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W2k3 & RIS - images general questions

Posted on 2004-10-20
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Hi all,

I started using RIS to install OS'es both for internal computers (W2K) and for computers for clients (XP). I'm looking for some thorogh info about how to create the right SIF files, but I guess I will get the hang of this over time.

Also, I want to make images that can be distributed to external partners, on a CD or over the net. I havn't got any experience with these kind of images or with bootable cd's.

Can you give me some web resorces or some general information to get me started?

The client PC's contain some kind of media shell, placed over XP. The end-user is locked out of Explorer and all administrative tools, so the image has to be an almost perfect copy of the original PC.

I guess I can use XP OPK tools, and perhaps Symantec Ghost?
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Question by:Gaud-wo
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by:Gaud-wo
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Thanks, thats already something to get me started!

Anyone got info about the unattended boot disks?
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by:farpost
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Unattended boot disks are easy. All you need is a usual windows installation cd and diskette with answer file, which should be named winnt.sif

I recommend you to make your windows boot CD yourself, it will give you the chance to integrate service packs, language packs, etc.
Here is the method for winXP:
http://www.windows-help.net/WindowsXP/winxp-sp2-bootcd.html
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by:Gaud-wo
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Yes, that's what I wanted to do - however, I want to integrate more than SP & updates. I know more can be added - like antispyware tools, antivirus, Office, DVD reading software, ...

The image on disk has to contain a few programs, quite some additional drivers - it has to be an almost complete replica of the OS I use on our PC's.

This because we install locked software, and it's quite hard to install. I want to spare our dealers the burden of installing and configuring the software, I'd rather give them a complete image to which they can add their specific drivers and settings.

I don't think this is possible through that slipstream process, right? My guess is that it's possible through OPK, but I rather read up on it before just starting to mess around with it (and my employer won't like me spending some hours tinkering on something I could learn from the web).
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by:farpost
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You can create full system images with sysprep or risprep. But you cannot make them bootable CD's. You can deploy your images with RIS or duplicate them with imaging software , Norton Ghost for example.
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by:Gaud-wo
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Can I use ghost to duplicate my RIS images, and install them on another location (without RIS server)?

Many laptops and preinstalled systems seem to contain a ghost image, which is automatically loaded during first boot-up. Then again, I believe this is done by installing one laptop through some kind of unattended setup, and then cloning that installation to other laptops of the -same model- !

I do need some kind of setup...

If you order OEM licenses for XP (pack per 5 or +), then a OPK (preinstallation kit) cd is delivered with it (although I believe these OPK files are on the XP cd too). I think the difference between OPK & RIS lies in intended place of use - OPK for OEM system builders, RIS for corporate use...

Kind of a difficult situation, as we are both - we need RIS for internal OS installation, both on our "production systems", and on systems for our clients.
Still, we also make software, and need to distribute this to our dealers in a way that they can easily install it in their existing systems, but all their hardware is different, so it has to be an image that is installed - not a 1/1 image...
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by:farpost
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Ris images are like sysprep images. So if like to dublicate with Ghost, you can install your system to one laptop,config it as you like, prepare image with sysprep, and then clone it to other laptops with Ghost.
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by:Gaud-wo
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I am not going to install the images to laptops, I didn't say that, did I? I used that as an example.

At what point do I clone the disk - usually I install the RIS image, do what I have to do, and then I just run "Riprep.exe". At that point the system stops all unnecessary services, and sends the OS to the RIS server - so no reboot or something like that.

What does sysprep do different? Is that what's on the OPK cd?
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by:farpost
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Sysprep do all the same things as riprep. It just do not send image to Ris server as riprep, but store it locally.
You do not  need OPK.
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by:Gaud-wo
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And how can I install this riprep image afterwards, with what program is it accessed? Can I use the same SIF files as for RIS?

Thanks for your help so far, this is really useful!
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by:farpost
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You have to copy this image with imaging software to new computers. Then, after startup, you will have graphical part of windows install routine. This part can be unattended, and you can use SIF file for it. But it format will be little different.
Check microsoft documentation about sysprep and answer file format:
http://www.microsoft.com/Resources/Documentation/windowsserv/2003/all/techref/en-us/W2K3TR_sys_intro.asp
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by:Gaud-wo
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Ok, thanks for the info - I've got some reading-up to do in the weekend!
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by:Gaud-wo
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I'm still having some problems in making the right answer files.
Some options seem to negate each other, and information on the web isn't always accurate (it's not always stated whether the answer file is meant to be used with SIF, Sysprep, ...).

Can someone point me to a clear, easy to use resource, without all those redundant options, maybe an example or 2, or a user forum? I don't have the time to play with settings at work, and don't have a W2k3 server at home.

Is it hard to set up a W2k3 server with RIS?
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by:harleyjd
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Guys, It looks to me like Farpost should get the points.

Please let me know if there is any reason not to recommend a forced accept.
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by:Gaud-wo
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Thanks for your help!
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