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Ingo-6609 avatar image
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Ingo-6609 asked AxelBttcher-4821 answered

Windows 11 deployment via WDS

Hi,

I added a boot.wim and install.wim of the current Windows 11 Insider ISO to a WDS server. When I netboot a client, it will load the boot.wim and show an error message that WDS is not supported with this Windows version anymore. There is a link to aka.ms/WDSSupport but that page says nothing about Windows 11.

I have tried server 2019 and 2022, but same error message on both.

When I switch the boot.wim to a Windows 10 file, it will successfully boot and also use the Windows 11 install.wim.
Is this a bug or is Microsoft really suddenly no longer supporting WDS?

Thx, Ingo

windows-11windows-server-setup
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LeonLaude avatar image
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LeonLaude answered Ingo-6609 commented

Hi @Ingo-6609,

I did some testing in my lab that consists of a Windows Server 2019 virtual machine with the Windows Deployment Services (WDS) role installed.

I added the Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2022 and Windows 11 images to my WDS environment, the images went in just fine.
I then created a three (3) new virtual machines and PxE booted and used the Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2022 and Windows 11 images and they installed nicely without any issues.

Perhaps there is something corrupt with your images? Anyhow, it's safe to say that WDS does work with Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2022 and Windows 11.


If the reply was helpful please don't forget to upvote and/or accept as answer, thank you!


Best regards,
Leon

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Thank you for testing this.

The images itself are okay.

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LimitlessTechnology-2700 avatar image
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LimitlessTechnology-2700 answered Ingo-6609 commented

Hello @Ingo-6609 ,

Windows 11 deployment should work fine from WDS in Windows Server 2019 and 2022, besides the option of a problematic boot.wim file, I need to ask:

Are this computers somehow aged or they don't have TPM 2.0 or SecureBoot? I had the same issue with some computers with "legacy" BIOS and the was to resolve it was exactly to replace the boot.wim for a Windows 10.

There is another workaround we discovered later, in order to not change all our deployment sequences, which is to bypass some of the TPM checks during upgrade on a installed Windows 10 machine and can help you to determine if the issue is the "legacy BIOS" or if the boot.wim file has an issue.

on the registry of the client to be deployed:
path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup
1. Create new Key with name: LabConfig
2. Create new DWORD (32bit) with value= 1:
BypassTPMCheck
BypassSecureBootCheck
3 reboot and install. Now the Windows 11 boot.wim should work well.

hope it helps!!

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Thank you. The tested systems have a TPM 2.0 and are configured for UEFI and SecureBoot is also enabled.
But the CPU's are two generations older than those Microsoft want's me to use. So this really may be an issue. At the moment I don't have a newer machine here, since the homeoffice test machines are a bit limited. Normally I test deployments on older machines first. Using registry keys to bypass limitations may be an idea for a home environment, but I'll not try this for enterprise deployments. ;-) I have to test this on a newer machine when I am back in the office.

I would have expected an error message that tells me I run unsupported hardware instead of some message telling me WDS is no longer available.

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Reza-Ameri avatar image
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Reza-Ameri answered

Like everyone mentioned, deployment should work as expected , however you have to make sure you download the Windows installer file from official Microsoft website.
Try file a bug report using Feedback Hub app in Windows 11 or Windows 10 and submit all log files and explain steps you have followed so far.

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greg-msft avatar image
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greg-msft answered Ingo-6609 commented

You can't deploy Windows 11 using WDS only. This is a deprecated feature. Specifically, you can't use boot.wim from Windows 11 media. You must use a custom boot.wim such as Lite Touch boot image.

https://docs.microsoft.com/windows-server/get-started/removed-deprecated-features-windows-server-2022#features-were-no-longer-developing

I have more about this change coming soon. Bottom line is that you can't deploy Windows 11 with WDS only. You can PXE boot with Windows 11 boot.wim but you can't then run Windows Setup.

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Oh! :-/

This is not good news. In fact, this is horror!
We use WDS for a company wide installation services. So WDS will still be there, but it just won't work with Windows 11 boot.wim? But when I use SCCM, which again uses WDS, then this will work? This sounds like a really strange decision. So all the features are there, everything works like before, everything could run like it does successfully for years, but Microsoft says "no", just because they can? WHY?

Interestingly the german translation of the article that I see by default, does not even show this paragraph about WDS. When I switch to English, it is suddenly shown.

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The article is very recent and hasn't gone through translation yet to German, or any other language/localization than "en-us".

Configuration Manager, MDT, and other tools will work fine to deploy Windows 11. The only thing that doesn't work is end-to-end Windows 11 deployment using only WDS i.e. PXE boot using boot.wim from Windows 11 media and then run Windows Setup.

Configuration Manager has a built-in PXE service so you shouldn't need WDS there. Why are you using it with Config Mgr?

IThe reason that I'm given is that other tools are much better. It's fairly easy to create a boot image with MDT. Have you considered this?

-Greg

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Yes, I understand this. But why? WDS is the by far easiest way to deploy Windows. It has been successfully used for years, the procedures and scripts are tested and working and I just don't understand why someone would stop this. Nobody wins anything by crippling this feature. So...why??

We don't use ConfigMgr for OS Deployment at all. It may also be easy to create some image via MDT, I never tested this. Until now it was just easier to just take the default Windows images. I run a script that takes the default image, imports settings, wallpapers, needed language packs and other stuff and then the wim files are being pushed to a share and automatically deployed to all WDS servers worldwide. Adding a new Windows build is something done in a few minutes just by copying a new iso to the build source folder.

So did I consider using MDT? No, of course I did not consider this, because the current way was working. I have to consider this now, because Microsoft forces me to. Will cost a lot of time (and money) to change all the procedures. Therefore I asked for the reasons. Because for me it looks like a change that doesn't make any sense.

First the Windows 11 hardware requirements, now a completely senseless change in the installation process. Microsoft does not really make it easy for their customers at the moment...

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greg-msft avatar image
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greg-msft answered

Here is the more detailed article that covers all the scenarios and changes to WDS
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/wds-boot-support

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AxelBttcher-4821 avatar image
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AxelBttcher-4821 answered

This is really ridiculous.
WDS works great, why would they shut down such an easy feature? For small companies and Admin departments that have alot other stuff to do than study deployment methods and buy SystemCenter products all the time, this is really a hit.

Can someone provide a modified boot.wim that simply lets us capture and install Windows 11 again?

I tried to understand Lite Touch and MDT for SCCM but I don't have any of the prequesities. I have WDS. Which is good and works just fine. I don't have the time to re-learn and re-build this whole setup for our 80 pple. Especially not since I am alone and am needed elsewhere.

Microsoft, WHY?

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