CrucibleWDS 2.3.3 Released 3-31-15

This release focused on pxe booting in an environment with mixed efi and legacy bios clients.  The tftpboot directory has been restructured to allow the use of a Proxy DHCP Server.  This means that legacy bios clients, 32 bit efi clients, and 64 bit efi clients can all pxe boot simultaneously without the need to change the pxe mode or bootfile.  To facilitate this I created a small Proxy DHCP Server that must be installed if you want to use this feature.  Of course you can still use the old method too.

  • Added ProxyDHCP support for PXE
  • Created a small ProxyDHCP Server to provide ProxyDHCP –  Named CWDS ProxyDHCP
  • Added Server Key Mode (optional) to require user to enter the server key from each client before imaging can begin.  Enhances security.
  • Added Image Checksum Mode (optional) to check image checksum before deploying.  Also functions as image approval system.  Enhances security.
  • Global Host Args are now applied to on demand mode also
  • Added option to debug image size calculation
  • Changed webui timeout to 30 mins
  • The port that CrucibleWDS runs on can now be changed
  • Fixes bug where cancelling all tasks would delete custom boot menu’s set to a specific host
  • Fixes bug where image listing when editing a host or group was not in order


What Is CrucibleWDS?

CrucibleWDS is a free open source solution for computer cloning / imaging. It most closely resembles an alternative for Symantec Ghost Solution Suite™ or Acronis Snap Deploy™. It supports imaging Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux, and OSX. CrucibleWDS is not the first of its kind, but what separates it from the rest, is it’s simplicity. It is also the only open source imaging solution that can be installed on both Windows and Linux. It supports Unicast and Multicast technologies.


  • MBR and GPT
  • Legacy BIOS and EFI
  • Full LVM Support
  • Full Extended/Logical Partition support
  • NTFS, FAT, ext2, ext3,ext4, hfs plus
  • Cloning to smaller drives
  • Automatic host renaming
  • Client booting from USB/ISO/PXE
  • Simple Web Interface
  • Completely automated imaging
  • Custom scripting
  • Multicast
  • Can be installed on Windows, Linux, and FreeNAS
  • Bare Metal Restores

Is It For Me?

CrucibleWDS was created to be used primarily in schools or small businesses. It can be used to image 1000’s of computers (probably not all at once). It should be used with an existing infrastructure. Meaning, a network with managed routers / switches, DHCP server, etc. CrucibleWDS is intended to be installed on a server that is always running to ensure imaging is readily available.

How Does It Work?

CrucibleWDS is a managed solution consisting of two parts. A server side component and a client side component. The server side is installed on Windows or Linux and the UI can be accessed from any web capable device within your network. The client side uses Linux. Since the process is automated, no previous Linux experience is required, although it may be helpful. Imaging is achieved through your network with the use of PXE booting and WOL or you can use the standalone client iso for CD booting or USB booting. To achieve the best results all of your clients are added to a database, then you simply search for the computer you wish to deploy and start the task. The client will automatically turn on and begin to image. Imaging can be accomplished without ever being present at the physical machine’s location.

What it is NOT.

  • CrucibleWDS is NOT a backup solution and should never be used as such.  It is only intended to provide imaging capabilities for generic images that do not contain irreplaceable data.
  • CrucibleWDS is NOT an unattended installation of Windows.  CrucibleWDS is a cloning program.  It creates an image of an existing machine that can then be deployed to other machines.  Yes, it could be thought of as unattended because it is totally automated, but there is a difference.