CrucibleWDS 2.3.2 Released 2-19-15

I wasn’t planning another release so soon, but I discovered an issue with Windows 8.1 images while uploading a Surface Pro 3.  They were not resizing correctly to allow deployment to smaller hard drives.  Changes include:

  • Added syslinux efi pxe booting support
  • Moved host arguments from being interpreted by the CrucibleWDS scripts to being interpreted by the kernel, to allow the options to be read both by the kernel and CrucibleWDS
  • Fixes bug where Windows 8.1 images were not resized correctly, preventing them from being restored to smaller drives. (Required updating to latest version of ntfsprogs)
  • Fixes bug where unicast tasks could not be started if pxe mode was set to ipxe_32_efi or ipxe_64_efi

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.