Troubleshooting: Changing the timeout on the WDS boot screen

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 26 April 2012 / Last Updated on 22 Sept. 2011]

How to troubleshoot a problem where you try to change the default timeout value for the Windows Deployment Services boot screen but your change doesn't take effect.

Scenario:  The default timeout value for the Windows Deployment Services (WDS) boot screen is 30 seconds.  If you don't press F8 before this time elapses, the currently selected boot image will be the one used to initiate deployment.  You want to change this timeout to 120 seconds to give yourself more time to make your selection, so you edit the Timeout setting for each of the default.bcd files for each architecture type (x86,x64,x86x64, ia64) in the BCD store.  But when you try to perform a deployment, the timeout value for the boot screen is still 30 seconds.

Solution: After editing the default.bcd files for each architecture type, you must also run the sc control wdsserver 129 command.  Running this command forces your WDS server to regenerate the BCD files located in the TMP folder, and this is important because these are the versions of BCD files that the target computer actually downloads from your WDS server.

Mitch Tulloch is a seven-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. For more tips by Mitch you can follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.

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