Tech Tips / Windows 2000 Server / Installation and Configuration



Remote Installation Services

Remote Installation Services (RIS) is a special set of services in Windows 2000 that allows for installation of Windows 2000 Professional on client computers without administrator assistance. End users have to turn the computer on, press [F12], log in to the domain, and voila, the OS is installed.

A lot of services work together to provide this functionality. RIS uses DHCP, DNS, AD, TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol), and a special service called BINL (Boot Image Negotiation Layer). On the client side, the computer, especially the network card, has to support PXE (preboot execution environment). PXE lets a computer use a network card as a boot device, allowing you to start the computer not only from floppy, hard drive, or CD, but also from the network.

The process of installing Windows 2000 on the client machines from the network is as follows:

  1. The user starts the computer and presses [F12].
  2. The network card tries to get an IP address from the DHCP server.
  3. It also asks for the name of the computer that holds the bootstrap program, BINL.
  4. TFTP downloads the boot image to the computer and starts the Client Installation Wizard.
  5. The wizard prompts for username and password.
  6. Windows 2000 is then installed.

If the network card doesn't have PXE, remote-boot ROM users can use a special bootable floppy to connect to the RIS server. Care should be taken, however, because this bootable floppy doesn't support many network cards—only a few cards from 3Com, AMD, Compaq, DEC, HP, Intel, and SMC are supported.

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