Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Windows 8.1: Discovery Image Error


  • Windows 8.1 Discover Image created from a Windows 8.1 boot image will not PXE boot correctly.
  • When creating a bootable USB discover image witht eh discover image created in WDS, entering setup provides an error similar to "setup.exe does not recognize commandline "/wds /wdsdiscover"
    (if anyone has an image for this that would be great, please link it and I can upload it for reference).

Trawling through the inter-webs left me with nothing as it's probably way to early for anyone to post any findings. Found a few that could of helped but did not in the end. After a few days at my site and intensively thinking of a few things I managed to come up with the solution!

After a while of googling, there was this site:

Used it as a reference for the INI file which has the /wds /wdsdiscover command. Found a whole bunch of documentation saying that the comma and quotes need to be in place blah blah and that the /wdsserver part needs to be filled out (have not tested without this as time was super tight).

In the end what you will need to do is this.

1. Once you have created the discover image, mount it using step 3 from the link above (to lazy to write it out).
2. Browse to the mounted location and go into WINDOWS\system32 and locate the 'winpeshl.ini' file.
3. Open it and modify the command so it looks like:
%SYSTEMDRIVE%\sources\setup.exe /wds /wdsdiscover /wdsserver:<fully qualified doman name of server>
4. And that's that, save the ini file and unmount the image following step 8 in the above link.
5. Rename the wim file to boot.wim and follow the Windows ADK method of creating a bootable USB discover image.

The only significant part in this was step 3 where we need to remove the comma, quotes and possibly define a wds server.

Once you have edited the winpeshl.ini to step 3 with the removal of the comma and quotes, then commited the change with DISM, and create the discovery boot image. You should be able to boot non PXE bootable devices to WDS and image them with a Windows 8.1 image. This was tested on a HP Envy X2 (32-bit only).

Credits to;

chris123nt.com for the DISM commands and hinting that the error lies in the winpeshl.ini file.

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