Deploying Nano Server to a Bare-Metal Machine using a WIM and WinPE

There are several ways to deploy Nano Server to a physical machine:

  1. Dual-boot a Nano Server vhd or vhdx
  2. PxE-boot a bare-metal machine and install Nano Server from WDS using a vhd or vhdx
  3. PxE-boot a bare-metal machine and install Nano Server from WDS using a wim file
  4. Booting a bare-metal machine into WinPE and deploying Nano Server using a .wim file

In this blog, we’ll talk about the last one.  For the first two, check out Getting Started with Nano Server & How to use WDS to PxE Boot a Nano Server VHD

To build the .wim image, please follow the instructions in Getting Started with Nano Server and use New-NanoServerImage. Make sure to use a .wim extension with the -TargetPath parameter.

Boot into WinPE and make sure that the .wim file you just created is accessible from WinPE. (I copied the .wim file to a bootable WinPE image on a USB thumb drive).

Once WinPE boots, use diskpart.exe to prepare the target machine’s hard drive. Enter the following diskpart commands (modify accordingly, if you’re not using UEFI & GPT):

Note that these commands will wipe out all data from the hard drive!!!


Select disk 0


Convert GPT

Create partition efi size=100

Format quick FS=FAT32 label="System"

Assign letter="s"

Create partition msr size=128

Create partition primary

Format quick FS=NTFS label="NanoServer"

Assign letter="n"

List volume


Apply the Nano Server image (adjust the path of the .wim file):

 Dism.exe /apply-image /imagefile:.\ServerDatacenterNano.wim /index:1 /applydir:n:\ 

Bcdboot.exe n:\Windows /s s:

Remove the DVD media or USB drive and reboot your system using:

 Wpeutil.exe reboot

That’s it. Looking forward to your feedback.