How to boot 64-bit Boot Image from WDS PXE when only 32-bit will show

This is something that has beeen bugging me ever since I set up our BDD 2007 + WDS setup almost a year ago. Even though I was able to create a 64-bit WIM boot image via MDT and load it onto the WDS server, the 64-bit Boot Image was never shown to me when PXE booting from a 64-bit capable PC. All I could see and boot, was the 32-bit boot images. Argh!

After fruitless searching I resigned myself to the fact that if I wanted to deploy Vista 64 I’d just burn an ISO of the 64-bit WinPE Boot Image and install from there. Fortunately, we rarely need to deploy 64-bit Vista, but this may change soon.

However, just now, I found the solution…

To enable 64-bit Boot Images via PXE with WDS, you need to run this command on the WDS Server:

wdsutil /set-server /architecturediscovery:yes

Why this was never mentioned in the Documentation that I read for MDT/BDD I’ll never know (maybe I just missed it), but finally I can boot to 64-bit WinPE and deploy 64-bit Vista from the network, hooray! :D

I found the answer on EggHeadCafe by searching for: “mdt 2008 deploy 64-bit vista pxe”. Roughly half way down the hard-to-read page was the nugget I needed.

For reference, there’s a proper Microsoft KB article explaining the solution.

Really hopes this helps someone out!

9 thoughts on “How to boot 64-bit Boot Image from WDS PXE when only 32-bit will show

  1. Jimmy

    wow, I am so glad i found this.
    I was really not looking forward to taking out my frustration physically on this server.

  2. Jerther

    “Why this was never mentioned in the Documentation that I read for MDT/BDD I’ll never know (maybe I just missed it)”

    Oh my god you are so right… And no you didn’t miss anything. I went through everything by the [MS] book and this was never mentioned.

    From the MS Article you posted:
    “By default, architecture detection is turned off.”

    What a decision. This is ridiculous…

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  4. Daniel

    Thanks. Very handy. Luckily I googled this before I had a chance to get too frustrated. Trying to PXE boot a VM and install Server 2008 R2

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  6. defecta

    THANK YOU!

    I had to restart the WDS services to get it working properly. Otherwise it just sat there after detecting the x64 environment and never connected to the WDS to load the Boot menu.

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