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Creating an installation image with RIPrep

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Creating an installation image with RIPrep

With the Remote Installation Preparation (RIPrep) Wizard, you can create an image of an existing installation and replicate that image to an available Remote Installation Services (RIS) server on the network. To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. You must also have permission to write to the RIS folders on the RIS server (the default name for the folder that contains all the RIS folders is RemoteInstall).

One way to ensure that you have permission to write to the RIS folders on the RIS server is to be explicitly assigned the permission. Another way is to have membership in the local Administrators group on the RIS server. For more information, see Default local groups and Default groups.

  1. It is recommended that you start by using RIS to install the operating system that you have chosen for the installation image. RIPrep can be used to create images only for the particular operating systems it supports, however. For complete information on which operating systems RIPrep supports, see Operating systems supported by Remote Installation Services.

    It is not necessary to install the operating system using RIS; you can install it from the CD instead.

  2. After you have installed the operating system, you should install the client computer applications that you want to deploy with clients.

    Important

    • If you want to install applications that do not comply with the Windows Installer technology, this is the step at which you should do so. You can also install applications that do comply with the Windows Installer technology.

  3. After you have installed the appropriate client computer applications, you should configure the source computer to conform to any required company desktop standards. For example, you might want to define specific screen colors, set the background bitmap to a company-based logo, remove any games installed by the base operating system, or configure Internet Explorer proxy settings. To save your desktop configuration, copy to the Default User profile the profile of the user who was logged in while the configuration changes were made. For instructions on how to copy user profiles, see Copy a user profile.

    Important

    • Before starting the Remote Installation Preparation Wizard, be sure to remove all confidential information from the source client computer.

  4. You should then close all applications and run the Remote Installation Preparation Wizard. For more information, see Create a Remote Installation Preparation Wizard image.

  5. The wizard configures the source computer to a generic state, removing anything that is unique to the client installation, such as the computer's unique security identifier (SID), computer name, and any registry settings unique to the client source computer.

  6. The wizard then prompts you for the installation information required by the image-creation process. This information includes the location where the client installation image should be replicated, the name of the directory it should be copied to on the server, and a friendly description and associated Help text that will describe the installation image to users who run the Client Installation Wizard.

    Because of memory limitations during the remote boot process, there are limits to the total text you can provide for a set of installation image choices. With a relatively large number of installation image choices, the friendly descriptions and Help text must be limited in length; with fewer choices, the friendly descriptions and Help text can be longer. It is not unusual to encounter these limits to total text when the number of installation image choices for client computers reaches approximately 12 to 16.

  7. After the replication is complete, the installation image is automatically added to the list of available operating system installation options and is available to client computers that use the remote boot technology. When you create new images using RIPrep, the image is available only to client computers that have the same type of Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL). Images that were created using RIPrep are available to all clients that are authorized to view them.

    Note

    • A remote boot-enabled client computer need not contain hardware that is identical (other than the HAL) to that of the source computer used to create the installation image. The Remote Installation Preparation Wizard uses the Plug and Play feature to detect any differences between the source and destination computers' hardware during the image installation process. This ensures that, for any Plug and Play device, the correct device driver is installed.

  8. You can control the installation choices available to clients by setting access control permissions on the installation image .sif files or, for greater control, on the folders that contain the installation image. For more information, see Allow or prevent the installing of a RIS image by a user or group and Allow or prevent the viewing and installing of a RIS image by a user or group.

Factors to consider when planning for RIPrep

The following sections describe factors to consider when planning to create an installation image with RIPrep. These include:

  • Requirements for the RIPrep replication process

  • Installation images, the product identification number, and licensing

  • Disk characteristics on the source client computer and the destination computers

Requirements for the RIPrep replication process

When planning to run RIPrep, it is important to understand requirements that must be met by the source client computer, the image, and the medium onto which the image is replicated.

  • The Remote Installation Preparation Wizard currently supports the replication of a single disk and a single boot partition of an installation to a single RIS server. This means that the operating system and all of the applications that make up the standard installation image must reside on a single partition of the source client computer.

  • The files on the source client computer must not be encrypted. Replication of encrypted files is not supported.

  • Modifications to replicated installation images are not supported.

  • The wizard allows source image replication only to available RIS servers. Currently, source replication to alternate drives or media types is not supported.

Installation images, the product identification number, and licensing

  • When you use the Remote Installation Preparation Wizard (RIPrep) to create an installation image of a client computer that was originally installed using a retail version of the operating system, you must modify the RIS unattended setup answer file (sif) to include the product identification number (PID). The PID is the unique identification number specific to each copy of the operating system.

    If the PID is not entered in the .sif file, the installation process will stop and prompt the user for the product identifier information during the installation of that RIPrep image. To prevent prompting your users for the PID, add the product identifier to the [UserData] section of the .sif file associated with this installation image.

    For example, you would type the following (including the dashes and quotation marks) into the [UserData] section of the .sif file:

    ProductKey = "xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx"

    For more information about product activation, see Windows Product Activation.

  • The source client computer will shut down when the image replication process is complete. The abbreviated Setup program runs automatically when the source computer restarts. You must complete the setup process if you want to use this client computer to create another installation image. You can create additional installation images only three times if you are using a Retail PID. A volume licensing PID permits you to create installation images more than three times, however.

  • All copies of Microsoft software made or installed using RIS must be properly licensed. All copies of non-Microsoft software made or installed using RIS must also be properly licensed; it is the licensee's obligation to ensure that non-Microsoft software is licensed to make any such copies.

Disk characteristics on the source client computer and the destination computers

When planning to run RIPrep, it is important to study the disk configuration that exists on the source client computer and then compare it to the disk configurations on the client computers on which the image will be installed. The following requirements apply:

  • The destination computer's disk capacity must be equal to or greater than that of the source computer.

  • The RIPrep installation image maintains the volume and partition characteristics of the disk on the source computer.

    The following example illustrates this, but describes the use of the file allocation table (FAT) and FAT32 file systems, which are not recommended. The recommended file system for RIS is the NTFS file system. The example is as follows. If you create an installation image from a source computer with a 2-gigabyte (GB) FAT volume, and you then install the image on a client computer with a 4-GB drive, the resulting installation will format the drive as a 4-GB volume using FAT32. The change in the destination computer file system type is dictated by the limits of the FAT file system. This type of change in the destination computer file system type (from FAT to another file system) does not work if the destination volume is larger than 32 GB. For destination volumes larger than 32 GB, the source computer must use the NTFS file system. For more information about file system compatibility and limitations, see Choosing a file system: NTFS, FAT, or FAT32.

  • Disk preparation of the destination computer must be identical to that of the source computer; any remaining disk capacity on the destination computer will be formatted unless you follow the instructions in the next item in this list. For example, if the source computer's disk capacity is 1 GB and the disk capacity of the destination computer is 2 GB, the entire 2 GB will be formatted on the destination computer.

  • You can change the information in the .sif file associated with an installation image to restrict the disk reformatting so that it will be the same as that which the source computer used to create the installation image. For example, open the Riprep.sif file located in the \\Server_name\REMINST\Setup\Applicable language\Images\Applicable image name\I386\Templates\Riprep.sif folder and modify the UseWholeDisk parameter to equal NO. When a client computer installs this image, the disk will be formatted to match the capacity of the source computer, and the remainder of the destination computer's disk will be unformatted.

Note

  • This topic does not apply to Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

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