Q: How do I set a central WIM file to be used for Features on Demand in my environment?

A: If you have a central WIM file that you keep updated with patches and perhaps have added the .NET Framework 3.5 to, that WIM file can be used for future OS deployments. It can also be used by Windows Servers in your environment for Features on Demand (such as .NET Framework 3.5 installation) instead of Windows Update.

Although a file can be specified every time you add a role or feature using the -Source parameter, a better option is to use Group Policy and set the central WIM file for all servers as follows (make sure your WIM file has been placed in a location accessible over the network):

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Console.
  2. Edit an existing Group Policy Object that's applied to the domain or OU that contains the computers that will have the setting applied, or create a new GPO linked to the right location.
  3. Navigate to Computer Configuration, Policies, Administrative Templates, System.
  4. Double-click the policy Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair. (See screenshot below.)
  5. Set the policy to Enabled and specify your WIM file in this format:
  6. Click OK.
  7. Close the Group Policy Management Console.

Enabling the Group Policy Setting Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair

After Group Policy is refreshed on the machines in the container within the OU, the WIM file specified will be used.

For help in creating the WIM file to use, see Add the .NET Framework 3.5 to a VHD or WIM File.