Installing Terminal Services with RIS: Part 1

Last week, we explored one way to automate the installation of Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services as part of an unattended Win2K installation. Now let's look at a method that uses Remote Installation Services (RIS).

Fundamentally, RIS performs a network-dependent automated installation from a script or image. It can install Win2K from the raw i386 directory (a "typical" installation), from an unattended installation script with or without answer files, or from prepped images whose machine-specific data has been stripped out (as with SysPrep).

RIS differs from other automated-installation methods in three ways. First, an RIS client machine doesn't require previously configured network support to access an RIS server. Second, you can easily tune the menu of installation images to install according to who's logged on. Third, the Single Instance Store (SIS) filter driver can save space by keeping only one copy of each duplicated file in the RIS images folder and referring to that copy in all other instances. This method isn't a universal solution for Win2K installation rollouts because of its dependence on a high-speed network connection and Active Directory (AD), but RIS has its uses, and when the process works, it's a painless way to install servers.

The process of making RIS capable of installing Terminal Services has two steps—making RIS work with a server and creating the interface that lets people pick and choose services. I'm going to skip forward to the key parts of making RIS install Terminal Services, so refer to the documentation if you're not familiar with how the service works. I also explained RIS in detail in the book I mentioned last week ("Automated Deployments and Remote Management," Sybex, 2001).

First, let's make RIS work with a server. You might know that RIS is designed to install Win2K Professional, not Win2K Server—left to itself, RIS won't install Win2K Server products. To make RIS install Win2K Server products, copy the \i386 folder from the Win2K Server CD-ROM to the hard disk. (I recommend that you put the folder in a server folder; otherwise, identify it as the server \i386 files.) In the \i386 folder containing the server installation files you'll find a text file called txtsetup.sif. Open this file with Notepad, look for the line ProductType = 1, and edit the line to read ProductType = 0. Save your changes and exit Notepad. You can now copy that \i386 folder to the RIS server as you typically would: From the DHCP Administrator, open the RIS server's Properties sheet, click the Advanced button on the Remote Install tab, and walk through the wizard to add the edited files to the RIS server's store of images. When you're finished, browse for txtsetup.sif in the image folder and restore the ProductType value to its original value of 1. RIS comes with a tool called RIPREP, which makes an image of a computer that you can then store on the RIS server to install on other computers. Sadly, there isn't any way to use this tool to take a snapshot of a terminal server—RIPREP won't run on a Win2K server.

RIS is now prepared to install a server image. Next week, we'll look at how you can create menu files to either automatically install Terminal Services with RIS or—better—to give the person running the installation the OPTION of installing Terminal Services.

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