screenshot: Before copying those files to %windir%\system32


Screenshot: after resolving issue


Windows Deployment Services: Create and deploy multicast images

December 7, 2009

I would like to explain a bit about IP Multicast before I start with WDS multicast image distribution because not all the organisation have existing multicast infrastructure. Still, I reckon it would be worthy to know bits and pieces of a technology while working on it.  So what is IP Multicast? Multicast is a technique for one-to-many communication over an IP infrastructure in a network. It scales to a larger receiver population by not requiring prior knowledge of whom or how many receivers there are. Multicast uses network infrastructure efficiently by requiring the source to send a packet only once, even if it needs to be delivered to a large number of receivers resulting bandwidth savings. The nodes in the network take care of replicating the packet to reach multiple receivers only when necessary. The most common low-level protocol to use multicast addressing is User Datagram Protocol (UDP). IP addresses from to are designated as multicast addresses. This range was formerly called “Class D.” The sender sends a single datagram to the multicast address and the intermediary routers take care of making copies and sending them to all receivers that have registered their interest in data from that sender. Multicast IP ranges assigned through DHCP scope. In any case, range through is reserved for local purposes (as administrative and maintenance tasks) and datagram’s destined to them are never forwarded by multicast routers. Similarly, the range to has been reserved for administrative scoping.

WDS Multicast Image Creating multicast images in WDS server is easy and straightforward if you have a functioning multicast infrastructure. For multicast imaging to work properly, the network devices that connect the WDS multicast clients to the WDS server providing the multicast transmission must support and allow multicast traffic as mentioned above. If the WDS server already contains tested boot and install images. One important point to note about multicasting is that only the Windows Server 2008 boot.WIM boot image file contains a WDS multicast client. In WDS server, you have to add Windows Server 2008 boot.WIM file into boot image. Now follow the screenshots bellow to distributive multicast image. Delete Multicast image when distribution no longer required.

Log on to WDS server using Admin Privilege. Go to Administrative Tools>WDS>Servers>Expand WDS Server>Right click on Multicast Transmission>Click Create Multicast Transmission.


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Here, you can schedule transmission if bandwidth and distribution time are criteria.

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Windows Deployment Services: How to create deployable bootable ISO using WDS and AIK

December 4, 2009

A bootable ISO is created from an existing WDS boot image and capture image that contains Windows PE and the WDS client can be stored on DVD or CD making it easier to deploy images to older systems or on heterogeneous networks that have PXE issues. To accomplish discover image process, you must have a working WDS in network and Windows 7 AIK installed in WDS server. Log on to WDS server using domain admin credential and follow the screen shots.

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Create a folder in e:\DiscoverBootImage or whatever drive you have and provide FQDN of WDS

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Now you have e:\DiscoverBootImage\WDSDiscover.WIM . Open Start menu>Microsoft Windows AIK>Deployment Tools Command Prompt>Type CopyPe x86 E:\DiscoverBootImage\Winpe and wait for completion


In the same command prompt type

Copy /y E:\DiscoverBootImage\WDSDiscover.WIM

To write WIM file to ISO type following

oscdimg –n –bE:\DiscoverBootImage\Winpe\ISO\Boot\
E:\DiscoverBootImage\Winpe\ISO E:\DiscoverBootImage\boot.ISO

Now you have created ISO boot image. Burn this ISO on a CD or DVD and boot client machine using this cd and deploy images.

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Windows Deployment Services: How to configure Legacy or Mixed Mode or Native Mode for legacy image and Windows 7

December 1, 2009

Windows Deployment Services (WDS) running on Windows 2008 provides many of the same features and functions of RIS, Automated Deployment Services, and Windows Server 2003 SP2 combined.  Two of the distinct features of Windows 2008 Windows Deployment Services are that both server and desktop operating systems can be deployed and images can be deployed using multicast communications. With the release of Windows 7 AIK, MDT 2010, ACT and MAP, Microsoft deployment service and automations are more robust and powerful tools then its predecessor RIS. 

However, if you are in a situation that you don’t want to get rid of RIS image but you want to enjoy benefits of WDS. In this case, there are three different modes of WDS within Windows Server 2003: Legacy, Mixed, and Native. You have the option to choose both legacy image and Windows 7 WIM image in a mixed mode environment. If RIS had previously been deployed with existing images, the upgrade took the existing RIS (RIPREP and RISETUP) images and placed them in the Legacy Image folder within the WDS MMC snap-in and upon your initial launch of the WDS console, the administrators were prompted to choose whether the WDS system would run in Legacy or Mixed mode. After a few more simple configurations, existing RIS images would work successfully in the environment. The entire upgrade process can be done in existing RIS server or you can re-home RIS into a new server. In this article, I will write, how to run WDS and AIK in windows server 2003. Also, I will show upgrading Windows Server 2003 SP2 RIS server into Windows Server 2008. WDS, AIK and MDT are available in Microsoft download centre and free to obtain. 


clip_image001 Windows Server 2003 SP1 

clip_image001[1] .NET Framework 2.0 

clip_image001[2] MSXML6 

clip_image001[3] Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 or Windows Deployment Services for Windows Server 2003 

clip_image001[4] Windows Server 2008 SP2 (for scenario#2) 

Warning: Backup DHCP, RIS images, RIS answer files to make sure you are safe. 

Scenario#1: Running WDS on Windows Server 2003 SP1 

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You can use Windows Vista AIK to install WDS on Windows Server 2003 SP1. Alternatively, You can install Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 in RIS server that will automatically install WDS.   

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Open WDS for the first time using Administrative tools>WDS or WDS legacy. you have the option to choose WDS mixed mode or legacy. Do NOT open WDS legacy because here your intension is to use mixed mode. so Choose Windows Deployment Services

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Once you finished installing WDS on Windows Server 2003 SP1, follow my previous posting on “  How to deploy custom windows 7 using windows deployment services (WDS) 2008 ” . I have elaborately written how to install and configure WDS, capture custom Windows 7 and deploy image in that posting. It would be redundant to write again. 

Scenario#2: Upgrading RIS server/WDS mixed mode server from Windows server 2003 to Windows server 2008 

Direct Upgrade from Windows Server 2003 RIS server or WDS legacy/mixed mode to Windows Server 2008 is NOT supported.  Consider that you have a working RIS/WDS mixed mode environment and have images that will need to be maintained, these images can be manually imported into a Windows 2008 WDS server using a capture image and a detailed process. 

1. Deploy the legacy images to master pc using the legacy RIS server or Mixed mode WDS Server. 

2. Prepare the newly deployed master pc using the Sysprep utility and, as required, the Setup Manager utility to prepare the system for imaging. 

3. Boot the master pc that will be captured, using PXE boot. 

4. Select the capture image when the list of available images is presented. 

5. Follow the capture imaging prompts to create the new custom install image. 

6. Redo step1 to step5 to capture all images 

Organise captured images into WDS server by setting up Image group and linking WDS unattended answer file. 

Using WDSUTIL Command  

To determine which operating mode the server is currently in, run the command 

WDSUTIL /get-server /show:config 

To change the server mode from Legacy to Mixed  Run the command

WDSUTIL /Initialize-Server /RemInst:E:\reminst (consider e:\reminst is the location of RIS folder)

To change the server mode from mixed mode to native run the command
WDSUTIL /SET-Server /ForceNative

To convert a RIPREP image to .wim format by using the WDSUTIL

WDSUTIL /convert-riprepimage /filepath:<path to RIPREP image .sif file> /destinationimage /filepath:<path and name of .wim image> 

you can use the following with above command:

To give the new .wim image a name in the metadata, use /Name:<name>.

To give the new .wim image a description in the metadata, use /Description:<description>.

To convert the original RIPREP image, rather than a copy, use /InPlace.

To determine behavior when the image file specified in /DestinationImage already exists, use /Overwrite:{Yes|No|Append}. Yes will overwrite the .wim file, No will cause an error, and Append will append the new image to the existing .wim file

To add WIM file to the server, type the following where <filepath> is the full path to the new .wim file

WDSUTIL /add-image /imagefile:<filepath> /imagetype:install

Once you convert WDS into Native mode then you are ready to upgrade Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008. Make sure you got compatible hardware (Processor, RAM and disk space) to install Windows Server 2008. Follow the screen shot to upgrade windows. 

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Further References: 

Microsoft WDS 

Move RIS from one server to another 


WDS answer file

How to create answer file for windows 7 WDS client

September 29, 2009

Download and install Windows 7 AIK on admin PC or WDS server

Open windows system image manager>File>New Answer File>Yes

Browse>select install.wim file>yes

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Now modify according to your need. you may delete unnecessary catalogs. If you are using existing image then you don’t need to use create partition option. Modify partition is ok. You must keep join domain catalog.  Also it doesn’t hurt anybody if you mention product key. Don’t mention domain credential in log in catalog then it will not ask domain credential after pressing F12. It’s unsafe. Now save this file in WDS server in WDS_unattended folder. 

You may also create answer file using sample answer file provided in %WINDIR%\program files\Windows AIK>Samples. In this case, don’t modify original. Copy original and paste>rename>modify and use it.

Now, Systems Admin can :)


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