Managing Images

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

You can manage Windows images by using the Windows Deployment Services snap-in or by using WDSUTIL at a command prompt. For more information about using the management tools, see To view the properties of an image right-click the image, and then click Properties. Alternatively, you can run the following command where <ImageName> is the name of the image, <ImageType> is boot or install and <Arch> is x86 or x64:

WDSUTIL.exe /Get-Image /Image:<ImageName> /ImageType:<ImageType> /Architecture:<Arch>

Image types

The main image types used in Windows Deployment Services are install images and boot images.

Image type Description

Install images

Install images are the operating system images that you deploy to the client computer. You can use the default install image (install.wim) located in the \Sources directory on the Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 DVDs.

In addition, you can build custom install images from reference computers and deploy them to client computers. First, you boot a computer (which has been prepared with Sysprep) into a capture image, then the capture image creates an install image of the computer.

Boot images

Boot images are the images that you boot a client computer into before installing the operating system image. The boot image presents a boot menu that contains the images that users can install onto their computers. These images contain Windows PE 2.0 and the Windows Deployment Services client. You can use the default boot image (boot.wim) that is included in the \Sources directory of the Windows Server 2008 installation media. Except in advanced scenarios (for example, if you need to add drivers to the image), you will not need to modify this file.

You should use only the boot.wim file from the Windows Server 2008 DVD. If you use the boot.wim file from the Windows Vista DVD, you will not be able to use the full functionality of Windows Deployment Services (for example, multicasting).

In addition, there are two types of images that you can create from boot images: capture images and discover images.

  • Capture images. Capture images are boot images that launch the Windows Deployment Services Capture Utility instead of Setup. When you boot a reference computer (that has been prepared with Sysprep) into a capture image, a wizard creates an install image of the reference computer and saves it as a .wim file. You can also create media (such as a CD, DVD, or USB drive) that contains a capture image, and then boot a computer from the media. After you create the install image, you can add the image to the server for PXE boot deployment. These images provide an alternative to the command-line utility, ImageX.exe.

  • Discover images. Discover images are boot images that force Setup.exe to launch in Windows Deployment Services mode and then discover a Windows Deployment Services server. These images are typically used to deploy images to computers that are not PXE enabled or that are on networks that do not allow PXE.

    When you create a discover image and save it to media (such as a CD, DVD, or USB drive), you can then boot a computer to the media. The discover image on the media locates a Windows Deployment Services server, and the server deploys the install image to the computer.

    > [!NOTE] > You can configure discover images to target a specific Windows Deployment Services server. This means that if you have multiple servers in your environment, you can create a discover image for each, and then name them based on the name of the server.

Image groups

An image group is a collection of .wim files that share common file resources and security. Servicing an image within an image group (such as applying a hotfix or a service pack or updating files) requires exclusive access to the entire image group. File resources are shared across the image group (single-instanced) even though the metadata of each image resides in a separate physical .wim file. Image groups contain two file types:

  • Res.rwm. Contains the file streams for images as defined in Install.wim, Install2.wim, and WinXP.wim. Note that each image group has its own Res.rwm file.

  • Install.wim. Contains image metadata that describes the content of an operating system image. The actual file resources for the image reside in Res.rwm.

Each image group will have a Res.rwm file created when the first image is added to the image group. All resources for all files reside in Res.rwm. The Res.rwm file is a .wim file that is renamed to differentiate the resource-only .wim file from the metadata .wim files and to speed up image enumeration. Because image enumeration only works on .wim files, the Res.rwm file will be skipped.

The .wim file format uses single-instancing technology, so the disk storage requirements for images within an image group are significantly reduced.

Additional references