The Multicast feature in WDS can be used to transfer any file over the network. In my work, since I present trainings from time to time, I need to deploy (large) virtual machines to a bunch of the clients, and for that I use multicast.
Step 1 – Create the WDS name space (enabling a folder for multicast)
In this example I have stored compressed (winrar) version of my virtual machines in a folder called D:\Exported_VMs on my server. One of the vm’s is named DC01.rar.
So we need to create a new namespace name for files in the D:\Exported_VMs folder (note that the folder needs to exist to create the namespace). Use the following command:
WDSUTIL /New-Namespace /NamespaceType:AutoCast /Server:MDT01 /FriendlyName:”Really Large Files” /Namespace:”Really Large Files” /ContentProvider:WDS /ConfigString:D:\Exported_VMs
Step 2 – Get the files via multicast on the client
Then, on the client, to get the large files via multicast First, allow the wdsmcast.exe in the firewall rules (inbound rule), and run the following command.
wdsmcast.exe /verbose /transfer-file /server:MDT01 /namespace:”Really Large Files” /SourceFile:”DC01.rar” /DestinationFile:”C:\VMs\DC01.rar” /Username:TSLAB\BuildAccount /password:”P@ssw0rd”
Note that target folder must exist, otherwise wdsmcast fails.
The wdsmcast client runs best, and is only supported, in WinPE, but you can also start it in the running operating system. That however is not supported and has proven, at least in my testing, not being as reliable as running it in WinPE.