Windows Server 2016 014: Imaging a Computer with WDS

If you’ve set up WDS you’ll likely want to customize your windows image to have software already installed. You may need some Antivirus software or utilities for work such as Microsoft Office.

In this guide I’ll be presuming you have some basic knowledge and a similar setup from my guide on setting up WDS.

Creating a Capture Image

The first step is to create a Capture Image for the computer to boot in to. This will give us the tools needed to image the system.

  1. Open the WDS MMC, expand down your Server list and click on Boot Images.
  2. Right click on your boot image and go to Create Capture Image….
  3. Pick a new Image Name and Description for the Capture Image.
  4. Click Browse and navigate to a temporary location (like your desktop) and name the file.
  5. Upon clicking Next it will take a few minutes to create the capture image.
  6. Once it’s done, tick the box that says Add image to the Windows Deployment Server now then click Finish.
  7. The Add Image Wizard will automagically pop up. Click Next through it, it will add the boot image then you can click Finish.

Now that the capture image is made lets move on to imaging a system.

Imaging a Computer

Once you’ve got the programs you need installed you’ll need to Sysprep Windows. This removes any system specific information (SIDs etc) and makes windows act like it’s the first boot again.

  1. Log in as a local user on the computer you want to image.
  2. In the start menu, type Run and press enter.
  3. Type sysprep in the Run box and a folder should pop up.
  4. Right click sysprep and go Run as administrator.
  5. Tick Generalize and change Shutdown Options to Shutdown.
  6. When you’re ready, click OK and the computer will sysprep and shutdown.

Once your system is syspreped and shutdown you’re ready to image it.

  1. Turn the computer on, pressing F12 when prompted to PXE boot.
  2. Select your Capture Image from the menu and hit enter.
  3. Click Next on the welcome screen.
  4. Choose the Volume to capture, an Image Name and Description.
  5. Choose a local location to store the image in case of network trouble (Somewhere on the systems hard drive is fine).
  6. Tick Upload image to a Windows Deployment Services server (optional) and click Connect.
  7. Type in your admin username (including @domain) and password for your server.
  8. Select an Image Group Name and click Next.
  9. Wait and once imaging is complete, click Finish.

At this point, you’re done! You can network boot and install the image on to other systems. If you would like to know how to get to the installer, you can follow the steps found in my guide on setting up WDS.

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