How to: Deploy Windows 7 to a VM using WDS

By Rory Monaghan


This afternoon I wanted to try out deploying my custom Windows 7 image to a Virtual Machine using WDS. For this example I used VMWare Workstation 6.5.2 which is by no means the latest and greatest out on the market. To deploy my Windows 7 image I first needed to create a Virtual Machine. It’s assumed that you already have a Windows 7 image that you currently deploy using WDS and thus have some of the leg work already done.

Browse to File–>New–>Virtual Machine

You can then navigate through the Wizard as you normally would, the only difference is you should ensure you do not select any bootable media during the CD\DVD settings dialog

Once complete, you can right click on the name of your new Virtual Machine in the Workstation Sidebar browse to Settings and ensure you un-check the options to allow the CD\DVD to be connected and visible when the VM starts up. The only reason you need to do this is because it will throw an error otherwise which makes it difficult to get to the boot menu quick enough to start the build.

Next you need to start your VM. It should go to a black screen in which it will try to do a PXE boot. Once you see the DHCP… screen you can hit Ctrl+C to stop it. Now make not of the MAC address you see on the screen.

You then need to pre-stage the machine into AD. Give the machine a valid hostname (Computer Name e.g. RorysPC01) and also the MAC address you just took down.

C:\Windows\System32\WDSUTIL /Add-Device /Device: <HostName> /ID: <MacAddress>   /WDSClientUnattend:HostName.xml /BootProgram:boot\x64\PXEboot.

n12 /BootImagePath:boot\x64\images\boot.wim /OU:””OU=Desktops,OU=Computer Accounts,DC=CompDC,DC=net,DC=Company,DC=com”””
You can now Power down the Virtual Machine. Next you need to modify the Network settings to bridged for the duration of the build. Browse back to the settings. This time click on Network Settings and ensure you select Bridged.
Power On the Virtual Machine and during the VMWare boot screen hit F12 to do a Network boot. If your WDS PXE has been set up on your network, the VM will now see this thanks for the bridged network connection and should allow you to image with your WDS image.
That should be that.

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