Windows Deployment Services (WDS) runs in one of three server modes, depending on whether you're performing a clean installation or upgrading from an RIS-based installation. This approach offers backward-compatibility with RIS images that you might still need to support. The modes are:

  • Legacy mode—You can deploy only RIS-type images. To run in this mode, you must first install and configure RIS, then install (but don't configure) WDS. You manage the RIS images by using the Windows Deployment Services Legacy application rather than with the new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Windows Deployment Services snap-in.
  • Mixed mode—You can deploy and maintain both RIS images and WIM images. Client machines will see a Boot Manager screen that lets them select to boot to the RIS OS Loader or the WinPE environment that WDS uses. To run in Mixed mode, you configure WDS on a RIS server that has existing RIS images.
  • Native mode—You can deploy and maintain only WIM images. To run in Native mode, install and configure WDS on a server with RIS installed but not configured (no RIS images). If RIS has previously been configured, uninstall RIS and reinstall it before installing WDS. You can also force Native mode by opening a command prompt and typing
    WDSUTIL /set-server /ForceNative