Deploy SCCM Boot Media on Standalone PXE Server
This post is going to focus on deploying your SCCM boot media to either an already existing PXE server, or one where you want to host more content then just the SCCM boot media. It may be beneficial to deliver more than just your SCCM boot media, such as the ability to deliver a standard WinPE boot image, or the Microsoft DaRT Tools.
This process will still utilize WDS to deliver our PXE content. Because of this, you must use WIM’s. Most Microsoft boot tools use them, it’s just a matter of finding them and adding any additional boot files to it. I will focus particularly on the SCCM boot media later in this post. Because of the requirement that any content must be in WIM format, it somewhat limits what you can deliver.
Second, without third-party help, you cannot password-protect your PXE environment straight from WDS. You can add some Linux tools that will do it, but that is out of the scope of this article. Keep this mind before deploying tools that contain password crackers, file browsers, registry editors, etc.
We are doing this in standalone mode, so you do not want to deploy WDS from SCCM. This will force SCCM to take over PXE, which we do not want. To install WDS, go to Server Manager and install the role. After the role is installed, configure any options to meet your business requirements on the PXE Response and Boot tabs of the server properties.
Next, we are ready to import our WIMs.
To import a WIM, select the “Boot Images” node of the WDS console. Right-click and select Add Boot Image. Navigate to your WIM and click Next. On the metadata screen, be sure to give your WIM a good name and description. Most Microsoft boot products are based on WinPE, so that here is what will likely show up for almost anything you import:
You will want to change this to something more descriptive so that you can tell them apart. After you have this, click Next, review your settings, and click Next again. This will import your image.
Importing SCCM Boot Media
Importing the SCCM boot media requires a few extra steps. The boot.wim file contained in your boot media is missing key files that get streamed to the machine after the boot media loads. We need to add these files directly to the WIM.
To begin, create an ISO boot media from the console. Either extract it or mount it, depending on your version of Windows. Copy the boot.wim file located in the sources folder to a different location on your machine where you can modify it. Mount the WIM using the deployment tools command prompt. If you do not have this installed on your workstation, it is part of the Windows automated deployment toolkit. You have to install this to install SCCM, so it should be at least installed on your primary site server. Mount the WIM using this command:
imagex /mountrw /image-file:<full path to wim> 1 /mountdir:<mount dir>
Next, copy the DATA folder from the SMS folder on the boot media to the SMS directory in your boot.wim mount directory. Now you unmount and commit the boot.wim file using this command:
imagex /unmount <mount dir> /commit
Now this WIM file is ready to be imported into your WDS server using the process described above.
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