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Windows Deployment Services (WDS) Troubleshooting

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PART 1

 

 

To be able to troubleshoot the Windows Deployment Services, it is crucial to first understand the overall WDS architecture, since you can activate logging at most levels in the architecture.

 

Understanding the WDS Architecture

 

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WDS Server Service

 

The WDSServer service is the main server-side service for Windows Deployment Services. It provides basic service functions such as memory management, thread pooling, and network interface binding in an effort to support its hosted subcomponents, known as providers. The providers provide the true functionality associated with WDSServer. There are five providers included with the default (Deployment Server) installation:

 

* PXE provider

* PXE server

* Image server

* Multicast server

* TFTP server

 

WDS PXE Server

 

The Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) server is used by Windows Deployment Services to provide network boot programs to client computers. PXE technology is a standard created by Intel that establishes a common and consistent set of pre-boot services within the boot firmware. The end goal is to enable a client to perform a network boot and receive a network boot program (NBP) from a network boot server.

 

WDS PXE Provider

 

The Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) provider for Windows Deployment Services provides client boot services over the network. It registers itself with the WDSServer service (the main server-side service of the Windows Deployment Services solution) and requests a remote procedure call (RPC) endpoint.

 

PXE technology is a standard created by Intel that establishes a common and consistent set of pre-boot services within the boot firmware. The end goal is to enable a client to perform a network boot and receive a network boot program (NBP) from a network boot server.

 

WDS Image Server

 

The Windows Deployment Services image server stores and maintains the installation and boot images. The image server is the module used by the Windows Deployment Services client when it is communicating with the server. The server registers a remote procedure call (RPC) endpoint for communication between the client and the server.

 

WDS Multicast Server

 

The multicast server deploys an image to a large number of client computers concurrently without overburdening the network. When you create a multicast transmission for an image, the data is sent over the network only once, which can drastically reduce the network bandwidth that is used.

 

WDS Multicast Content Provider

 

The multicast server uses a content provider to transmit the data from the server to the client. The Windows Deployment Services content provider can transfer any file over a multicast transmission. This content provider connects the multicast transmission or namespace to the data that has been requested by clients.

 

WDS TFTP Server

 

You use the Windows Deployment Services Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) server to download the files that are needed to do a network boot using the Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE). PXE technology is a standard created by Intel that establishes a common and consistent set of pre-boot services within the boot firmware. The end goal is to enable a client to do a network boot and receive a network boot program (NBP) from a network boot server.

 

The TFTP server downloads boot files such as Pxeboot.com, Wdsnbp.com, Bootmgr.exe, and Default.bcd, as well as the boot image that contains Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE).

 

 

Related reading:

 

* Technet - Windows Deployment Services Server Components

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PART 2

 

 

To be able to troubleshoot the Windows Deployment Services, it is crucial to first understand the overall WDS architecture, since you can activate logging at most levels in the architecture. We did that in previous post.

 

The second step, is drilling down into these components and their logging/debugging facilities.

Looking at WDS Configuration

 

To get a quick overview of your current WDS configuration, type the following command:

 

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For more information, read Part 1 post.

 

Looking at WDS Eventlogs

 

If the multicast transmission still start automatically too soon, I suggest enabling logging for WDS Events:

 

1. Open Server Manager

2. Select Diagnostics -> Event Viewer -> Applications and Services Logs

3. Navigate to Microsoft\Deployment-Services-Diagnostics

4. Right-click the Admin log and choose Enable log

5. Right-click the Operational log and choose Enable log

 

Reproduce the issue and check the event logs.

 

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Related reading:

* KB936625 - How to enable logging in Windows Deployment Services (WDS) in Windows Server 2003 and in Windows Server 2008 (R2)

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* TechNet TechCenter - Troubleshooting WDS Performance Problems

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