0windows 8 logoWdsclient – There was a problem initializing wds mode

I’ve had this error several times over the years, and it always seems to be for a different reason. So below I will collate all the possible sources of the problem I have so far encountered, along with solutions

1. The WDS Server is also the DHCP server and option 67 isn’t set correctly

If one server is running both WDS and DHCP you will need to change a few settings as both services normally listen on the same port. You need to tell WDS to listen on a different port and set DHCP to listen for and pass on PXE requests. There is plenty of documentation on this from Microsoft or via Google.

2. A VMware system is running on the network somewhere and is running a parallel DHCP service

I’ve had this before – having VMware workstation (and probably other products) running on any PC on the network seems to sometimes mess up DHCP by issuing an IP to another client PC when it shouldn’t be doing anything of the sort!

3. The NIC drivers aren’t included in the boot image (not the install image, the boot image)

If the NIC drivers aren’t included in the boot image it will fail after the initial PXE boot. Adding the drivers is reasonabl ystraight-forward, but beware a separate problem where WDS on Windows Server 2012 R2 can’t add drivers to Windows 10 boot images. I have written about how to solve this in a previous post.

4. Client PC has multiple NICs

Some client PCs have multiple NICs – if necessary disable additional NICs prior to the deployment

5. Client and WDS server on different subnets

You will need to do some additional configuration to pass the PXE request through from 1 subnet to the other. There is plenty of documentation on this available from Microsoft and via Google.

6. Assign a static IP to the host PC on your DHCP server

This was this issue I had most recently – the PC was getting 1 IP address at the initial PXE boot and then seemed to get assigned another one after boot which seemed to prevent the server from seeing it. By adding a static mapped IP address to the MAC address of the PC it always gets the same IP address and then the error doesn’t occur. Success.

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