WDS testing – firewall requirements

I have installed an instance of WDS on our current production RIS server. No worries, RIS functionality is still present, fully unadulterated.

However, I seem to be having problems getting a PXE boot client in my office to load. PXE boot works, and the WIM image gets loaded onto the workstation. However, I get a “unable to communicate with the WDS server” error after the GUI loads.

Some Ethereal packet captures show that the client is sending a port map request to the server, and the server is telling the client to connect to port “5040”. This value is not in our range of pre-allocated RPC ports, so I assumed that this port is hard-coded into the WDS service.

Sure enough, a quick registry search reveals that this is a parameter of the WDSServer service:
\HKLMSoftwareSystemCurrentControlSetServicesWDSServerParametersRpcPort
The default value was “5040”. I changed it to be within our range of excepted RPC ports, then ran:
net stop WDSServer
net start WDSServer

Lo and behold, I can now boot to WDS and install Vista. Cool. Now they just need to get the bugs out and give us the RTM WIM files. We will be ready!

Note: Net booting the install WIM is kinda pokey. I think I will try making a bootable USB drive next. I think this might be our best option for mass distribution.

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