You can use Windows Deployment Services to add driver packages to the server and configure them to be deployed to client computers along with the install image. Note that this functionality is only available when you are installing images of the following operating systems: Windows Vista with SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. This section walks you through configuring this functionality, but you must have a configured server before you begin. For instructions on how to configure your server, see the Windows Deployment Services Step-by-Step Guide (

Terminology used in this section

Term Definition

Driver group

A driver group is a collection of driver packages. You can add filters to a driver group to make the packages in the group available to a select group of client computers. Alternatively, if there are no filters on a driver group, then the packages will be available to all clients that have matching hardware. You can define whether clients that have access to the driver group install either 1) all the packages in the group, or 2) only those packages that match the hardware that is connected to or installed on the client (that is, Plug and Play hardware).


Filters enable you to map the packages in a driver group to specific client computers. The filters define which clients have access to the packages. There are two types of filters: filters based on the hardware of the client (for example, manufacturer and BIOS vendor) and filters based on the attributes of the install image that is selected on the client (for example, the version or edition of the image). For a list of the filters, see Driver Group Filters.

Plug and Play hardware

Plug and Play functionality provides automatic configuration of hardware and devices for Windows operating systems.

Choosing a scenario

You can configure the driver packages to be deployed to clients in three ways. The following table describes each of these methods and describes when you should use each.

Scenario Description When To Use This Scenario

Scenario 1: Deploy Driver Packages Based on the Plug and Play Hardware of the Client

In this scenario, you make all packages available to all clients (that is, you do not add filters to your driver groups), and you configure the groups so that only those packages that match the hardware on the computer will be installed.

This is the simplest scenario to configure, and most companies should try this scenario first. However, if you encounter problems because incompatible packages are installed simultaneously on a computer (for example, if you have computers that cannot boot, or hardware that does not work correctly), then you will need to add filters to your driver groups as defined in Scenario 2.

Scenario 2: Deploy Driver Packages Using Filters to Define Which Clients Have Access to Each Driver Group

In this scenario, you organize your packages into driver groups, and then map each group to computers using filters. The filters define which computers have access to the driver group based on the hardware of the computer and/or the attributes of the selected install image. You can still configure the packages to be installed based on Plug and Play hardware, but you can use the filters to further define which clients will have access to the packages.

You should consider using this scenario if:

  • Scenario 1 is resulting in hardware that does not work correctly on a computer.

  • You have a complex environment including computers with various hardware and software configurations.

  • You need to install specific driver packages on certain computers (for example, computers with different languages or versions of an install image).

Scenario 3: Deploy All Driver Packages in a Driver Group to Clients

In this scenario, you deploy all of the driver packages in a driver group to a client computer (not just those that match the Plug and Play hardware on the client). After the installation, when you connect the hardware to the client, the device driver will be installed automatically.

Use this option if you have hardware that is disconnected from the computer (for example, a printer) and you want to force all of the packages in a driver group to be installed on the client. Typically, you should use this scenario in combination with either Scenario 1 or 2.


The following are prerequisites for all three of the scenarios:

  • A Windows Deployment Services server configured with the following:

    • The boot image from either Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 (from \Sources\Boot.wim on the DVD).

    • Install images for Windows Vista SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • Driver packages for the hardware that you want to deploy. Note that these packages must be extracted (that is, the package cannot be a .msi or .exe file).