Tag Archives: Microsoft

Windows Deployment Services (WDS): Boot Image Changes Not Happening For You?


We use Windows Deployment Services (WDS) at work. There is a lot I really like about this deployment solution but there are a few things here and there that I wish were a little different. More specifically, how the system deals with boot image changes. It’s easy to forget that when you update your deployment share you still need to remember to copy your new boot image into your actual remoteInstall share PXE uses to pull the image. Otherwise your changes won’t be seen by PXE clients.

We started purchasing new Dell Latitude E6420 laptops to add to our fleet and as with any new computer model you wish to deploy Windows to via WDS, you need to obtain the driver cab file from the manufacturer to add the appropriate drivers into your WDS boot image. I added the drivers as usual to the Out of box drivers section of the deployment share, updated the share to rebuild the boot image and boot it up of PXE but Windows setup kept complaining that there was no driver present for the network adapter to continue. As it had been a while since I had to update anything in my WDS I had completely forgotten to move my new boot image into the right path for PXE to pick up. “Why haven’t my changes updated in the image during the update of the share”? Well, they had, I just wasn’t booting the right image.

When you update your deployment share, The deployment workbench typically creates/update the boot image stored in DeploymentShare\Boot but PXE pulls the boot image from WDS from here \\server\remoteInstall\boot\x64\images\<imagename.wim>.

So, to have workstations pull the correct image to apply you simply need to make sure you’ve copied the latest boot image with all your changes into your WDS set-up. You can manually copy/paste the new boot image over the old one using the paths above, or you can use the Windows Deployment Services snap-in to do the same job.

Open the deployment snap-in (%windir%\system32\WdsMgmt.msc) and:

  1. Expand your server and click ‘Boot Images’ to see a list of your boot images
  2. Right-click ‘Boot Images’ and select ‘Add Boot Image’
  3. Browse to the deployment share boot image directory (DeploymentShare\Boot). Click Next
  4. Give your boot image a name and description. Click Next
  5. Check the summary and click next to add the new boot image to your deployment server.
If you only have 1 image like I did you’ll now see 2 different boot images. If you don’t want to see a boot selection screen when you boot your machines off PXE, just right-click a boot image and select disable so its not used.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that when you update your deployment share with boot image changes (drivers, application selections, etc) they will take effect immediately but computers won’t start using the new boot image until you’ve added it to your WDS server for PXE to grab. You would need to remember to do this each time you add new drivers, make application install changes, make any changes to deployment rules (bootstrap.ini), etc.

Windows 8 Revealed


Today Microsoft has revealed for the first time information around its upcoming windows released codenamed “Windows 8”. Whether or not this will be the actual release name I don’t know, but Microsoft has been pretty quiet over the last couple of years surrounding what the successor to Windows 7 would look like, what direction it’s likely to head in and whether it will give in to the flood of “apps” in various other platforms (iOS, android, etc).

Some of the areas around the new UI covered in the video above are:

  • Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps.
  • Live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps.
  • Fluid, natural switching between running apps.
  • Convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, so you can really multitask using the capabilities of Windows.
  • Web-connected and Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC.
  • Fully touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10.
As usual, Paul Thurrott @ the Supersite for Windows blog does a great job outlining all the new stuff shown off. Paul used to work for Microsoft about 10 years ago, since then he’s created the Supersite and is very active in many other¬†endeavors. If you’ve never heard of him and are interested in Microsoft and technology you should check it out.

You can learn more about Windows 8 over at Microsoft.com Previewing Windows 8.

Windows 7 New Features Revealed


windows7

For those of you who don’t know, Microsoft will release a new version of their flagship OS in the coming year: Windows 7. There have been a number of new features released to the public over the last few months, and personally I’m kind of looking forward to what Microsoft come up with (after all, Vista wasn’t exactly the best OS they’ve produced). So, I thought I’d share with you some of the more interesting new features of Windows 7 that wil hopefully improve upon Windows Vista’s (many) shortcomings:

Pin Items To The Taskbar:

Windows 7 will give you the ability to ‘pin’ shortcuts to your taskbar kind of like how the dock works in MacOS X. In windows operating systems, you’ve always been able to do something similar with the use of the ‘quick launch’ toolbar which can be appended to the taskbar to give a similar affect, however with this new function the quick launch toolbar must be disabled to be able to pin items to the taskbar itself.

User Account Control (UAC) Makeover:

Thank God! UAC has had an overhaul in Windows 7. Users of Windows Vista will no doubt be very familiar with message popups asking your permission to carry out certain tasks (“Are you sure you’re sure?)…You will now have the ability to adjust which notifications and prompts you recieve for specific actions while not reducing the overall security of the OS. Interesting!

Faster Startup Times:

One of the major benefits of Windows 7 will be faster startup times. Microsoft have put alot of work into improving the startup times of their OS, partly due to competing products leading the way in this area. It has been noted that the startup times of Windows 7 will be faster than that of Windows Vista and XP.

As a developer who works primarily in windows application development, I’m looking forward to a new OS from Microsoft that has the stability, reliability and performance of XP, with added security that Vista provided, in a neater package. I’m hoping Windows 7 will be a more rounded and overall better product than Vista, so I’m really looking forward to what they come up with.

Based on poor vista sales and Microsoft’s previous release strategies with underperforming OS’s (and Microsoft themselves saying it would take 3 years to develop W7) I’d be expecting to see an almost finished build sometime this year, with a possible retail release date end of 2009.