In this article, I will be discussing how to configure Windows Deployment Services -WDS on Windows Server 2019. With the current rise in Windows devices in organizations, the number of physical and virtual machines has increased and because of this, windows (OS) deployment takes a longer time to complete. With WDS, the service delivery process can be automated. See the following guides on how to configure Windows Deployment Services on Windows Server 2019 and how to configure DHCP Server options 60, 66 and 67 for Windows Deployment Services.
Microsoft offers this solution for an organization that doesn’t have money to purchase any third-party software or purchase SCCM, the WDS server allows us to deploy images from a central location to any type of computer. WDS was previously known as Remote Installation Service (RIS) and had no GUI. But WDS is way far better deployment tool.
WDS is a role in Active Directory. WDS allows you to deploy the Windows operating system to a PXE-enabled client(s). You can install a Windows operating system on a PXE-capable client without the need for physical media. With this, Administrators’ life becomes easier as everything Windows OS can now be automated.
The Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) is an industry-standard client/server interface that allows networked computers that are not yet loaded with an operating system to be configured and booted remotely by an administrator.
Functions of Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
Uses existing technology like Windows PE, Windows Image File (.wim) and virtual hard disk (.vhd and .vhdx) image files, and image-based deployment. For some examples of WDS deployment, see the following links. How to set up a VM via PXE boot on a Generation 1 VM – Hyper-V and how to set up a VM via PXE boot on a Generation 2 VM – Hyper-V.
- Provide end-to-end deployment solutions for clients and server computers. - Facilitate the process of deployment. - Supports deployment of computers without any installed operating system. - Allows you to install a network-based operating system.
Other Deployment methods
1: Autoattended.xml (WinPE) – setup tool (media) placed in a root directory for clients to use.
2: Have the setup (bootable) media saved to a file server and have the clients connect (UNC) to the file server.
-3: SCCM (gives the highest level of automation and this gives a zero-touch of the installation).
WDS Hardware Requirements
To set and install the WDS role, you need the following;
- RAM: minimum of 4GB
- Processor: 64-bit processor
- HDD: At least 10GB (This depends on the operating system ISO and Software Size).
Please see What are the differences between MDT and WDS?, How to remove an MDT Deployment Share, and how to fix “MDT Warning: Unable to set working directory, the application returned an unexpected code 2“.
Components, requirements, and Prerequisites to setup and install WDS role
Before proceeding to configure WDS, ensure the following requirements are met.
1: Active Directory: Needs to register the WDS servers in order to make it available to clients.
2: A DHCP server in order to assign IP addresses.
3: Ensure the required firewall rules are configured.
4: Static IPs’ are configured for the server.
5: The right Windows Server hostname is used.
WDS interacts closely with DHCP, PXE, DNS, and Active Directory. As all of these functions are part of the Windows Server platform, it is cost-effective to use them.
DHCP can also be offered by a non-Windows server. See the following articles below for more details on DHCP.
You may want to see: IP Assignment Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), How to install Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol on Windows Server 2019, and Configuring DHCP: Post-deployment of Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.
Follow the below Steps To Install and Configure WDS Server (Windows Deployment Services) On Windows Server 2018
Step 1: Add Roles and Features
Open Server Manager and
– Click Add Role and Features.
Step 2: Configure Roles and Features
On the Before you begin page, click on next.
Choose Role-based or Feature-based installation and click on Next.
If you have multiple servers, select the right server from the server pool.
For me, I have just one server and it is automatically selected below.
Next, select the Windows Deployment Services as shown below.
Select Windows Deployment Services and click on Next
Note: When the WDS role is selected, this will prompt a popup as shown below.
On the Add Roles and Features Wizard, click on Add Features, and Now that the features are added, click on Next to continue the installation process
Select Windows Deployment Services and click on Next
Skip the Features windows by clicking on next as this is not needed at the moment as none of the features are.
Also, see Uninstall WDS: How to remove Windows Deployment Services role via the GUI and PowerShell, How to Lock the Find My Device Option in Windows 11, and how to Download Apps without passwords on App Store.
Step 4: WDS Installation
On the WDS box, review the information presented, and then proceed with Next.
On the Role Services page, the Deployment Server and Transport Server roles are checked by default. Click on Next (Leave the default selection of both deployment and transport server as shown below)
Select Deployment server and Transport Server and click on Next
On the confirmation page, click on Install as shown below.
This shows WDS successful, click Close.
Now that the WDS installation is successful, you can now launch and configure WDS. Here is one of the ways to launch WDS.
Click on WDS, under the servers, right-click and select “Windows Deployment Services Management Console”
You can now deploy Windows over the network
See this guide to configure WDS. If you are looking for the command line or PowerShell installation of the WDS server, then use the below command.
Open the PowerShell and run the command below with Administrative Privilege
ServerManager -install WDS
Note: After installing, the WDS server, you must configure the WDS Server in order to be able to start the service. Otherwise, you will get the following error “An error occurred while trying to start the windows deployment services”. See this article for how to configure Windows Deployment Services on Windows Server 2019.
I hope you found this blog post on how to setup and install WDS role helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.