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Our group, which has in the past worked almost exclusively with Linux systems (and some Solaris), is taking on some responsibility for Windows workstation deployments (primarily in lab environments). I've been looking at some of the available tools for Windows deployment, and they all have great marketing material -- but I'm not sure where to find a good comparison of the various solutions.

Aspects that are particularly important include:

  • The ability to operate without a local Active Directory domain. There is one, but we don't manage it, and our lab environments tend to be standalone in any case.
  • The ability to deploy an image onto systems with different hardware.
  • The ability to run from a PXE boot environment.

What are other people using? Have you used more than one product? What made you select whatever you're using now?

Thanks for your input.

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We're currently using WDS and we love it. We've been able to slim down from about 10 separate images to 1 single image that can be deployed across many of our different dell systems. It does support PXE, but we don't use that as it's not allowed on our campus. You should be able to create a standalone WDS server and using PXE, setup all of your machines using one image.

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WDS + pxe is a no brainier winner. It's free if you already have a windows server license and can do a lot if you have the time to set up your images. – Mark Henderson Dec 15 '11 at 20:27

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