Making a ConfigMgr boot image work with standalone WDS or 3rd party PXE server

To have a ConfigMgr environment coexist with another PXE environment, like WDS or just a 3rd Party PXE Server, you need to make some changes to the ConfigMgr boot image.

Disclaimer: This is most likely unsupported, so don't call Microsoft support if it doesn't work 🙂


A little fun fact, I wrote the first instructions for this scenario about seven years ago, for a ConfigMgr 2007 boot image. They still work with ConfigMgr Current Branch 1702.

This is my old post, for WinPE 2.0 boot images 🙂

Using WDS to deploy SCCM images without the SCCM PSP Integration

The Current Guide

When you boot a ConfigMgr boot image it reads a few configuration files. The most important ones are tsmbootstrap.ini and variables.dat. They are present in the ConfigMgr CD Boot image (ISO), but not inside the actual WIM file. And for example, when using standalone WDS, you cannot boot WinPE as an ISO file, you need to a WIM file.

The solution is to simply extract the wim-file from the Boot Image ISO, add the configuration files to the WIM file, and then add the WIM file to WDS, or whatever PXE server you want to use:

Note: Here is a good post by Zeng Yinghua (Sandy) – @sandy_tsang on how to do this for the iPXE 3rd party PXE Server:

The Steps:

  1. In ConfigMgr, create a CD boot media, E:\ZTI_Install_CD.iso in this example  
  2. Extract the E:\ZTI_Install_CD.iso to the E:\ZTI_Install_CD folder
  3. Using Imagex (or DISM, or PowerShell) mount the E\:ZTI_Install_CD\Sources\boot.wim to a folder, E:\Mount in this example:

    imagex /mountrw E:\ZTI_Install_CD\Sources\boot.wim 1 E:\Mount

  4. Copy the E:\ZTI_Install_CD\SMS\DATA folder to E:\Mount\SMS  
  5. Using Imagex (or DISM, or PowerShell), unmount the image and commit the changes.

    imagex /unmount /commit E:\Mount

Then simply add the E:\ZTI_Install_CD\Sources\boot.wim as boot image to the WDS Server

Tip: Setting EnableDebugShell=true in tsbootshell.ini (which you found in sms\bin\i386) will give you a command prompt by pressing F8, this the same as selecting the "Enable Command support" on the boot image properties in the ConfigMgr Console.

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Johan Arwidmark

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2 years ago

Your tip to add EnableDebugShell=true to tsbootshell.ini to enable the command prompt support saved my day.
I did not find this info on any other website.
Thank you.