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Remote Installation Services overview

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Remote Installation Services overview

Remote Installation Services (RIS) is a change-and-configuration-management feature that is included in the Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 family operating systems.

You can use RIS to provide on-demand, image-based, operating system installations. This occurs over a network connection from a RIS server to a client computer. RIS can simplify the management of operating systems and applications and improve failure recovery.

You can use RIS to do the following:

  • Provide an operating system to users on demand. When a user starts a client computer, even if that computer contains no operating system, the RIS server can respond by installing an operating system over the network; no CD is required. To support this, client computers must use the Pre-Boot eXecution Environment (PXE), a remote-boot technology that allows the client computer to begin a boot sequence from the network adapter. For more information about the process through which RIS installs an operating system, see PXE architecture and Technologies and components used by Remote Installation Services.

  • Provide operating system images that include specific settings and applications--for example, an image that complies with a corporate desktop standard. A particular group of users can be offered the image or images that you designate for that group. For more information, see Creating an installation image with RIPrep.

  • Create automated installation images of products in the Windows Server 2003 family, as well as images of Windows XP and Windows 2000. For more information on the operating systems RIS supports, see Operating systems supported by Remote Installation Services.

In addition to using RIS in the ways already described, you can combine RIS with IntelliMirror features, such as user documents and settings, Software Installation, and Group Policy. This can improve the efficiency of computer management in your organization and reduce the number of technical support service calls. For more information about combining these features, see IntelliMirror.

For information on another alternative for starting a remote computer, see Emergency Management Services.


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