• Add Install.wim file WDS Server
  • Add Boot.wim file to WDS Server
  • In the Drivers section add driver group and name it "Network Drivers"(don't add any drivers. Or name it whatever you want, I'm not your supervisor. Just make sure to change the command below to match the new name.)
  • By defualt the VMXNET3 drivers is located at
 C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\vmxnet3\
  • Run PowerShell as Administrator and blindly copy and paste the following commands:
# Replace <DRIVER NAME HERE> with the name of the driver, or, be lazy and tab complete :3 
Import-WdsDriverPackage -path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\vmxnet3\Win8\vmxnet3.inf" -Architecture X64

# Replace "Id" with the id obtained from the above command. Quotation marks and curly braces can be removed
Add-WdsDriverPackage -id "id" -GroupName "Network Drivers" -Verbose

# Replace "Id" with the id obtained from the above command. Quotation marks and curly braces can be removed. "Microsoft Windows Setup (X64)" is the name of the boot image you're using. Change this to match that.
Add-WdsDriverPackage -Architecture X64 -id "Id" -ImageName "Microsoft Windows Setup (X64)" -Verbose
  • Restart WDS services
  • Profit

"Really? You need an entire post detailling this?"

Well no, but also yes. After many searches, my answer was in a random youtube video. I'm hoping this will pop up in search results easier as I'm throwing all the search terms I used in this post.

See, when you're trying to use WDS with ESXi, you may run into the follow pattern:

  1. You get all you WIM's sorted, and a PXE boot occurs.
  2. DAAAAAAAM, why is it so slow though? Easy fix, change the hardware configuration to use VMXNET as the  network card instead. Boom, much faster.
  3. The VM picks up an IP address initially, but then when the deployment starts, you get an annoying error message about how the the VM wasn't able to obtain an IP address, and you're all like "y tho?", you had one earlier, why don't you just use that? BECAUSE REASONS!

Long story short, you need add the VMXNET3 driver. It can be found at:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\vmxnet3\

(and not where most google searches will lead you to.....)

Cool, so now you try to add this to WDS with from the WDS snap-in and think "brilliant, everything will work now", so you try to PXE boot again, aaaaaaaand

So yeah, that's why I made a quick post. Smart arse.

Also, for some reason Microsoft do silly things. Here's how to convert an install.esd to a suitable .wim file.

# Get the info. The Id is what you'll use for the next command.
dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:install.esd

# Dump the Id where the # is/
dism /export-image /SourceImageFile:install.esd /SourceIndex:# /DestinationImageFile:C:\WIM\Win10-Home-20H2.wim /Compress:max /CheckIntegrity
Thanks Craft Computing