Deploying a Windows OS via WADS

WAPT Enterprise feature only

Deployment process

  1. Using BIOS/UEFI:

  • the host makes a DHCP request to obtain an IP and the PXE configuration (TFTP server IP & iPXE file name), or

  • the host boots from a USB stick which embeds the PXE configuration

  1. Using BIOS/UEFI:

  • the host makes a TFTP request to get iPXE and her configuration, or

  • the host runs the iPXE configuration from the USB stick.

  1. Then, using iPXE, the host makes a HTTPS request to the WADS Server to obtain the BCD and the WinPE file.

  2. Finally, using WinPE, the host contacts the WADS Server via HTTP to obtain the OS iso file and its associated configuration files.

Requirements before starting

  1. To use WADS on your WAPT Console, you need to install a specific package on your management station.

Two packages are available, only one is needed. Choose according to your needs:

  • This package integrates the minimal requirements for creating a WinPE file.

  • This package installs Windows ADK, all the tools to create and modify WinPE.

  1. As of 2022-11-18, the user account using the WADS Console MUST have Local Administrator rights in the WAPT Access Control Lists.

  2. Signing WADS with your certificate:

  • Go to the Tools ‣ Sign Deploy Exe.

Tools menu in the WAPT Console
  • Click on the Sign button:

Window for signing binaries in the WAPT Console

Window for signing binaries in the WAPT Console

  1. Go to the OS Deploy tab:

Main window of the WADS Console

Main window of the WADS Console

Adding the WinPE files

WinPE is a minimal operating system used to install, deploy, and repair Windows.

On WADS, WinPE is used to bootstrap the deployment of Windows.

  • If no WinPE file exists, then this pop-up will appear.

Dialog box informing to upload a WinPE file in the WADS Console
  • Then click on Upload WinPE.

  • Choose the keyboard layout. This step is important because you will type in the hostname in WinPE using the keyboard layout chosen with this step.

Dialog box for selecting the keyboard in the WADS Console

Dialog box for selecting the keyboard in the WADS Console

  • Select the certificate with which to sign the USB stick files:

Dailog box for selecting the certificate in the WADS Console

Dailog box for selecting the certificate in the WADS Console

  • Wait while the WinPE file uploads onto the WAPT administration computer:

Loading the WinPE file in the WADS Console
  • Wait while the WinPE file uploads to the WADS Server:

Note

The WinPE file has been successfully uploaded to the WADS Server.

Adding the Operating System ISO

The next step is to add the Operating System .iso file to use for deploying Windows.

  • Use the latest official Windows release from Microsoft as the .iso file.

ISO section of the WADS Console

ISO section of the WADS Console

  • In the Install ISO section in the main WADS Console, click on the + button to upload the selected .iso file.

  • Select the .iso file and give it a name.

Dialog box for selecting the ISO file to upload to the WADS Server

Dialog box for selecting the ISO file to upload to the WADS Server

  • When uploaded, the .iso file is signed with the selected certificate:

Dialog box informing of the signing progression of the ISO file in the WADS Console

Dialog box informing of the signing progression of the ISO file in the WADS Console

  • After the signing step has successfully completed, the .iso file is uploaded to the WADS Server:

Dialog box informing of the uploading progession of the ISO file in the WADS Console

Dialog box informing of the uploading progession of the ISO file in the WADS Console

  • After the uploading step has successfully completed, the .iso file appears in the Install iso section in the main WADS Console:

The ISO file has been successfully added to the WADS repository

Hint

It is possible to upload several .iso versions of Windows for different use cases.

Adding the XML configuration answer file

The next step is to add the XML answer file that will be used to configure the deployment of the Windows Operating System.

XML answer file section of the WADS Console

XML answer file section of the WADS Console

  • In the Configuration section click on the + button to configure the XML answer file.

Window for creating the XML answer configuration file in the WADS Console

Window for creating the XML answer configuration file in the WADS Console

Options for the XML answer file in the WADS Console

Options

Description

Config Name

Defines the name of the XML answer file.

ISO Name

Defines the .iso file to associate to the XML answer file.

Install Wapt

Defines whether to install the WAPT agent after the installation of the Operating System.

Choose XML File

Defines the XML answer files template to use.

Choose Script

Defines a .bat post-install script to be run after the installation of the Operating System.

  • Insert into the Config Name field the name of the XML answer file.

  • Select with the Iso Name dropdown the ISO file to association to the deployment configuration.

  • Check or uncheck the Install WAPT checkbox to install the WAPT Agent by default.

  • Select the XML answer file template to associate to the deployment configuration with the Choose XML File field.

Note

By default, WADS integrate 2 type of answer files:

  • Offline to join a computer with the DirectAccess Offline Domain Join (Djoin) method

  • Online to join a computer on the AD

    • Update this part with your join service account:

    <Identification>
      <Credentials>
        <Domain>mydomain.lan</Domain>
        <Password>password</Password>
        <Username>wadsjoin</Username>
      </Credentials>
      <JoinDomain>mydomain.lan</JoinDomain>
    </Identification>
    

Hint

You can use your own answer file with WADS.

  • If necessary, set the post-install script in Choose Script, for example:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\wapt\wapt-get.exe" install tis-firefox-esr
  • Click on the Create button to create the XML answer file.

  • When done, the configuration appears in the Configuration section.

XML answer file configuration added to the WADS Server in the WADS Console

Hint

It is possible to create several XML answer file configurations for different versions of Windows and for different use cases.

Adding drivers

The next step is to add driver bundles that will be used during the deployment of the Windows Operating System.

Drivers section of the WADS Console

Drivers section of the WADS Console

  • In the Drivers section click on the + button to add a driver pack to the WADS Server.

This window allows you to upload the driver bundles to associate to the Windows deployment.

Window for creating the driver bundles in the WADS Console

Window for creating the driver bundles in the WADS Console

Options for the driver bundles in the WADS Console

Options

Description

Choose Dir

Defines the path to the folder containing the driver bundles.

Name

Defines the name of the driver bundle.

  • Click on the Save button, the uploading of the driver bundles starts.

Dialog box informing the uploading progression of the driver bundles in the WAPT Console

Dialog box informing the uploading progression of the driver bundles in the WAPT Console

  • When uploaded, the drivers pack appears in the Drivers section of the WADS Console.

The drivers pack has been uploaded to the WADS Server

Hint

It is possible to create several driver packs for different versions of Windows and for different use cases.

Note

  • It is possible to use the .cab files from OEM.

  • It is also possibe to export the drivers from an existing well functioning host using a Powershell command.

Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination D:\Drivers

Booting the host to re-image with WADS

WADS allows 2 methods boot the host to re-image:

Booting the host with a USB stick

Note

The USB key used MUST be FAT32 formatted and empty.

  • Insert the USB stick in the WAPT adminsitration workstation and click on the Create WinPE USB Key button to start the process.

  • Choose the keyboard layout. This step is important because you will type in the hostname in WinPE using the keyboard layout chosen with this step.

Dialog box for selecting the keyboard in the WADS Console

Dialog box for selecting the keyboard in the WADS Console

  • Select the certificate with which to sign the USB stick files:

Dailog box for selecting the certificate in the WADS Console

Dailog box for selecting the certificate in the WADS Console

  • Click on the Upload WinPE to format the USB stick and copy the WinPE file.

  • Boot to the computer’s boot menu using the USB stick option and go to the run the deployment step.

Booting the host with the network

Note

Booting from the LAN requires:

  • A properly working TFTP server;

  • A properly working DHCP server;

  • Having port 69 open on the WAPT Server for inbound traffic, and having tftp conntrack enabled on intermediate firewalls if you have firewalls between the server and the client computer.

  • Boot to the computer’s boot menu using the LAN option and go to the run the deployment step.

Deploying the Windows image

There are 3 choices when booting with iPXE:

iPXE boot menu window

iPXE boot menu window

  • Boot Local disk for starting normally from local storage;

  • Register host (ipxe) to register the host with the WADS Server using the iPXE method;

  • Register host (winpe) to register the host with the WADS Server using the WinPE method.

  • If choosing Register host (ipxe), define a hostname:

Text terminal window requesting a hostname when registering using the iPXE method

Text terminal window requesting a hostname when registering using the iPXE method

Warning

The keybord is qwerty

  • Refresh the WADS Console with F5, the host appears in the OS Deploy tab.

Host waiting to be deployed

Host waiting to be deployed

At this time, the Waiting to Deploy status of the host is False.

  • Right click on the host to open the menu list.

WADS menu list
  • Go to Change Config and select a XML answer file.

  • Click on Start Deploy, the Waiting to Deploy status of the host switches to True.

The host is ready to be re-imaged

Warning

If the host is to be a member of the Active Directory domain, set information either using:

  • Reboot the host to the same boot option as before (USB or LAN), Windows will start to install.

  • When the installation has completed, the OS Deploy tab, the status switches to Done.

Joining the host to an Active Directory domain