Adding Drivers into a Windows Server 2008 Windows Deployment Services Boot Image – Links and Notes


Note:
The functionality as described here is only available when installing images of the following operating systems:
Windows Vista with SP1 / Windows 7
Windows Server 2008 / Windows Server 2008 R2

If you use or have used Windows Deployment Services (WDS) to deploy Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 images, one of the more common problems you may encounter is having the deployment process fail as a result of a missing compatible network driver in the boot image (boot.wim) used by the deployment server.  The network driver provides the neccesary level of communication needed between the deployment server and the system receiving a Windows image to allow for a successful deployment.

The process begins at the system receiving an image by the invocation of a Network Boot (usually a PXE boot).  The system will request an IP address via DHCP.  Once the system has an IP address, an administrator will have an option to proceed with a network service boot and begin the deployment process using WDS.  The boot image (boot.wim) is provided by WDS during this phase of the deployment.  The boot.wim needs to contain a compatible network driver for the network adapter on the system receiving the image.  Once the Boot.wim has a compatible network device driver available, the image deployment process can proceed.

With previous versions of WDS, the process to inject a new driver was command line driven, and that option is still available. It was an involved enough process that I never got around to working through the steps.  I tended to use what I felt were simple, alternative methods to complete the deployment, such as having a common network card I could quickly drop into a system, or use a compatible USB NIC.

With the version of Windows Deployment Services that comes with Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has included a GUI driven utility within WDS that makes adding new network and graphics drivers to the boot.wim pretty easy.

PeteNetLive.com has created a video that quickly steps you through the process of injecting a driver into the boot.wim.  I link to it below.  To help make the process go a bit more smoothly, I suggest creating a folder on the WDS server to hold any drivers you add. I created a folder called !DriverInjection within the Remote Install folder (RemInst share) on the deployment server. You can than make a subfolder for each driver you intend to add to the boot.wim.  Even if you are only adding one driver now, creating a simple structure to organize these drivers and keep them available will help if you add new drivers in the future, or need to round up the drivers again.

The link to the video that shows how to add drivers to a Windows Deployment Services boot image is currently available at PetNetLive.com and at YouTube.  See the links below

Links:

Adding Drivers into a Boot Image on Windows Deployment Services
http://www.petenetlive.com/KB/Article/0000314.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSuH9fLVSA8

Managing and Deploying Driver Packages
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd348456(WS.10).aspx

Managing Driver Packages:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd759155.aspx

-> Extract and Add Driver Packages:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd759151.aspx

-> Scenario 1: Deploy Driver Packages Based on the Plug and Play Hardware of the Client:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd851642.aspx

Error message when you start a PXE client to connect to a WDS server on a Windows Server 2008-based computer:
“WdsClient: An error occurred while starting networking”
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923834

Network Service Boot
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc786306(WS.10).aspx

Advertisements