Active Directory/Documentation/WDS/Using WDS with WolfPrep
This page documents the information necessary to use Windows Deployment Services in conjunction with WolfPrep. WDS is not a complete replacement for WolfPrep, however: WDS can at most replace only the distribution mechanism for WolfPrep. WolfPrep and its scripts are still necessary for managing patches, installation drivers, the Novell environment, etc.
The biggest reason to use WDS for deploying WolfPrep images is that driver support should be easier to work with. With WolfPrep, new network hardware requires an upgraded Linux driver, which may or may not be available. WDS makes use of Windows Vista drivers, so the problem of obtaining Linux drivers for the network hardware no longer exists.
Another advantage of using WDS for WolfPrep deployments is the provision for upgrades. WolfPrep is currently limited to the Windows XP operating system. WDS has native support for deploying Windows Vista, Server 2008, and 7. When you are ready to upgrade from Windows XP, the deployment mechanism is already in place.
To use WDS as a replacement distribution mechanism, a WolfPrep image must first be created in a form that WDS can deploy to other computers. The overall process is as follows:
- Build a normal WolfPrep installation on a reference computer
- Sysprep the reference computer, using the OIT sysprep config and batch files
- Create the WDS image
- Use WDS to deploy the image to target computer(s)
- Sysprep factory mode runs on the target computer
- Sysprep runs on the target computer
- The WolfPrep scripting phase executes on the target computer
- The target computer reboots
- The target computer is now a normal WolfPrep installation
The biggest caveat to using WDS as a distribution mechanism is that WDS must have driver support for your network card in its boot image (the operating environment it uses to deploy the install image). WolfPrep has a long history of driver support for all sorts of hardware. WDS must support your network card in order to use the boot image to deploy an install image, but the WolfPrep driver support for other hardware types should still exist, internally within the install image you create.
Another caveat is that your image will be dependent upon the HAL type of the reference computer. So, if you use an older single core, single processor system without Hyperthreading, your image will have a uniprocessor HAL. If you use a newer dual core system to deploy onto, the new system will not see the uniprocessor HAL on the image listing. The opposite also applies - building on a multiple core, multiple processor, or Hyperthreaded reference computer means that your older single core, single processor systems will not see the multiprocessor HAL image. This caveat is true in general for Windows XP deployments using WDS - they are HAL-dependent.
A third issue arises in the image build process. The normal tools for building a .wim image may or may not work with the WolfPrep system, in which case you have to use a command-line tool called ImageX. If you run into this issue, post about it on the email@example.com email list, and you'll be assisted in generating the image.