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WinPE on USB and WDS

Posted on 2011-09-05
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I am having problems with GHOST so I installed WDS (Windows Deployment Services) to install a custom image on 78 Optiplex 380s.  By default the Optiplex 380s DO NOT have PXE boot enabled in the BIOS.  I don't want to update the BIOS settings on all 78 computers just to boot to the WDS server.

Can I create a USB boot key that will boot to WinPE and connect to the deployment server?  I have the network  drivers, etc if necessary.  If yes, how do I create a WinPE USB to connect to WDS?

Thanks in advance for your help,

-Chuck
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Question by:stewarrh99
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yo_bee earned 250 total points
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by:yo_bee
ID: 36486267
I would also look into MDT 2010.  This will help building an image.
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by:TraJohnson
TraJohnson earned 250 total points
ID: 36488253
That link will do the trick for you.  Microsoft will probably get the hint eventually that we need to use USB keys for this sometimes but its hard to complain with free.

Another way to do it which avoids needing MDT or AIK (you should know how to use these anyway if you stick w/WDS) is to create a discover boot image in the WDS console and save it with the name boot.wim.  Then use the Windows 7 USB Download Tool, http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool,  to create the flash drive.  To do that you need access to a Windows 7 ISO to point the tool at, it makes the flash drive bootable and creates the file structure.  Once that is done delete the \sources\boot.wim from the USB drive and replace it with the discover image boot.wim you created in WDS.  Now you have a bootable USB key to deploy from.

Since you are going to be in front of those machines to manually deploy them anyway it would probably be worth your time to enable PXE on them that way you don't need the key going forward.  It will save you some time.
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Author Closing Comment

by:stewarrh99
ID: 36520768
Thanks guys for the great help.  Appreciate all you answers
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