Deploy Windows 7 The Easy Way: Using WDS, MDT and AIK – Step-By-Step Video

In this video you will learn how to deploy Windows 7 the easy way.  We walk through a light touch deployment of Windows 7 and show all the steps that are needed to make it happen using WDS, MDT and AIK.  We start at the beginning of the process and do not stop until we have a client computer completely deployed.

Watch the video on my YouTube Channel

Step By Step:

  1. Make sure you have infrastructure setup (AD, DNS, DHCP)  Download files; Prepare for deployment Learn more about the MDT 2010
    1. Download the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010
    2. Download WAIK for Windows 7 {large ISO}
    3. Download Windows 7 Deployment Guide
  2. Install Windows Deployment Services role [WDS] {Server Manager: Roles - Add Windows Deployment Services [defaults for all except turn on "respond to all clients"]}
  3. Install Microsoft Deployment Toolkit [MDT] {Learn more about the MDT 2010}
  4. Install Automated Installation Kit [AIK]
  5. Create MDT 2010 Deployment Share {deployment workbench: right-click deployment share} 
  6. Add Operating System Files to the deployment Share {Deployment Workbench: Operating Systems: Action Pane: click Import Operating System}
  7. Add Drivers {Deployment Workbench: Out-Of-Box Drivers: Action Pane: click Import Drivers; browse to location of drivers} 
  8. Note: We did not add applications but you can do that just as easily.  You just need the media and you need to know what the parameter [switch] to do a quiet install.  For office 2007 the switch is "setup"
  9. Create Task Sequence {Deployment Workbench: Task Sequence: Action Pane: click New Task Sequence [Turn on sysprep and capture computer]}
  10. Update Deployment Share {Deployment Workbench: MDT Deployment Share: Action Pane: click Update Deployment Share}  [This creates your WIM and ISO files based on the configuration from above]
  11. Import Boot WIM to WDS: Now we need to import the files create above into our Windows Deployment Services. {Server Manager: Roles: Windows Deployment Services:Servers:FQDNofServer:Boot Images - Right Click - Add Boot Image - Browse to location of \\severname\deplymentshare$\boot\LiteTouchPE_x??}
  12. Network Boot the Reference Computer {Boot and press F12 for PXE Boot [note if using Hyper-V virtual guest you have to use a legacy NIC to do PXE boot] Follow on-screen prompts}
  13. Add Captured Reference Image to Deployment Workbench {Deployment Workbench: Operating Systems: Action Pane: click Import Operating System - change to "Custom WIM" and select the WIM from the Captures share \\servername\deploymentshare$\captures}
  14. Create task Sequence for Target Computer {Deployment Workbench: Task Sequence: Action Pane: click New Task Sequence [leave sysprep and capture computer off]}
  15. PXE Boot Target computer to deploy image 🙂 

In case this walk through was not enough detail for you... Here is where you can get some more help on these topics:

Even More resources…Thanks to John Baker 


Comments (29)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone help me or point me in the right direction? I had setup MDT 2012 and WDS on a 2008 R2 standard server. It was working great and I had no problems with PXE boot, sysprep and capture or deploying images. The server stopped working due to issues with VMWare and I had to rebuild it. I decided to use Server 2012 this time at the suggestion of someone who is using Server 2012 and claims an increase in performance over 2008. Here is the problem:

    Once I reinstalled MDT 2012 and WDS, I now have problems PXE booting from some models of Dell – we are primarily using Dell desktops – computers. Specifically 580s and GX 620s. Has anyone expierenced this problem? The error is I believe a 5602 error – "no boot filename received". Can someone offer some suggestions? Thank you.


  2. Anonymous says:

    GREAT post. Very informative and straight forward. Nice job.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi fantastic resource, it all makes sense now, but im having trouble accessing the silverlight video now it was working fine but doesnt seem to want to play today are there any issues with the file,,


    It is working for me… you might want to try it from a differnt machine

  4. dakohns says:


    Excellent walk through. One question, at what point can I add applications on the reference computer so that they can already be installed on the target computer?



    Anything  that is security/identity based will be wiped during the sysprep stage.  However anything that does not tie to security/identity will remain.  You cannot make changes to the syspreped image [ok, major changes] so you will need to install the applications before syspreping the reference computer.

  5. TNJMAN says:

    OMG! We just deployed 400 workstations with WDS. WDS and WAIK were our primary tools; and WDS definitely made ALL thd difference – saved about 1 month of man-hours! The ONLY failing is NOT having a built-in way to FIRST DO AN IMAGE BACKUP of the XP workstation BEFORE applying" Most people have said, "Why worry about the backup?" Well… that ONE time that a manager says, "You know, I did have this 'something' on that XP image, and I REALLY need it back." THAT is when you get burned. Okay, so we did the obvious/'manual' step of doing an Imagex image of each workstation first. We also worked out an SCCM 2007 task sequence to do a full backup and/or Imagex backup before doing any upgrade – but, what is an automated way to verify the backup part of the task sequence??? i.e., you would definitely NOT want to proceed with overwriting the XP installation BEFORE you have a verified/confirmed backup. So… we did not proceed with SCCM task sequence method of upgrading. Also, task sequences seem to be VERY finicky if they get 'stuck' – you have to say several "magical spells" and spin around 3 times in front of a mirror, in order to fully cancel/reset an incomplete task sequence – and this seems to be a 'known issue.'

  6. TNJMAN says:

    AND, there is SO much overlap/confusion on these particular product: MDT, WAIK, SCCM, WDS – there is a LOT of overlap. A lot of what SCCM does also is done by WDS and MDT. It seems like they are just different ways of doing a lot of the same things. It's hard to tell which pieces are meant to be sub-sets or super-sets of which other pieces? Some folks use SCCM, others use WDS. How is it all intended to fit together? Maybe there's a "roadmap" for all of that – I haven't yet seen it. I've always used SCCM for quite a few tasks, since it seems WDS and MDT are more or less subsets of SCCM – still, I would like to see a roadmap/architecture diagram of how it all is intended to fit together and work together. Which pieces should be for which tasks and so forth.

  7. Kyle Hamilton says:


    I love the post. It is full of good info for a guy like me who is trying to figure out this WDS stuff. The question I have is what is the need for recapturing the reference computer. Why dont you just use the intial image for deployments? Are there advantages? I am adding your blog to my favorites in hopes that you will do a followup diving into more WDS details.




    You do not need to recapture the image.  I have showed recapturing the image for people to understand that the capability is there.  Recapturing an image is especially important if you want to add additional steps in the middle of the process.

  8. Nawaz kazi says:

    Thanks Bro …awesome job. looking forward for more from u

  9. anuj says:

    thanks bro


  10. Scott Morgan says:

    Can the Windows Deployment Services role and AD setup stuff be skipped and the rest of the steps followed for non-AD deployments?

  11. dakohns says:


    So installing antivirus software, email software should be ok

  12. Grendel says:

    At 13:42 you say that you can join the domain, but  you wish not to do that at the moment. Well.. I was willing and unfortunatelly, joining the domain somehow triggered the problem – there was no sysprep after installation! I wasted two days for experiments before i realized, that when you do not join the domain at this particular stage, sysprep works beautifully. But thanks anyway for the tutorial – helps a lot!

    —- Very sorry this caused you trouble — You are correct!  When you sysprep a machine. It blows away all the security identification data (SID).  You should not join the domain until after you deploy the image.  If you do join the domain with the image to deploy applications, you would need to remove the domain before sysprep'ing or it can cause problems.   When you remove the machine from the domain it can also cause other problems so the only SAFE way to deal with the images is to join the domain after the image is deployed. …DAN

  13. julien says:


    Thanks a lot for the precious info.

    One thing I still have difficulties to understand though is the difference between MDT and WDS deployments. I understand MDT is good for working on the Windows images, and can be used to deploy theses images from a network share. Then why use WDS if MDT already offers the online deployment ability ?

    Hope you'll find the time to answer,

    All the best

  14. Adam. says:

    This is a great walk through Dan, especially for someone just getting into WDS and MDT…

    Would you how to capture a pre-staged reference computer?

  15. tony says:


    This post is really save my life.

    One thing I would like to ask. is there anyway to handle the computer name in AD properly?

    What I want to do is when PXE boot the new computer, it prompt for the computer name for the first time.

    If in the future, if i need to reimage the computer, I can get the same computer name from AD (just like the way how RIS works).


  16. Grayson says:

    Dan, what if there is an unattend file?  How do you incorporate that in?

  17. lee says:

    Useful info. One question, i didn't see that you add any install image. When you work on Workbench, install image is already "merged" in Litetouch boot image so that you don't need to add any install image? many thanks

  18. John Bio says:

    am really enjoying your ur theory keep on duin dat bless you

  19. Ricardo Mendes says:

    Hello, Thanks for this video. It was really helpful. However I am having an issue. After deploy the reference image, I do not see the sysprep starting. Is there any thing that is missing or should this start automatically? Thanks and rgs, Ricardo Mendes

  20. Ricardo Mendes says:

    Hello, Thanks for this video. It was really helpful. However I am having an issue. After deploy the reference image, I do not see the sysprep starting. Is there any thing that is missing or should this start automatically? Thanks and rgs, Ricardo Mendes

  21. vampirko says:

    thx dude

  22. Leon says:

    Hi, I am VERY new to Microsoft image deployment – Would you rather use WDS or SCCM? Pretty confused!!!! 🙁

  23. SP says:

    the link is not working

  24. Rob says:

    Does anyone have a working link to the videos?

  25. MEG4 says:

    I have tried multiple times to download and view this video with no success unfortunately.

  26. Steven says:

    For different model of Computers… would MDT/WDS know to inject certain drivers or would you have to tell it to add specific ones?


  27. tom says:

    Is a new version of MDT available in the near future?

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