Reader to Reader: Win2K Installation Folder

My company recently migrated to Windows 2000 Server, and we needed to test whether our Windows NT 4.0 disaster-recovery procedures would work for Win2K. We had a procedure for using a backup tape to perform a full restore of an NT 4.0 server. As part of the procedure, we set up a temporary NT installation in C:\nts, installed Computer Associates' (CA's) ARCserve Client Agent for Windows NT, then performed a full restore—which restores the original NT installation in C:\winnt. When we tested Win2K Server, we discovered that you can't install the OS in a nonstandard installation folder (e.g., C:\nts) on a clean machine with no previous Win2K installation. (The Microsoft articles "Windows Setup Does Not Prompt for Installation Folder" at;en-us;q222939 and "No Setup Option to Select Installation Folder" at;en-us;q197057 provide more information about this limitation.)

One workaround is to modify the txtsetup.sif file to include the alternative installation folder path, then create new boot disks or burn a new copy of the Win2K Server CD-ROM to include this customization. After some experimentation, we discovered a more convenient workaround that doesn't require you to modify your Win2K boot disks or CD-ROMs. Our procedure lets you use an original Win2K Server CD-ROM and forces Win2K Server's setup program to let you select a different installation folder.

  1. On a clean server, use the Win2K Server CD-ROM to boot the machine.
  2. If your server hardware requires additional third-party or updated disk drivers to boot, press F6 when the Win2K Server setup program instructs you to do so, to supply the additional drivers from a 3.5" disk.
  3. When prompted, press R for Repair.
  4. When prompted, press C for Console.
  5. In the Win2K Recovery Console, enter
  6. diskpart

    to load the disk-partition tool.

  7. Create the C partition.
  8. Press Esc to exit the Diskpart disk-partition tool.
  9. Enter
  10. format c: /q /FS:NTFS

    to format the C partition with NTFS.

  11. Press Y to confirm the format command.
  12. Enter
  13. d:

    to switch to the CD-ROM drive. (To determine which drive is your CD-ROM drive, enter


    at the Win2K Recovery Console command prompt.)

  14. Enter
  15. copy autorun.inf c:\winnt

    to create a \winnt file on the C drive. (This \winnt file fools the Win2K Server setup program into thinking a previous Win2K Server installation exists. Thus, you can select an installation folder other than \winnt.)

  16. To switch to the C drive, enter
  17. c:
  18. Enter
  19. dir

    to list the C drive's contents. (Verify that the file \winnt exists on the C drive.)

  20. Enter
  21. exit

    to exit the Recovery Console and reboot the server. Leave the Win2K Server CD-ROM in the CD-ROM drive.

  22. If your server hardware requires additional third-party or updated disk drivers to boot, press F6 when the Win2K Server setup program instructs you to do so, to supply the additional drivers from a 3.5" disk.
  23. Press Enter to continue with the Win2K Server installation.
  24. Press F8 to accept the Win2K licensing agreement.
  25. Select the C partition in the disk-partition tool.
  26. Select Leave the current file system intact (no changes). In other words, don't format the C drive.
  27. Press Esc to select Different Folder.
  28. Enter
  29. \nts

    for the Win2K Server installation folder.

  30. Complete the Win2K Server installation. Then, delete the C:\winnt file. Win2K Server is now installed in the C:\nts directory.

For full server restores, install your backup server software's backup agent on the temporary Win2K Server installation. Then, restore the original Win2K Server installation from the backup tape. The backup software will restore the original Win2K Server installation in the C:\winnt directory. Reboot into the restored Win2K installation, verify the drive-letter assignments, and perform a dynamic-disk fix if necessary. (For information about this type of fix, see the Microsoft article "'Internal Error - Disk Group Exists and Is Imported' Error Message While Importing Foreign Disk" at;enus;q260113.) Finally, delete the C:\ntsdirectory.

TAGS: Windows 8
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