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Advanced settings for installation images

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Advanced settings for installation images

You can use Remote Installation Services (RIS) to manage the operating system installation options for RIS users. During the base installation of RIS, you are prompted to add a default operating system installation image to the remote installation-enabled server. This image installation process copies the compact disc contents and directory structure to the RIS server.

The unattended installation process uses text files--which are called setup information (.sif) files --to store the configuration settings for the installation image. The information contained in the .sif file is processed each time a client computer uses the Client Installation Wizard to choose the installation image. By modifying the .sif file for the installation image, you can predetermine the configuration settings for each client installation image. For example, if all of your client computers have the same type of display devices, you can set the screen resolution prior to installation by modifying the [Display] information of the .sif file. For more information on unattended Setup, see the Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Reference, located in \Support\Tools\ on the CD for products in the Windows Server 2003 family.


  • The information you put in the [ImageType] field of the .sif file is limited to 64 bytes. If you put in more than 64 bytes, the installation will fail.

For additional information about ways you can use .sif files, see Installation options available through RIS.

If you are creating an installation image using the Remote Installation Preparation Wizard (RIPrep), you can also use a .sif file to change how the client computer disk drive is partitioned. While the Client Installation Wizard is running, the installation image that the user selects is copied to the client computer. If the default disk preparation of the destination computer is not identical to that of the source computer, any remaining disk capacity on the destination computer is partitioned. For example, if the source computer disk capacity is 1 gigabyte (GB) and the disk capacity of the destination computer is 2 GB, the entire 2 GB are formatted on the destination computer.

By changing the information in the .sif file associated with an installation image, you can restrict the disk reformatting to be the same as the source computer used to create the installation image. For example, suppose you open the Riprep.sif file and modify the UseWholeDisk parameter to NO. When a client computer installs this image, the disk is formatted to match the capacity of the source computer. The disk and source computer then become identical. The rest of the destination computer's disk remains unformatted.

For additional background information about how RIPrep works, see Creating an installation image with RIPrep. For instructions on running RIPrep, see Create a Remote Installation Preparation Wizard image.


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

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