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Remote Installation Services (RIS) for 64-bit Operating Systems

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 with SP1

What does Remote Installation Services (RIS) do?

The Remote Installation Services feature simplifies the task of installing an operating system on computers throughout an organization. It provides a mechanism for computers to connect to a network server during the initial boot process, while the server controls a local installation of Windows. This can be used either to install the correct configuration of the operating system on a new computer, or to restore a failed computer to a known operating system configuration.

Who does this feature apply to?

This feature applies to IT professionals who want to use RIS to deploy x64-based operating system images in an enterprise.

What new functionality is added to this feature in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Support for x64 operating system images

Detailed description

Remote Installation Services in Windows Server 2003 supported the installation of Windows Server 2003 Itanium-based editions using RISETUP. With Windows Server 2003 SP1, Remote Installation Services now supports the deployment of both RISETUP and RIPREP images for the x64 architecture.

There are two methods for adding operating system images to a Remote Installation Services (RIS) computer – RISETUP and RIPREP. RISETUP images are images built from the Windows CD media. When adding the images, a path to the Windows setup files, either on CD or on a network share, must be specified. RISETUP images are generally added by one of three methods:

  • Using the Remote Installation Services Setup option from the Start menu of the RIS server. To start Remote Installation Services Setup, click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Add a new OS image to this remote installation server.

  • Using the Add a new installation image option available from the Properties tab of the RIS server in the Active Directory Users and Computers Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in.

  • Running the RISETUP /add command from a command prompt on the RIS server.

RIPREP-generated images are also file system based images located on a RIS server. However, unlike RISETUP images, RIPREP images more closely resemble the hard disk images created using a third-party disk-imaging tool and the Windows System Preparation tool (Sysprep). RIPREP images are created by running the RIPREP wizard (Riprep.exe) on a master computer that has the operating system configuration, applications and settings, and desktop customizations that are to be captured and deployed to client computers in the organization.

With the changes in Windows Server 2003 SP1, RISETUP and RIPREP images created for x64-based operating systems can be deployed from a RIS server of any architecture – be that a 32-bit operating system, an x64-based operating system, or an Itanium-based operating system.

Why is this change important?

This change enables the rapid deployment of x64-based versions of Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP throughout an enterprise by leveraging Remote Installation Services (RIS) as the image deployment mechanism.

What works differently?

In order to support x64-based RIPREP and RISETUP images, several pieces of functionality were added to Remote Installation Services (RIS).

RISETUP

Beginning with Windows Server 2003 SP1, RISETUP now allows for the addition of x64-based images to the RIS server. Prior to Windows Server 2003 SP1, trying to add a RISETUP x64-based image would result in the following error message:

A file that is needed to set up the installation image on the server was not found.

This may indicate that the image source is corrupt or that the source is not a valid Windows installation source.

Verify that the path you entered points to a valid Windows installation source.

This message occurred because prior to Windows Server 2003 SP1 RISETUP did not include the x64-based image structure when examining the source media. RISETUP would find an i386 directory in the CD image source; however, RISETUP would not find all of the files defined for the source. Therefore, the program determined that the image source was missing files and displayed the appropriate error condition.

Changes to RISETUP were also necessary to populate the \\RIS_Server\RemInst\Admin\amd64 folder with the x64-based version of RIPREP. The x64-based version of RIPREP only ships on x64-based editions of Windows (both client and server). However, it is possible to deploy x64-based images from x86-based and Itanium-based Windows Server 2003 SP1 RIS servers. In these cases, the x64-based RIPREP files would not natively be on the x86-based and Itanium-based servers.

Each RIPREP image requires a supporting RISETUP image. So, before a RIPREP image of an x64-based version of Windows Server 2003 SP1 can be made, a RISETUP image of an x64-based version of Windows Server 2003 SP1 must first be loaded to the RIS server. On the initial RISETUP load of the x64-based image, the necessary 64-bit files for RIPREP – Riprep.exe, Riprep.inf, and Setupcl.exe – are copied from the x64-based RISETUP image location (either flat image or CD) and placed in the \RemoteInstall\Admin\amd64 folder. In addition, a file version checking mechanism has been put in place to ensure that the most up-to-date versions of Riprep.exe, Riprep.inf, and Setupcl.exe are in place on the RIS server. If the file versions in the copied x64-based RISETUP image are newer than the existing x64-based versions on the RIS server, the RIS server versions will be updated to contain the latest available versions of the files. This is the desired behavior since Riprep.exe, Riprep.inf, and Setupcl.exe are backwards compatible. If the existing x64-based versions in the copied x64-based RISETUP image are the same as or older than the existing x64-based version on the RIS server, the files on the RIS server will remain untouched.

Client Installation Wizard

Remote Installation Services (RIS) provides a set of Client Installation Wizard (CIW) screens that prompt a user through the installation of an operating system. These screens are maintained as simple text files in an OS Chooser Markup Language (OSCML) format and stored with an .osc extension.

You can customize and tailor these screens to include Help Desk phone numbers, additional contact information, or any other additional information using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) 2.0. The Client Installation Wizard screens are kept in the RemoteInstall\OSChooser\Language directory.

Windows Server 2003 SP1 includes changes to the Client Installation Wizard (CIW) screens to allow for the selection of 32-bit or 64-bit operating systems when both are available as installation options.

A new .osc screen, x8664.osc, was added. This new screen, in conjunction with its associated registry settings, allows the system administrator to restrict or filter operating system selection based on architecture for x64-based RIS clients.

With the x64 architecture, computers can run either 32-bit or 64-bit operating systems. To assist in the selection process, the new .osc screen, x8664.osc, is placed in the RemoteInstall\OSChooser\Language directory upon copy of the first Windows Server 2003 SP1 RISETUP image. If the Windows Server 2003 SP1 RISETUP image is the first image to be uploaded to the RIS server, the new x8664.osc screen will be copied by default. If there are existing images on the RIS server at the time the first Windows Server 2003 SP1 image is added, the installer must choose the option to overwrite (or backup and overwrite) the .osc screens during the installation to get the new screen.

noteNote
If custom actions or automations exist in the .osc screen flow, choosing to overwrite the .osc screens upon RISETUP of an image may cause those customizations to be lost.

The x8664.osc screen is used to determine whether the operating system choices displayed to the end-user will be 32-bit x86-based or 64-bit x64-based when the booting client computer is x64-based. The behavior is controlled using manual selection of the appropriate installation choice on x8664.osc. Alternatively, a new registry setting, DefaultPlatformforX8664, found at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\BINLSVC\Parameters, may be used to force all x64-based clients to see only one architecture of images, x86-based or x64-based. For example, if the registry value is set to i386, only i386 operating system images will be displayed in OSChoice.osc. If the registry value is set to amd64, only x64-based operating system images will be displayed in OSChoice.osc. If the registry value is not set, then the default behavior will cause the x8664.osc screen to prompt for user input. At that point the user can choose one of two available choices:

  • Install Microsoft Windows 32-bit Edition

  • Install Microsoft Windows 64-bit Edition

Choosing the first option limits installation image choices to only 32-bit operating systems. If only one 32-bit operating system image exists, the CIW will proceed directly on to warning.osc. Choosing the second option limits installation image choices to only 64-bit operating systems. If only one 64-bit operating system image exists, the CIW will proceed directly on to warning.osc.

Some other points of clarification regarding the new x8664.osc screen behavior:

  • The x8664.osc screen will only be seen by x64-based client computers. Computers running x86-based and Itanium-based operating systems will not see the new screen.

  • If no Windows Server 2003 SP1 RISETUP images (or Windows XP Professional x64 Edition images) exist on the RIS server, the new behavior will not be in place. This is because the new x8664.osc screen is not copied to the server until the first upload of a Windows Server 2003 SP1 (or Windows XP Professional x64 Edition) RISETUP image.

  • If the new x8664.osc screen was not copied on upload of the first x64 RISETUP image (for example, if the Administrator chose to keep the current .osc screens and not copy the new .osc screens on x64-based RISETUP image creation), the new functionality will not be in place. To obtain the new functionality to restrict x64-based RIS client computers to only view x86-based 32-bit or x64-based 64-bit operating system images, the new .osc screens must be in place and the registry value must be configured appropriately.

  • A third option, Install Default Windows, can be seen in the x8664.osc screen source. This option allows the x8664.osc screen to be automatically processed with no user interaction. This option will be used in the following situations:

    • If the booting client computer is not x64-based. If the client computer is x86-based or Itanium-based, installation using the Client Installation Wizard will continue automatically and the user will not be prompted for input in x8664.osc.

    • If a Windows Server 2003 SP1 x86-based or Itanium-based RISETUP image is placed on a RIS server that is running Windows Server 2003 without Service Pack 1. In this case, it is possible that the new x8664.osc will be placed on a Windows Server 2003 RIS server if the option to replace .osc screens was chosen upon image upload. Since the RIS server has not been updated it does not have the ability to process the new Install 32-bit Windows and Install 64-bit Windows options in x8664.osc. Since the default option is the only menu choice populated, it is processed and the screen is bypassed.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting menu

64-bit maintenance and troubleshooting tools can be provided to users through the Client Installation Wizard (CIW). To do this, the existing tools.osc screen was repurposed and a new CIW screen, Tlchoice.osc, was implemented.

There are two paths that can be taken when choosing an operating system image to deploy from within the Client Installation Wizard. The first path involves selection of either Automatic Setup or Custom Setup from the Choice.osc screen. When choosing either of these options, a computer account, if one does not already exist, will be created in Active Directory. In the former case, Remote Installation Services creates the account on behalf of the user based on policy as stored in Active Directory. In the latter case, the user may choose both the computer name and location (for example, Organizational Unit) when creating the computer account. The second path involves selection of the Maintenance and Troubleshooting menu option from the Choice.osc screen. This installation method differs from the first in that no computer account will be created. The most common use of starting an operating system from the Maintenance and Troubleshooting menu option is starting the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) to aid in operating system deployment. Because Windows PE is usually an “interim” operating system – used to start a computer temporarily before applying an operating system image – creating a computer account in Active Directory at this point is not useful.

There are two ways that Windows PE images can be made available from the Maintenance and Troubleshooting menu option on the Choice.osc screen:

  • Setting ‘Imagetype=WinPE’ in the [OSChooser] section of Ristndrd.sif answer file.

  • Creating a \Tools folder at the same level as \Images (for example, \RemoteInstall\Setup\Language\Tools) and placing the folder structure containing the Windows PE image into the \Tools folder.

X64-based computers can run either 32-bit or 64-bit maintenance and troubleshooting tools. To assist the user in the selection process, the Tools.osc screen has been updated to present the user a choice of two options:

  • Display 32-bit Tools

  • Display 64-bit Tools

Choosing the first option displays only 32-bit tools in the new Tlchoice.osc screen. Selecting the second option displays only 64-bit tools in the Tlchoice.osc screen. Functionality that was previously in the Tools.osc screen has been moved to the Tlchoice.osc screen.

Some points of clarification regarding the new Tools.osc and Tlchoice.osc behavior:

  • The Tools.osc screen will only be seen by x64-based clients. X86-based and Itanium-based clients will not see the screen.

  • If no Windows Server 2003 SP1 RISETUP images (or Windows XP Professional x64 Edition images) exist on the RIS server, the new behavior will not be in place. This is because the new Tlchoice.osc screen and the updated Tools.osc screen will not be copied to the server until the first upload of Windows Server 2003 SP1 (or Windows XP Professional x64 Edition images) RISETUP image.

  • If the new Tlchoice.osc screen and updated Tools.osc screen were not copied on upload of the first x64 RISETUP image (for example, the administrator chose to keep the current .osc screens and not copy the new .osc screens on x64 RISETUP image creation), the new functionality will not be in place. To obtain the new functionality to restrict x64 RIS client machines to only view x86 32-bit or x64 64-bit maintenance and troubleshooting tools, the new .osc screens must be in place and the registry value must be configured appropriately.

  • The same registry value that controls the x8664.osc behavior in the Automatic Setup and Custom Setup choices, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\ BINLSVC\Parameters\DefaultPlatformForX8664 (REG_SZ), also controls the Maintenance and Troubleshooting behavior.

In some situations the Tools.osc screen will be automatically processed with no user interaction required. This is accomplished through the third option Display Default Tools that can be seen in the Tools.osc screen source. This option is used in the following situations:

  • The booting client computer is not x64-based. If the client computer is x86-based or Itanium-based, installation via the Client Installation Wizard will continue automatically and the user will not be prompted for input in Tools.osc.

  • A Windows Server 2003 SP1 x86 or Itanium RISETUP image is placed on a Windows Server 2003 RTM RIS server. In this case, it is possible that the new Tools.osc is placed on a RIS server running Windows Server 2003 RTM if the option to replace .osc screens was chosen upon image upload of a Windows Server 2003 SP1 image. Because the RIS server program has not been updated to Windows Server 2003 Service Pack1, the RIS server does not have the logic to process the new Display 32-bit Tools and Display 64-bit Tools options in the Tools.osc screen. Because the default option is the only menu choice pre-populated, it is processed and the screen is bypassed.

noteNote
As a consequence of the changes in Windows Server 2003 SP1, the screen menu order for the Maintenance and Troubleshooting menu option has changed as follows:

  1. Choice.osc

  2. Tools.osc

  3. TLchoice.osc

What settings are added or changed in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1?

 

Setting name Location Previous default value Default value Possible values

DefaultPlatformForX8664

HKLM\System \CurrentControlSet \Services\BINLSVC \Parameters

N/A

Not set

Not set

(Platform type to be selected by users in x8664.osc)

i386

(Only display x86-based images in OSChoice.osc)

amd64

(Only display x64-based images in OSChoice.osc)

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