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WDS F11 Server Selection Feature… It’s undocumented, it’s unsupported – but really cool

By arwidmark / September 29, 2009

There is a little known Server Selection Feature in WDS in Windows Server 2008 R2. Its not documented, it’s not supported by Microsoft. But its very useful for lab and test scenarios…

How to enable it?  Simply go to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\WDSServer\Providers\WDSPXE\Providers\BINLSVC and set AllowServerSelection to 1.

Then restart the Windows Deployment Service. After doing this you get the option tp press F11 and the PXE client will now discover local PXE Servers and allow you to select which one you want to use.

Here are some Screenshots of the feature:

Image 1: Initial PXE Boot Screen

Image 2: The discovery process

Image 3: Selecting the server

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TLars - March 9, 2012

Hi John,

I know this is an old post, but I have a quick question for you…..

Does this registry key change need to be made on both servers running WDS (both PXE servers?) I have a situation where we need two seperate Server 2008 R2 systems running with WDS, to deploy images on two seperate Deployment servers. We’d like to have both available at the same time. WHich server do we make this change on? (or do we do it on both)?


arwidmark - March 10, 2012

You should do it on both, because either of them my answer the initial request.

/ Johan

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