Add Network Driver to a Boot Image – boot.wim

In this post I am going to take you through the process of adding network drivers into a boot image, mainly for the purpose of PXE booting machines.

This will involve using Deployment Image Servicing and Management’ (DISM.exe) to import the machine specific network drivers (.inf files) into the boot image.

Firstly –

To get the drivers, download them separately from the manufactures website –

For instance say you need the network driver for a Vostro 270 you can go to Dell’s driver download page

Dell driver

Scroll down and find the network drivers –

Dell network drivers

Once downloaded double click the .exe and either go through the wizard to the section where you pick the location of the driver files, then cancel the installation wizard, or if the option is available, choose ‘Extract without installing.’ Choose to store the driver files in a convenient file path (This process may be different depending on the manufacture and the wizard)

dell driver wizard

I am now going to create a new folder (We will mount the boot.wim into this folder below ). In this example I am going to create this folder at this file path: D:\WDS Images\Mount

I am also going to get my boot.wim not already imported into WDS and store it at the filepath: D:\WDS Images\boot.wim.

Now open up Power Shell or cmd and mount the boot image to your mount folder.

Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:”D:\WDS Images\boot.wim” /index 2 /MountDir:”D:\WDS Images\Mount

The “Index 2” syntax is for the pre PE environment, where the network driver will be pulled for initial PXE connection with the WDS Server.

If you are planning to put the drivers into a non-boot image, use “Index 1” instead.

Creating a Capture Image?

If you are setting up the boot image for the creation of a captured image it is worthwhile also installing the 32-bit and network drivers for the machine to avoid the problem where the capture wizard cannot locate the WDS Server.

Otherwise –

Next step is to inject the drivers into the now mounted image.

Dism /Image:”D:\WDS Images\YourMountFolder” /Add-Driver /Driver:”D:\DriverFolderLocation” /recurse

The /recurse syntax lets you specify a folder instead of an individual .inf file. It will install all drivers inside the folder.

Once injected unmount image and run dism clean up to make sure nothing stayed mounted –

Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:”D:\WDS Images\YourMountFolder” /Commit
Dism /cleanup-wim

Replace or delete the old boot.wim in WDS and import the new boot.wim.

WDS Replace Image

PXE boot should now work for any Vostro 270s. If it doesn’t check to make sure the drivers have been correctly injected by running the command below. The boot.wim has to be mounted again before you use the command.

Dism /Image:”D:\WDS Images\YourMountFolder” /Get-Drivers

Congratulations! Your ‘boot.wim’ now has the network drivers necessary for PXE boot functionality. Repeat the process for each machine model.

Also check out my post on How to add drivers to WDS so they install automatically during OS installation.


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One thought on “Add Network Driver to a Boot Image – boot.wim

  1. Thank you for this useful guide, but the command:
    Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:”D:\WDS Images\boot.wim” /index 2 /MountDir:”D:\WDS Images\Mount“
    Does not work. It should be:
    Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:”D:\WDS Images\boot.wim” /index:2 /MountDir:”D:\WDS Images\Mount“

    The command doesn’t work without the colon.


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