A: In my FAQ "Is it possible to remove components in Windows Server 2012?" I showed how roles and features could be removed from an OS, reducing the disk footprint.

If a role or feature is enabled that was removed from the OS, then by default Windows Update will be used to pull down missing files.

However, it's possible to specify a location such as a network share that contains the Windows Server 2012 (formerly code-named Windows Server 8) installation files (from the WIM file). To set the default location, perform the following:

  1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Move to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Servicing.
  3. Create a new String value called LocalSourcePath.
  4. Set the location of the share with the Windows Server 2012 installation files.
  5. Click OK and close the registry editor.

It is also possible to pass a path to a specific location when roles and features are added, by using the -Source for Windows PowerShell, or use /source: with DISM. For example, respectively:

Install-WindowsFeature -Source \Windows\winsxs

Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename: /source:\Windows\winsxs

To see more answers about Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, virtualization, and all things IT,  click over to our FAQs page.