Arthur Uses the Images Stored on the WDS Servers

After Arthur’s triumphant completion of the WDS infrastructure, he returned to Network full of energy and determination.

With the elements of Windows Deployment Services in place he could begin the process of installing system after system without enduring a quest to travel to every location and sacrificing hours of his time to the Computer Gods by inserting CDs and DVDs into multiple drives.

But, Arthur was not out of the woods just yet. Just because he had set up the WDS infrastructure didn’t mean he had gotten anywhere.

In order to do that, he would have to actually use the images stored on the WDS Servers.

Arthur and the PXE

Arthur knew from his adventures on the Island of Windows Deployment Services that installing the images required using something known as PXE.

As Arthur discovered on the hilltop, PXE was actually a naming trick designed to thwart the unworthy, for the X in PXE actually stood for Execution. But, Arthur was indeed worthy, so he obtained the whole secret and knew that PXE stood for Pre-boot Execution Environment.

And so, Arthur approached the first of the many systems of Network and stood before it. His hand instinctively reached for the power button when an overwhelming sense of dread overtook him. Arthur had never booted a computer using PXE before.

He searched his shoulder slung messenger-style laptop bag that he had carefully chosen to hold his many administrator tools and disks without looking too much like a purse. No matter how much he searched, he could not find a PXE boot disk.

Arthur cursed the gods and stumbled into the hallway. His spirit was broken and a powerful ache filled his chest. He had failed.

He had forgotten to collect the magical PXE booting device. All of his work had been for not.

Arthur struggled down the hallway with the last remaining strength in his legs. At last, he stumbled into the breakroom. He put his coins in the slot and waited impatiently for his Mountain Dew to appear in the receptacle at the bottom of the Vending Machine of Doom.

He popped the top and threw his head back, chugging the sugary yellow fluid hoping against hope that his mind would absorb the caffeine and high fructose corn syrup and provide him with an answer.

Just then, Stan the Firewall Lord, burst into the break room. With his smug face beaming, and his Cisco shirt worn proudly over his gaunt body, Stan sauntered up beside Arthur and purchased his own Mountain Dew.

"What’s up Arthur," Stan said.

Arthur told him of his despair and of his failed quest.

"Hmmm," said Stan. "You know, most newer systems support booting from the network card and when they do a lot of them use PXE."

Arthur stared blankly into Stan’s face, his mind racing over the words Stan had just uttered. Arthur stared for so long that Stan grew uncomfortable and left. When Arthur regained his composure, Stan was long gone.

Arthur chugged what remained of his Mountain Dew and flung the can in the direction of the trash. He didn’t even break his stride when it rattled off the rim of the trash can and onto the floor.

Down the hall Arthur sprinted until he stood before the computer system. He wondered if it could really be that easy.

Arthur pressed the power button and watched the screen closely for the tell-tale sign of the BIOS, a message just seconds long which indicated to any user willing to watch the boot process which key to press to enter the forbidden realm of the BIOS.

Arthur stabbed the F12 key with his index finger and waited for the old fashioned text display to appear. There, before Arthur’s very eyes, appear a menu proclaiming the boot order for the computer. Third from the top were the words Boot from Network.

Arthur quickly pressed the keys to set the system to boot from the network card, and restarted the system.

Arthur was so excited, that what took merely fifteen seconds seemed more like twenty-seven seconds. The system booted. The computer sent signals out onto the network instead of following the boot instructions on the hard drive.

It received an IP address from the DHCP server, and the location of the WDS Server that Arthur has created from DNS. Then, the screen flickered and then shone brightly, illuminating Arthur’s smiling face.

On the screen it said "Select the operating system you want to install."

Arthur Uses the Images

Tears of joy flowed down Arthur’s cheeks, and then stopped. His smile faded and he stared in disbelief at the choices.

His carefully crafted Install Images were nowhere to be found. Arthur grabbed his bag and again rummaged through his various papers, copies of free trade magazines, cheat sheets for Worlds of Warcraft, and other important documents.

He found what he was looking for and began to review the images he had created.

He had created a boot image. He had created a capture boot image. He had created a discover boot image. And, he had so very carefully created an install image.

Arthur shook his head at the papers in his hands. For a moment, he considered the possibility of finding Stan, assuming that he hadn’t taken out a restraining order against Arthur yet. Then, he noticed something.

A tiny seemingly insignificant detail had escaped his attention. All of the images were called boot images except for one kind. Install images were not called boot images. Could it really be that simple?

Arthur selected the boot image for the operating system he wanted to install. The computer asked him what locale and keyboard to use and Arthur answered. Next, the computer demanded a username and password. Again, Arthur responded with a username and password that had admin privileges.

And there, glimmering on the computer screen were the install images that Arthur had crafted earlier. Relieved, Arthur selected the image he wanted to install. From there, it was easy.

After choosing the partition to install, Arthur waited for a couple of reboots and then chose his country, time and keyboard layout. Finally he accepted the licensing agreement and chose a name for the computer.

The system responding with a whirring hard drive.

Arthur threw his head back and laughed in triumph, "Muwah-hah-hah-hah!" just as Stan walked by in the hallway.

Arthur’s victory reverberated throughout network and there was much rejoicing.

Though completely unnoticed, that was also the day, that Stan started locking his office door.

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