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Guide: how can I capture an Image using WDS


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The original guide is here with screenshots included.

This guide assumes you have already setup WDS as described here

Part 1 - add boot.wim to WDS

Step 1. Get your Windows Vista DVD ready (MSDN version/select version, do NOT use an OEM version for this)

Step 2. Insert the DVD and start WDS (windows deployment services) gui.

Step 3. In the Left Pane of WDS, select boot images

Step 4. In the Right Pane, right click the mouse and choose 'Add Boot Image'.

Step 5. In the Add Image Wizard, click the Browse button and browse to the Sources folder on your Vista DVD that you inserted in Step 2.

Step 6. Highlight the file called boot.wim and click Open, once done Click Next

Step 7. In the next window, set the Image name from "Microsoft Windows Longhorn Setup (x86)" to 'Windows Vista Setup-Capture'

Step 8. Change the image description to 'Capture Windows Vista'

Step 9. Click next to review the settings, and next again to proceed.

Step 10. After the file copying is complete click on Finish.

Edited by anyweb
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Part 2 - create Capture file

Step 1. Highlight the 'Windows Vista Setup-Capture' image name in the right pane of the WDS gui (this is the image you just created in Part 1 above).

Step 2. Right-click on it, and choose Create Capture Boot Image

Step 3. In the next Windows (capture image metadata) leave the Image Name and Image Descriptions alone, and click on the Browse button.

Step 4. Browse to the RemoteInstall\Boot\X86\Images folder (or X64 if using X64), this folder is part of the original WDS setup.

Step 5. Give the filename you are about to create a name eg: RemoteInstall\Boot\X86\Images\windows-noob_capture and click open, then click next, the wizard will auto append .WIM to the filename.

Step 6. The wizard will now start to extract the image from the source image file. Once it is complete, click Finish.

Part 2a - add Capture file to WDS

Step 1. In WDS, select Boot Images in the left pane.

Step 3. in the Right Pane, right-click and choose 'Add Boot Image'

Step 4. In the add image file window, browse to RemoteInstall\Boot\X86\Images and select the capture file you created above, click open and then next.

Step 5. set the Image name to 'Windows Vista capture' and the Image description to 'Capture Windows Vista', click next.

Step 6. Review the choices and click next to add this capture boot image.

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Part 3 - PXE boot target computer and capture image

Step 1. Ensure that PXE boot is enabled in boot sequence, and PXE boot to the WDS server.

Step 2. In the Windows Boot Manager Menu, select Windows Vista Setup-Capture from the available options.

Step 3. After Windows PE has booted, you will see a welcome screen which says 'Welcome to the Windows Deployment Services Image Capture Wizard'. Click next to begin.

Step 4. Image capture source:

There are three options here, Volume to capture, Image name, and image description. If the Volume to Capture drop down menu appears blank (ie: you can't select anything) then verify that you have Sysprepped the image you are trying to capture. If you need to sysprep the machine then read this guide and return to part 3 when ready.

For Volume to Capture, select C:\ from the drop down menu (will not be present unless you have SYSPREPPED)

For Image Name call it 'Windows Vista Ultimate Capture' (if you are capturing Windows XP, change accordingly)

For Image Description, enter 'This is a capture of Sysprepped Windows Vista Ultimate on <insert hardware name here>'

Step 5. Image Capture Destination:

Here you have the possibility of storing the image on a drive (local) by choosing Name and Location, and clicking Browse and giving the image a filename, the wizard will auto-append .wim to the file name eg: c:\test_capture.wim.

Next you want to upload the image directly to your WDS server by putting a check mark in the 'Upload Image to WDS server' option, you will have to provide the servername (or use the ip address eg: and then click on the connect button. After some moments you'll be prompted with a username/password prompt for connecting to the server. I entered Administrator as the user and entered the correct password and selected 'remember my password', followed by 'ok'. If you do not get prompted for username/password and it complains about not finding the server then read here.

Once you have successfully connected to the server you may get an error which states:-

"There is no image group on the WDS server ''. Please use WDS Management to create an image group."

If you do not get this error, skip to Step 6.

To resolve this error simply go back into the WDS management gui, and select 'Install Images' in the left pane. In the right pane that opens, right-click your mouse and choose 'Add Image Group'. Give this group the name 'captured images' and retry the above step (5).

Step 6. you will now see the 'Image Group Name' option on the Windows Deployment Services Image Capture Wizard allows you to drop down the menu, and from here you can select the captured images group you created above.

Step 7. Click Finish to continue (and capture the image). The image capture wizard will start capturing the image and you'll see a 'Percent Complete: x%' dialogue box.

Step 8. After a fairly long while of file copying, Click Close to conclude the image capture process, congratulations you've captured an image using WDS !

If everything went well as above, the captured image will have been copied to D:\RemoteInstall\Images\captured images (change the drive letter to match your RemoteInstall drive and obviously the last folder name will change if you use a different image group name), in addition it will be stored locally on the computer you captured the image on (c:\test_capture.wim)

Here are the contents of my captured images folder:-

Directory of D:\RemoteInstall\Images\captured images

11/14/2007 04:08 PM <DIR> .

11/14/2007 04:08 PM <DIR> ..

11/14/2007 04:15 PM 2,485,945,229 Res.RWM

11/14/2007 04:15 PM 2,297,798 test_capture.wim

2 File(s) 2,488,243,027 bytes

2 Dir(s) 11,278,798,848 bytes free

Please note, that at this point Windows PE will exit and the computer will reboot, if you don't want it to boot into sysprep then you'll have to be quick and turn it off at the bios screen.

At this point you will probably want to Deploy the captured image, to find out how you can do that read this post.

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  • 1 year later...

I need to be able to deploy an OEM version of WinXP Pro through WDS 2008. The problem is that when booted into WinPE to capture the sysprepped system, the drop down menu is empty when I try to capture an OEM system. This problem does not occur when I try to capture a VLK system.

I found this MS article which states that MS don't support sysprepping an OEM system.

How can I get around this problem and deploy an OEM XP image through WDS 2008? This is so annoying...

Edited by Gantlett
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