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Multi-client Windows Server 2003 installation

Posted on 2006-11-21
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Last Modified: 2010-03-18
I must install Windows Server 2003 on a network with 20 client computers; can it be installed on one and then copied from there to the remaining 19 computers? Or must it be individually installed on each computer?
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Question by:Oooozzd
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Rob Williams earned 500 total points
ID: 17992640
You can use a cloning program such as Ghost or Acronis to create an image of the initial machine, then the image can be installed on each machine in about 10 minutes. The image can contain not only the Windows operating system, but other applications and updates as well. However, before doing this you MUST run the Microsoft Sysprep utility on the initial machine. Sysprep removes any of the unique identifiers from the initial machine such as computer name, domain and most importantly it's SID (Security Identifier) which must be unique to each machine. The procedure is to run sysprep, sysprep will make the necessary changes and shut down the machine, do not restart it, create the image, then copy the image to your other machines, and on boot you will be prompted for the machine specific information such as computer name, network connection information and CD key. You will also then have to join each computer to the domain, and re-join the one on which you ran sysprep You can also script this part. Sysprep is available from the support folder of the windows install CD. Note: you require the appropriate CD keys/licensing to do this you cannot use the same CD key for all machines unless it is a volume license with the proper number of licenses.
http://www.symantec.com/home_homeoffice/products/overview.jsp?pcid=br&pvid=ghost10
http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/products/ATICW/
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302577
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by:Oooozzd
ID: 17993223
Hi RobWill,
      That is exactly what I needed to hear, thanks! I appreciate your input and your obviously knowledgeable guidance on this subject. I have just started working with Server 03, and I was not sure how to proceed. Your the best!
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 17993393
Thanks Oooozzd, you are very welcome.
If you haven't done any cloning before, worth taking some time, even if not now, and learning to do it. Seems a bit complicated on the first one, but it's actually very easy and nice to have the image/s even if just for repairs down the road. On a fast machine you can reload it in about 10 minutes and 1/2 hour to configure, instead of hours loading the O/S, updates and applications.

There are other options as well for installing the O/S, if you want to look into them; RIS (Remote Installations Service) where the O/S is installed from the server on the workstation, and unattended installs where you can use a small text answer file on a floppy to automate the O/S install.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/deploy/depovg/depxpii.mspx

Good luck with it.
--Rob
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