WDS PXE Provider

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

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.


The following is a list of all aspects that are part of this managed entity:

Name Description

Active Directory Integration

Windows Deployment Services depends on Active Directory Domain Services for various functions. The Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) provider creates machine accounts and service control points (SCPs) in Active Directory. An SCP is a child object under a Windows Deployment Services server account object, and it is used to store configuration data for the server. For example, an SCP can mark the server as a Windows Deployment Services server so that other Windows Deployment Services servers can find it.

Auto-Add Devices Database

The Auto-Add Devices database enables you to add computer accounts to Active Directory Domain Services automatically. You will find this database in the \RemoteInstall\Mgmt folder (by default, the RemoteInstall folder is located on drive C). The database is created by the Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) provider the first time you enable the Auto-Add functionality (using either the MMC snap-in or the /AutoAddPolicy command-line option). All computers in the pending queue are represented as an entry in the database on the Windows Deployment Services server.

BCD File Access and Creation

Each boot image is represented in the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store as an available boot loader option. The BCD store contains boot configuration parameters and controls how the operating system is started in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 operating systems. These parameters were previously in the Boot.ini file (in BIOS-based operating systems) or in the nonvolatile RAM (NVRAM) entries (in Extensible Firmware Interface–based operating systems).

Each boot image on the Windows Deployment Services server has a corresponding BCD file that contains a Boot Loader entry. The entry describes how to boot that particular operating system image. The BCD file contains information such as the boot device (RAMDISK), the image name (obtained from the .wim metadata), the detect HAL option, and the operating system type (Windows PE).

PXE Provider Initial Configuration

After the Windows Deployment Services server role is installed, you must configure the server by using either the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in or the /Initialize-Server command-line option. The PXE provider must be configured properly before it can provide client boot services over the network.

Windows Deployment Services