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Product: Codename "Whistler" Server and Advanced Server Beta 2
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price: N/A
Review By: Stewart Saathoff

Installation (Remote Installation Services)

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Installation (Remote Installation Services)
3: Configuring DNS
4: Configuring Your Server
5: Installation of Active        Directory
6: Setting Up and Configuring IIS 5.1 (or 6.0)
7: Microsoft SharePoint
8: Administrative Enhancements
9: Terminal Services
10: Conclusion

Installation is very straight forward; it encompasses a wide range of options, as a server can take many different roles in your organization.  In this section I will outline how Windows Whistler handles basic installations of the system and some of the more advanced unattended options that Whistler now has.  There will be sections later in the article that outline how server configuration is done after the system is installed. 


If you have ever set up a Windows 2000 Server, then you will not see that many differences.  By default, Whistler installs as a basic Network Server, just as it did in Windows 2000.  The only thing that is different is the additional components.  The process of adding these additional components is the same as in 2000.


In previous versions of Windows, Microsoft gave you the ability to create unattended installations of the Server versions using unattended answer files, and when Windows 2000 debuted, RIS came into existence.  Essentially, RIS is one of the major components of Intellimirror.  RIS in Windows 2000 allowed an administrator to create pre-packaged versions of Windows 2000 Professional to deploy to clients with minimal administrative interaction.  This was nice, for client deployments, but deploying a Server was not an option for RIS in Windows 2000.  In Whistler, Microsoft has addressed this issue and promises that they can deploy a server just as easily and quickly as it takes to deploy a client using RIS.


For RIS to run properly in your environment there are some things that have to be running in your environment.  There are specifically three things that need to be running, DNS, Active Directory, and DHCP.  Active Directory is required because you must authenticate with a Domain Controller to begin a RIS installation.  You must also have a place to store the newly created computer account in the domain.  Active Directory is also responsible for keeping track of which servers are valid DHCP Servers and RIS Servers, because both have to be Authorized in Active Directory before they can start responding to client requests.  DNS is required because Active Directory requires DNS.  DHCP is required because each client requires an IP Address to communicate with a RIS Server.


To create an Image of Whistler Server for RIS to deploy, you must first open the Remote Installation Services Setup Wizard.  Execute the RISETUP command from the run dialog box to begin this process.  The Setup wizard asks you for the location of the CD where the setup files reside.  This can be the Server installation files or the Professional installation files, depending on what type of RIS image you want to create.  Click Browse on the screen that requests the Installation files and go to the folder that contains the Whistler Server, or Professional, I386 folder.  When you click next, the Friendly description and Help Text Dialog Boxes appear.  These boxes automatically fill in a default description for whichever OS you choose.  As you can see in the screenshot displayed below, I inserted the Whistler Advanced Server disk when I ran RIPREP.

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After the Remote Installation Service has been installed and configured on your Server, you can create answer files and associate them with the images to further automate the process.  There are two ways to create answer files, through a common text editor, like Notepad, or by using the Setup Manager Utility.  The Setup Manager utility can be found on Windows Whistler CD Rom in the Support/Tools folder.  There is a CAB file there called  Extract its contents to a folder somewhere on your computer.  Once extraction has completed, execute the setupmgr.exe file and the application will start.  Setup Manager creates answer files with a GUI interface.  SIF files are generated for RIS installations.  After the file has been generated, you can edit it with Notepad to get more specific on what you want the answer file to automate.  Some ones of interest are:

In the [UserData] section:

  • ProductKey – This option allows you to specify the Product ID for XP or Whistler so that you don’t have to fill that in later.

In the [Unattended] section:

  • AutoActivate – This tells the OS to automatically register with Microsoft once setup is complete.
  • ActivateProxy – This allows you to specify Proxy Server settings so that if you are behind a Proxy, you can still get out to the internet to activate Windows.

  In the [DCInstall] section:

  • ChildName – This is the DNS name associated with the Child Domain.  For example, if you type “Europe” here and your domain name is “,” then your domain’s full name would be
  • CreateOrJoin – If you specify to create a new tree, this option will have you wither Join an existing Forest or Create a new Forest.
  • DomainNetBiosName - This will be the Domain’s NetBios name.
  •   NewDomain – This option lets you specify which type of domain that you would like to create.  You can choose between a new Forest, Child, or Tree.
  •   ParentDomainDNSName – If you select the new domain to be a child domain, then this option gives you the ability to choose what domain you will become a child of.
  •   TreeOrChild – Specifies whether the new domain will be a new Tree or Child.

  Here is a screenshot of the New Setup Manager option Window:

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If you want to apply a SIF file to a RIS Server, you have to go into Active Directory Users and Computers to do so.  Once there, you have to navigate to the Server that you have designated as the RIS server and go to its properties.  Select the Remote Install tab and click the Advanced Settings button.  Go to the Images tab and click Add, then follow the on-screen directions.  After you finish the wizard, you will see all of the customized images on your machine.  The screenshot below shows all of this.

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