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How To Add Windows Install Images To WDS (Windows Deployment Services) On Server 2012 R2

If you read my post on “How To Install WDS (Windows Deployment Services) on Windows Server 2012 R2.” you might be at a point where you have a WDS server set up, but you don’t have any Windows images loaded to install anything. Or, you might be having issues adding images to your WDS server. Either way, I’m here to help.

How to add images to WDS

Open up Windows Deployment Services by selecting it from the Tools menu on Server Management.

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If you have an ISO for Windows 7, Windows 8, Server 2008, or Server 2012, you’ll want to extract it using a tool like WinRAR, and move it over to your WDS server or make sure it’s available via a network share. If you are using a physical server and you have a CD ROM, you can put the OS installation CD in the drive as an alternative if you like. I prefer working with images.

There are two files we will need to add your first image. These are.

  • boot.wim – this is the Windows boot image
  • install.wim – this is the actual installation image


Both of these files can be found in the “sources” folder on a Windows installation disc, or extracted .ISO. We will first assume you we are adding a Windows 7 boot image and installation image.

First, we need to add a boot image to the WDS server. Right click on Boot Images and select Add Boot Image. Navigate to the folder you extracted the Windows 7 installation disc to (or navigate to your cd drive), select the sources folder, then select boot.wim.

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You can click next all the way through until it’s finished. The defaults are usually fine.

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Once you have an x64 or x86 (32bit) boot image added, we can add an installation image. Like you did with the boot image, right click on Install Images and select Add Install Image.

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Enter a name, then select the install.wim file in the sources folder of your extracted ISO.

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On the next page, you will see all the versions of Windows that can be installed from that install.wim (usually all versions). Leave them all selected unless you need to choose otherwise. Go through the rest of the prompts and click finish.

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When the image is finished being added, it will now show up as an installation option when you boot from network. Like this.

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When the network boot rom is selected as the boot source in your computers BIOS, and you hit F12 when prompted, you will boot the WDS server.

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That’s it. If you have any questions, please post in the comments below. Thanks!