What Is Setup?

Updated: March 28, 2003

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


What Is Setup?

In this section

The Setup program in Windows Server 2003 provides a method for carrying out an interactive installation or upgrade on a single computer. The Setup program is also the basis for the following installation or upgrade methods that are not interactive: unattended installation, Remote Installation Services (RIS), and image-based installation with the System Preparation tool (Sysprep).

Running Setup interactively is a simple way to accomplish a server installation or upgrade. The installation or upgrade can be carried out from the CD drive or across the network (after you share the installation files that are on the product CD). No preparatory work related to creating answer files or images is necessary. In contrast, installation methods that are not interactive require preparatory work, but are more efficient in the context of a large-scale rollout. Installation methods that are not interactive are also useful for achieving consistency and precision in the configuration on each server.

How Interactive Setup Differs from Installation Methods That Are Not Interactive

Interactive Setup involves a simple repeating process in which Setup alternates between prompting for information and performing the appropriate tasks, such as copying files, saving settings, and so on. The following figure shows how the process repeats until the installation or upgrade is complete.

Interactive Installation or Upgrade

Interactive Installation or Upgrade

In contrast, for installation methods that are not interactive, the input does not come from a person responding to prompts, but from another source, such as an answer file (for unattended installation or RIS) or an operating system image (for Sysprep or RIS).

Related Information

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