Syed Jahanzaib Personal Blog to Share Knowledge !

April 27, 2012

Windows Deployment Services (WDS) / Short Reference Notes

Following are short reference notes , I worked on WDS long time ago, recently I was assigned to deploy WDS in my company.It took some time to recall old memories, So this time I took short notes on how I manage to did some Advance configuration of WDS by integrating Acronis / Winternals ERD Commander 2007 / Win 7 / WinXP, Injecting Drivers on xp/win7.

Added: 10-March-2021

PXE-E16: No offer received

Today we received new laptops for field force staff. Upon booting them va network boot (WDS) all of them showed following error

PXE-E16: No offer received

after hour long R&D, it found out that our WDS was not patched with latest patches therefore it was a known bug. Supposedly fixed in the June updates.

As a workaround / quick remedy we did following & the client got booted instantly

  • Open WDS console In the WDS server in the left pane and open Properties
  • Select the TFTP tab and uncheck Enable Variable Windows Extension

More Information: June 19 rollup

Addresses an issue that may prevent the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) from starting a device from a Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server configured to use Variable Window Extension. This may cause the connection to the WDS server to terminate prematurely while downloading the image. This issue does not affect clients or devices that are not using Variable Window Extension.


If WDS and DHCP Server are NOT on same machine, Use the following Setting to inform client from which server to boot.


After configuring WDS, you may get following error while trying to boot from Network.

Solution : You have to configure boot ROM in WDS console to tell Client which boot ROM file to use.

Note: & Boot ROM files can found at this location


# is suitable if you have only legacy images on your WDS Server.
# is suitable if you have both legacy WinXP/ERD/Acronis and Windows 7 images configured on your WDS Server.

TIP: You can also use startrom.n12 & pxeboot.n12 If you want to directly boot to WDS skipping F12.

Howto Add Drivers in XP Image (Legacy)

First create following folder structure


in your Windows XP RIS image location e.g:


Copy your network card driver here. (in drivers folder)

Now open unattended file like winnt.sif or ristndrd.sif in notepad
(Depend on your deployment structure)


Add following lines in [Unattended] section


Make sure there are no duplications.
Restart WDS Service.

Adding ERD COMMANDER 2007 in WDS

Simply Add Windows 2003 Standard Edition  from WDS Legacy Console,
Now Copy I386 folder from ERD folder to WDS windows 2003  image folder. If it asks for Overwrite , Select Yes.
Now  add the /minint synatx in this file


OsLoadOptions = “/noguiboot /fastdetect /minint”

To add driver in ERD Commander, copy your network driver in
(I don’t know the exact path, so copy it in all possible folder, some1 please point which exactly should these files be pasted in, i guess only system32 is enough)


Add Win7 Boot Image:

Following is an excellent guide on howto add Windows 7 Boot Image in WDS

Add Drivers in Windows 7 Boot Image:

First copy boot.wim from windows 7 CD to your desktop.
Now we have to mount this image in any temporarily directory,
Then add drivers, then commit change,
Now dismount this image,
Now copy it to any folder in WDS server,
From wds console, replace current boot image with this new image. The traditional way is to use the DISM tool provided with your win7/vista, but the easiest way to do is to use 3rd party GUI tool (Free edition).

Download DISM GUI tool from

Mr Jinje DISM Tool™

Now first copy the boot.wim from the wds server or from the windows 7 dvd from \sources\ folder.
Now open the Jinje DISM Tool, Click on MOUNT WIM, select boot.wim , and mount it in any temp folder, e.g: c:\wds_temp_mount_dir
Now Click ADD DRIVERS, point it to folder where your windows 7 drivers are located. It will auto add it to boot.wim.
Now Click on COMMIT WIM, it will write changes to this boot.wim
Now click on DIS-MOUNT WIM.

Copy this updated boot.wim to wds temporarily directory.
From WDS Console, replace current boot image with your newly updated image you copied in temp folder of wds.


Final ~ Screenshots 🙂 <WDS running in Mixed Mode>




Boot image disappear from Menu / List after adding network driver [26th Febraury, 2013]

Recently (26th Feb 2013) we receive new range of HP PROBOOK 4540s series. When I tried to inject drivers in boot wim and replace previous wds boot image with this new one, it disappeared after refresh and it didn’t showed up in the pxe boot menu. I tried several ways and different drivers set including x86 and 64bit, but no use.
Finaly I made it. When adding drivers via DISM, selected INDEX 2 while mounting the WIM image Because most drivers get deposited in the 2nd index

Side NOTES for WDS:

Some Client PC’s are unable to receive ip from DHCP Server:

Some clients / LAN cards are unable to get ip’s from DHCP Server. Timeout occurs.
Possible causes:

1#)  If you are using managed switches, you probably have STP (Spanning tree protocol) enabled. This will cause a small delay with the WDS/RIS handshaking process. If you find that you have STP enabled, do the following to make RIS respond.

When you see the screen


Press the ‘Pause/Break’ key on , wait about 10-15 seconds and then press ENTER, Your client will be able to get the ip from DHCP Server.

2#  If you have WDS running on a Domain Controller with DHCP also running. There is a workaround which microsoft provides in detail.

I suffered this issue and was really exhausted with this issue 🙂 then google came to rescue me 🙂
Syed Jahanzaib

How can I CAPTURE an Image using WDS image capture
WIN_PE Related
If you get x0x0x03fb error
change the WAIK version.

(The right version of WAIK that worked :D for me was  6001.18000.080118-1840-kb3aikl_en.iso )

WDS deploying VISTA : If you are testing it in VMWARE, you will receive error that the wdsclient is unable to find the matching drivers. please read the following links.


WDS: error running wds in legacy mode.
use this command.

wdsutil.exe /Uninitialize

Encountered problem during Dell Optiplex GX280 NIC in RIS

TIP [10 January 2018]

I tried to add drivers in the boot wim file for HP Elitedesk 800 G3, but the driver was not detecting. After a full day irritation, I found out that I was trying to add the 64bit drivers to the 32bit WIM file. Grrrrrr it took a full day research for this awful pity mistake !

Unable to initialize WDS mode

added 29-June-2022

When booting one of HP PROBOOK g5 via WDS, and selecting boot image, it shows unable to initialize wds mode.

Solution was to download the relevant network adapter drivers from HP Site, extract it in some folder, and on WDS, add the drivers to BOOT image.

Youtube Video Tutorial on Howto add drivers in WDS




1 Comment »

  1. sir,
    my windows deployement server.(using microsoft deployement toolkit) server is
    i am using mikrotik hotspot network
    how can i implement wds through mikrotik dhcp and hotspot?
    please help me.


    Comment by naveen — April 8, 2015 @ 10:26 PM

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