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Overview of Windows Deployment Services

Updated: January 29, 2007

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Windows Deployment Services is intended for administrators who are responsible for deployment of new computers in medium and large organizations. If you are only installing a few computers, see Deploying Windows Vista (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=63891).

Windows Deployment Services enables you to manage images and unattend installation scripts, and provide attended and unattended installation options. Windows Deployment Services facilitates basic configuration of installations, including:

  • Partitioning and formatting physical media

  • Installing the operating system and post-configuration tasks

  • Simplifying installation

  • Providing consistency across your computer environment

IT professionals using Windows Deployment Services should be familiar with the following:

  • Active Directory and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) concepts

  • Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE)

  • Windows Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE)

  • Windows Image (.wim) format


Windows Deployment Services includes the following components:

  • Server components. This includes a PXE server and Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) server for network booting a client with the intent to load and eventually install an operating system. A shared folder and image repository are also included which contain boot images, install images, and files that you need specifically for the network boot. There's also a networking layer, a multicast component, and a diagnostics component.

  • Client components. These components include a graphical user interface that runs within the Windows PE. When a user selects an operating system image, the client components communicate with the server components to install the image.

  • Management components. These components are a set of tools that you use to manage the server, operating system images, and client computer accounts.


Windows Deployment Services provides the following benefits:

  • Reduces the complexity of deployments and the cost associated with inefficient manual installation processes

  • Allows network-based installation of Windows operating systems including Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

  • Deploys Windows images to computers without operating systems

  • Supports mixed environments that include Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Server 2003

  • Provides an end-to-end solution for the deployment of Windows operating systems to client computers and servers

  • Built on standard Windows Server 2008 setup technologies including Windows PE, .wim files, and image-based setup

What's new in Windows Deployment Services

Windows Deployment Services for Windows Server 2008 includes several modifications to RIS features. There are also modifications from Windows Deployment Services that you can install onto computers running Windows Server 2003.


Changes from RIS Changes from Windows Deployment Services on Windows Server 2003
  • Ability to deploy Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

  • Support for Windows PE as a boot operating system

  • Support for the Windows image (.wim) format

  • Ability to transmit data and images using multicast functionality

  • Ability to transmit data and images using multicast functionality on a standalone server (when you install the Transport Server role service)

  • An extensible and higher-performing PXE server component

  • A new boot menu format for selecting boot operating systems

  • A new graphical user interface that you can use to select and deploy images and to manage Windows Deployment Services servers and clients

  • Ability to transmit data and images using multicast functionality

  • Ability to transmit data and images using multicast functionality on a standalone server (when you install the Transport Server role service)

  • Does not support RISETUP images or OSChooser screens

  • Enhanced TFTP server

  • Supports network boots of x64-based computers with Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)

  • Metric reporting for installations

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