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Managing and Deploying Driver Packages

Updated: January 6, 2009

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

In Windows Server 2008 R2, you can use Windows Deployment Services to add driver packages to the server and configure them to be deployed to client computers along with the install image. Note that this functionality is only available when you are installing images of the following operating systems: Windows Vista with SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. This section walks you through configuring this functionality, but you must have a configured server before you begin. For instructions on how to configure your server, see the Windows Deployment Services Step-by-Step Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=84628).For a complete list of what is new in this version of Windows Deployment Services, see Windows Deployment Services: What's New.

 

Term Definition

Driver group

A driver group is a collection of driver packages. You can add filters to a driver group to make the packages in the group available to a select group of client computers. Alternatively, if there are no filters on a driver group, then the packages will be available to all clients that have matching hardware. You can define whether clients that have access to the driver group install either 1) all the packages in the group, or 2) only those packages that match the hardware that is connected to or installed on the client (that is, Plug and Play hardware).

Filters

Filters enable you to map the packages in a driver group to specific client computers. The filters define which clients have access to the packages. There are two types of filters: filters based on the hardware of the client (for example, manufacturer and BIOS vendor) and filters based on the attributes of the install image that is selected on the client (for example, the version or edition of the image).

Plug and Play hardware

Plug and Play functionality provides automatic configuration of hardware and devices for Windows operating systems.

You can configure the driver packages to be deployed to clients in three ways. The following table describes each of these methods and describes when you should use each.

 

Scenario Description When To Use This Scenario

Scenario 1: Deploy driver packages to clients based on the Plug and Play hardware of the client

In this scenario, you make all packages available to all clients (that is, you do not add filters to your driver groups), and you configure the groups so that only those packages that match the hardware on the computer will be installed.

This is the simplest scenario to configure, and most companies should try this scenario first. However, if you encounter problems because incompatible packages are installed simultaneously on a computer (for example, if you have computers that cannot boot, or hardware that does not work correctly), then you will need to add filters to your driver groups as defined in Scenario 2.

Scenario 2: Deploy driver packages using filters to define which clients have access to each driver group

In this scenario, you organize your packages into driver groups, and then map each group to computers using filters. The filters define which computers have access to the driver group based on the hardware of the computer and/or the attributes of the selected install image. You can still configure the packages to be installed based on Plug and Play hardware, but you can use the filters to further define which clients will have access to the packages.

You should consider using this scenario if:

  • Scenario 1 is resulting in hardware that does not work correctly on a computer.

  • You have a complex environment including computers with various hardware and software configurations.

  • You need to install specific driver packages on certain computers (for example, computers with different languages or versions of an install image).

Scenario 3: Deploy all driver packages in a driver group to clients

In this scenario, you deploy all of the driver packages in a driver group to a client computer (not just those that match the Plug and Play hardware on the client). After the installation, when you connect the hardware to the client, the device driver will be installed automatically.

Use this option if you have hardware that is disconnected from the computer (for example, a printer or scanner) and you want to force all of the packages in a driver group to be installed on the client. Typically, you should use this scenario in combination with either Scenario 1 or 2.

The following are prerequisites for all three of the scenarios:

  • A Windows Deployment Services server configured with the following:

    • The boot image from either Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 (from \Sources\Boot.wim on the DVD).

    • Install images for Windows Vista SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • Driver packages for the hardware that you want to deploy. Note that these packages must be extracted (that is, the package cannot be a .msi or .exe file).

In this scenario, you make all packages available to all clients (that is, you do not add filters to your driver groups) and you configure the groups so that only those packages that match the hardware on the computer will be installed.

ImportantImportant
You should thoroughly test this scenario before implementing it across your organization.

  • Depending on the driver packages on the server and the hardware of the client, this scenario could result in a computer that will not boot. If this happens, you will need to figure out which driver packages are causing the problem and either remove them from the server, or restrict them using filters as outlined in Scenario 2.

  1. Open the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in. (Click Start, click Administrative Tools, and click Windows Deployment Services).

  2. Expand the Servers node and the node for your Windows Deployment Services server.

  3. Right-click the Drivers node and click Add Driver Package.

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  4. Follow the instructions in the wizard to add the driver packages. When asked which driver group to add the packages to, click Select an existing driver group, and ensure that DriverGroup1 is selected. This driver group (by default) is configured as follows: 1) it has no filters so all clients will have access to the packages in this group and 2) only packages that match the client’s hardware will be installed. To view these settings, right-click DriverGroup1, and click Properties.

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  5. On the last page of the wizard, do not select the check box to modify the filters for the group, and click Finish.

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  6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you have added all of your driver packages to DriverGroup1.

    noteNote
    If you would prefer to organize your packages into different driver groups, you can create driver groups when adding packages. However, you should not add any filters to them for this scenario.

    The server is now configured, so all computers that install a supported image (that is, Windows Vista with SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 R2) will have access to this driver group. However, computers will only install those packages that match the Plug and Play hardware. You can now install an image as described in the next procedure.

  1. Ensure that all hardware (for which you want packages to be installed) is connected to client computers.

  2. Boot a client computer and install an image.

  3. When the installation is complete, open Device Manager on the client computer from the Control Panel and verify that the device drivers for all connected hardware were installed.

This scenario is not as simple as Scenario 1 in that it will require you to test your configuration until the filters are configured appropriately for your environment. You may need to create many driver groups with different filter combinations before you find a configuration that works for you. In general, the more complex your environment is, the more complex your configuration will need to be.

  • The filter value must exactly match the client hardware or the install image specifications. The two available operators for most filters are Equal to or Not equal to. Therefore, if the value you specify is one character off (for example, if you omit a period) the filters will not filter the clients as intended. For this reason, we recommend that you create multiple filters to account for all cases. For example, create filters for Fabrikam, Inc. and Fabrikam and so on.

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  • When searching through the packages using the MMC snap-in to perform a task (for example, to delete a package), the dialog may be briefly unresponsive if you have hundreds of packages on your server. In these cases, note that you should continue to wait because the server is working on your request. For this reason we recommend that you add no more than 2000 driver packages to a group at time (although there is not an enforced limit).

The first step in this scenario is to create driver groups that have filters. The filters define which computers should have access to the driver packages in that group. You can configure packages to be installed based on the hardware of the client (for example, the manufacturer or BIOS vendor) and the attributes of the Windows image that is selected during the installation (for example, the version or edition). For example, you could specify that the only client computers that should have access to a group are those that 1) are manufactured by Fabrikam, Inc. and 2) select a Windows 7 image during the installation. Once you have your driver groups configured, you will add packages to them, and then you will be ready to boot a computer and install an operating system.

  1. Open the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in.

  2. Expand the Servers node and the node for your Windows Deployment Services server.

  3. Right-click DriverGroup1 and click Disable. You must disable DriverGroup1 because (by default) it does not have filters on it and therefore, it will deploy all packages to all clients.

  4. Right-click the Drivers node and click Add Driver Group.

  5. Type a name for the group, click Next, and follow the instructions to add filters as appropriate for your organization. For a list of filters, see Driver Group Filters (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=155158).

  6. On the Packages to Install screen, select Install only the driver packages that match a client’s hardware.

  7. Click Next and then click Finish.

  8. Repeat steps 3-6 until you have created and configured all desired driver groups.

Now that you have configured your driver groups, you are ready to add driver packages to them as described in the next procedure.

  1. For packages that you have not already added to the server, right-click the Drivers node, click Add Driver Package, and follow the instructions to add the package to one of the groups that you created in the previous procedure.

  2. For packages that are already on the server but are not in the correct group, right-click the desired driver group, and click Add Driver Packages to this Group.

  3. Use the search attributes to search through the packages that are on the server, and then click Add to add them to the group.

    noteNote
    To add a specific package to a group, you can also right-click the package and click Add or Remove from Groups. In the dialog, configure the driver package using the arrows, and then click Apply.

  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until you have added all the packages that you want, and click Close.

  5. If you need to remove a package from a group, click the group, right-click the specific driver package in the right pane. Then you can click Add or Remove from Groups to see a list of groups that you can add it to or remove it from. You can also click Remove from this Group to remove it instantly. To delete the package from the server, right-click the package and click Delete.

Now that you have configured driver groups and added packages to them, you are ready to boot a client as described in the following procedure.

  1. Ensure that all hardware (that you want the driver packages to be installed for) is connected to client computers.

  2. Boot a computer and install an image.

  3. When the installation is complete, open Device Manager on the client computer from the Control Panel and verify that the appropriate device drivers were installed.

You can configure any driver group so that all of the packages within it will be deployed to applicable clients—not only those for which hardware is connected to the client. To configure a driver group in this way, use the following procedure.

ImportantImportant
Depending on the driver packages on the server and the hardware of the client, this scenario could result in a computer that will not boot. If this happens, you will need to figure out which driver packages are causing the problem and either remove them from the server, or restrict them using filters as outlined in Scenario 2.

  1. Open the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in.

  2. Right-click the driver group, and click Properties.

  3. Under Applicability, select All driver packages in the group from the drop-down menu.

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  4. Boot a client computer and install an image.

  5. When the installation is complete, connect the Plug and Play hardware to the client computer and verify that Windows finds the device driver for it.

In general, you can manage your driver groups and packages by right-clicking the Drivers node, a driver group, or a specific package. Then, you can select one of the available tasks such as adding, deleting, or enabling the item. For a list of the attribute you use to perform these tasks, see Driver Package Attributes (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=155167).

You can use Windows Deployment Services to add driver packages (such as network adapter drivers, mass storage drivers, and bus drivers) to your Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 boot images. This means that you do not have to export the image, use the tools in the Windows Automated Installation Kit to add driver packages manually, and then add the updated boot image.

  • You should only add necessary driver packages to boot images (that is, network adapter drivers, mass storage drivers, and system bus drivers). We recommend this because it will reduce the size of the image, and also to reduce the chances that drivers collide with each other.

  1. Add the driver package to the server.

  2. In the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, expand the Boot Images node. It is okay if the image that you are updating is currently being downloaded to a client when you perform this procedure. Windows Deployment Services ensures that the client will get a consistent copy of the file.

  3. Right-click the image that you want to add the driver to, and click Add Driver Packages to Image.

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  4. Follow the instructions in the wizard to search for the package and then add it to the image.

noteNote
When adding driver packages to boot images using WDSUTIL, you must specify /filtertype:packagearchitecture /operator:equal /value:<arch> where <arch> matches the architecture of the boot image. For example, run WDSUTIL /verbose /progress /add-imagedriverpackages /image:"Microsoft Windows Setup (x64)" /imagetype:boot /architecture:x64 /filtertype:packagearchitecture /operator:equal /value:x64. If you do not specify this command and the package contains packages that do not match the architecture of the image, the command will fail.

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