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My Requirements:

  • I want to maintain only one Windows installation on one system (say, server).
  • I want to boot to this installation using LAN boot feature of BIOS of other systems in network. There may be multiple active simultaneous sessions.
  • I want to remove hard disks (or any secondary storage) from other systems in network (So, there mustn't be any dependency on it).

I know Windows 7 doesn't allow multiple active sessions, so Windows server 2008 based solutions will be fine. BTW, I've hacked Windows 7 to remove this restriction which works fine with multiple simultaneous sessions via Remote Desktop. So, you may give Windows 7 based solution too..

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Use WDS to provide a WinPE image (that contains a RDC client) using the RAMDISK method over PXE.

The rest is an exercise for the reader, I don't know which parts of this you are capable of doing and which you are not. Technet includes a lot of information on these indivdual subjects, so that should most likely be your first stop in this journey. If you encounter a problem it's best to ask a new question to outline your problem and get more detailed advice...

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-1. Haven't you read my question carefully? WinPE (having RDC) needs a secondary storage in client systems, but I don't want to keep any secondary storage in client systems... – Evil Angel Sep 18 '11 at 2:39
I'm talking about existence of WinPE in client systems. Even OEMs also add flash storage in thin clients to keep WinPE. – Evil Angel Sep 18 '11 at 8:08
Sounds like you are saying this: Keep WinPE image on server. LAN boot from clients to fetch this WinPE image in local RAM. Using this loaded image to establish a RDC session to Windows on server. Great! – Evil Angel Sep 18 '11 at 8:30
Thanks for updating your answer to add RAMDISK method.. – Evil Angel Sep 18 '11 at 8:35
@Sachin: Exactly, I haven't used these services myself so I can't really outline any specifics or step-by-step guide. On a side note, if you need better RDC performance, Windows 8 will bring you so with RemoteFX features like progressive image/video loading (so that static text gets displayed as fast as possible and the rest builds up from that). Good luck on implementing this, what you are trying to do is very interesting. I wonder about the scalability of many RDC sessions though... – Tom Wijsman Sep 18 '11 at 8:40

AFAIK, you can't PXE boot into another Windows 7 install, since PXE stands for Pre-Boot Xecution Environment.

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That's just a word from a title, have you read the actual chain? – Tom Wijsman Sep 18 '11 at 8:22
@surfasb Tom has solved the problem smartly.. You can't PXE boot to Windows 7, but who needs it.. Just, PXE boot to WinPE image and using WinPE, establish RDC to Windows 7. Done! – Evil Angel Sep 18 '11 at 8:46
@Tom Wijsman: Didn't know WinPE has RDP on it. Learn something new everyday. – surfasb Sep 18 '11 at 13:40
@surfasb: I don't know if it has, but it can be added... – Tom Wijsman Sep 18 '11 at 14:39
@TomWijsman: Well, that will be something to mess around with today. – surfasb Sep 18 '11 at 15:16

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