WDS service refuse to start with error 0xFFFFFBB3 when using more than 20 logical cpus

The other week I stumbled across a very interesting fact, a fact that the Windows Deployment Server service refused to start on a clean installed Windows Server 2008 R2. After troubleshooting for a whole day, even reinstalling the OS, reproducing the error even without any patches seemed very strange. The WDS service is a service that normally just works. The following error was logged:

Log Name: Application
Source: WDSServer
Date: 2010-10-04 17:14:23
Event ID: 257
Task Category: WDSServer
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
User: N/A
Computer: wds.contoso.com
An error occurred while trying to start the Windows Deployment Services server.
Error Information: 0xFFFFFBB3

An important fact is that the server to be used for deployments was a retired yet powerful TS/RDS server with two six core processors using hyper threading, making it 24 logical processors.  Not likely to be the hardware specs of a regular deployment server but hey, it can obviously be scenarios where this might be an issue. Thanks goes to a colleague (Jeanette) who figured out that we could try to set the number of logical processors being used to two. Guess what, after a reboot the WDS service started just fine!

To change the number of used processors we used:

bcdedit /set {current} numproc 2

To revert this change you could use:

bcdedit /deletevalue {current} numproc

After some work with Microsoft Product Services and Support it appears to be a bug nevertheless. The limit for the number of logical processors you can have for the WDS service to start is 20. Bear this in mind…


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