WdsClient: An error occurred while starting networking

April 20, 2011

Error message when you start a PXE client to connect to a WDS server on a Windows Server 2003 SP1-based computer: “WdsClient: An error occurred while starting networking”

When you start a Pre-boot execution environment (PXE) client to connect to a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1(SP1)-based computer. This computer is running Windows Deployment Service (WDS). In this scenario, you receive an error message that resembles the following:

“WdsClient: An error occurred while starting networking: a matching network card driver was not found in this image. Please have your Administrator add the network driver for this machine to the Windows PE image on the Windows Deployment Services server.”

This issue occurs if the WDS boot image does not contain a network driver for your third-party network adapter.


NOTE: This was done on a WDS Server running on Windows Server 2003

Download the network driver that is missing from the WDS boot image.

NOTE: In my case, the laptop was a Latitude E6410.

  • Went to Dell’s support site and found the latest Intel drivers and downloaded.
  • Extracted the drivers into a folder and found the x86 windows 7 drivers folder. The file I was looking for was the *.inf file.
  • But, I went ahead and copied all the drivers to a drivers folder on snsuwds01 under e:\drivers.

Update the WDS boot image to include the new third-party network driver.

NOTE: The following procedure assumes that the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) is installed on the WDS server. If the Windows AIK is not installed on the WDS server, you can perform the same procedure on another computer that does have the Windows AIK installed. Then, map a network drive to the WDS server.

  1. On the WDS server, click Start, click Run, type wdsmgmt.msc, and then press O K .
  2. Under your WDS server, double-click Boot images.
  3. Right-click the boot image that you want, and then click “Disable”
  4. Right-click the same boot image, click “Properties”, and then click “General”
  5. Note the name the boot image that is displayed in the File name box.
  6. At a command prompt, type the following:

    C:\program files\windows aik\tools\petools\copype.cmd x86 c:\windowspe-x86


    NOTE: I had to manually create c:\windowspe-x86

  7. Next, type the following:

    Imagex /info e:\remoteinstall\ boot\x86\images\boot.wim


    NOTE: boot.wim is the filename from step 5

  8. Note the boot index number of the bootable image that is displayed. To identify the boot index number, locate the line that contains “boot index:X.”


    Note: X is the boot index number. The number indicates that image number X is marked as bootable and that the image is to be updated. The second image is the default image that you would typically modify. However, always verify which image is marked as bootable.

  9. Navigate to c:\windowspe-x86
  10. At a command prompt, type the following:

    imagex /mountrw e:\remoteinstall\boot\x86\boot.wim 2 mount

    NOTE: This will create a “mount” directory under c:\windowspe-x86

  11. Type the following at a command prompt:

    C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\Servicing\dism.exe /image:c:\windowspe-x86\mount /Add-driver /driver:e:\drivers\e6410\intelNIC\Windows7-x86\E1K6232.inf


    NOTE: e:\drivers\e6410\intelNIC\Windows7-x86\E1K6232.inf is the driver for the NIC for the Dell Latitude e6410 I had to download from Dell’s driver site

  12. Type the following at a command prompt:
    1. Imagex /unmount /commit mount
  13. Enable the boot image on the WDS Server by going back into WDS and right mouse clicking the boot image modified earlier and selecting “enable”

One Response to “WdsClient: An error occurred while starting networking”

  1. Veeresh said

    It worked like a charm in WDS windows 2008 R2 as well

    Thank you very much.

    Veeresh S S
    System Administrator

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