by August 1, 2000 0 comments

If you’re setting up a Win 2k-based network, then this new
feature will definitely come in handy. Win 2k server has what’s called Remote
Installation Services, or RIS, that allows automated remote installations of
Windows 2000 Professional on client machines over a network. You don’t have to
carry CDs to every workstation any more. In fact, you don’t need to install
anything else on the client machine for this. Let’s see how it’s done.

Prerequisites

You must first have Active Directory installed on the server.
After this, install the DNS and DHCP servers. When configuring the DHCP server,
authorize it with the active directory, else it won’t work. There’s an
option in the DHCP configuration for doing this. You’ll also need a separate
partition formatted with the NTFS file system on the server with around 800 MB-1
GB of free space. Keep a copy of the Windows 2000 Professional CD handy.

Configuring the server

Adding the RIS is like adding any new component in a Win 2k
server. Just go to Add/Remove Programs, choose Windows Components, and you’ll
find it there in the list.

The installation has a wizard that guides you through the configuration. It
first asks for the partition where the Win 2k Professional image has to be set
up. Here, you have to give the path to the separate NTFS partition that you
created. Next, it’ll prompt you whether to respond

to client requests or not. Enable this so that it’s ready
to receive client requests.

Finally, it asks for the Windows 2000 Professional CD. Put
the CD in, and it will create an image of it on the empty partition. The server
is now ready for remote installation of Win 2k Professional.

Configuring the clients

You need a network adapter with a PXE DHCP boot ROM of
version .99c or higher. Network adapters can boot using either RPL or PXE modes.
You’ll need to check your network card on how to switch between the two modes,
and then switch to PXE mode (in this mode, the adapter looks for a DHCP server
on the network). We used an Intel PRO Ethernet card, which prompts you at bootup)
to press CTRL+S to get into its programmable ROM. You can change the mode to PXE
from there.

If you don’t have a card with a PXE boot ROM, you can
create a special bootable floppy for the job. There’s a utility called
rbfg.exe in the \winnt\system32\reminst directory of your Windows 2000 server,
which helps you do this.

Remote installation

Whichever method you use for booting your client, it will
search for a DHCP server on your network. Do ensure that only the DHCP on the
Win 2k server with the OS image is running at that time. Once the client gets an
IP address, it’ll prompt you to press F12 on the keyboard. After that, you’ll
get a welcome screen. You’ll need to provide the username, password, and
domain name of a user with administrative rights on the Win 2k server to start
the installation. The remaining installation continues as if you were doing it
locally.

Anil Chopra and Sanjay Majumdar

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