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Enabling Emergency Management Services during a new installation

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Enabling Emergency Management Services during a new installation

You can initiate an Emergency Management Services embedded installation when you start the computer from the Windows Server 2003 operating system CD if your system supports firmware console redirection and the Serial Port Console Redirection (SPCR) table.

Before you begin a CD-based Windows Server 2003 operating system Setup, enable firmware console redirection. You can then remotely view and respond to the prompt Press any key to boot from CD-ROM, which appears when you start the system using the operating system CD.

Emergency Management Services configures itself during a bootable CD installation by reading the SPCR table. If Emergency Management Services is enabled, you are prompted at the end of text-mode Setup to allow Setup to automatically configure your system without user input. You must choose this option; otherwise, the next portion of Setup, known as GUI-mode Setup, completes only if you provide input through a local monitor and keyboard. After Setup is complete, you can reconfigure the setting appropriately.

If your firmware does not support the SPCR table, you must fully automate your setup. If your firmware supports the SPCR table, and you want to disable Emergency Management Services, you can configure Setup using Unattend.txt and Winnt.sif files.

Unattend.txt and Winnt.sif files

You must have the Unattend.txt and Winnt.sif files if you want to fully automate the remote installation of a Windows Server 2003 operating system.

A sample Unattend.txt file is provided on the operating system CD. You can either use the default settings or customize your installations by modifying or adding parameters. When you edit the Unattend.txt files, insert the parameters in the [Data] section, as shown in the following table:


[Data] Parameter Possible values


  • com1 or com2 (where 1 or 2 specifies serial port 1 or 2). This option is valid for x86-based systems only.

  • usebiossettings

    This is the default value. This parameter instructs the operating system to detect and use SPCR settings. If you use this parameter and an SPCR table is not present, Emergency Management Services is not enabled.


EMSBaudRate= value

The default value is 9600 baud, with the values of 19200, 57600, and 115200 possible, depending on the capabilities of the serial port. This must be used with EMSPort= or the parameter is ignored.

You can create a Winnt.sif file by copying an Unattend.txt file to a floppy disk and renaming it to Winnt.sif. Because CD media is read-only, CD-based Windows Server 2003 operating system installations must read custom setup information from the floppy drive. The table later in this topic lists unattended Setup parameters required for Winnt.sif. When editing a Winnt.sif file, insert the parameters listed in both tables into the [Data] section.

For remote Setup to complete successfully without a local keyboard or monitor, you must configure your setup scripts so they are completely unattended. For more information about unattended Setups, see "Emergency Management Services" at the Microsoft Windows Resource Kits Web site.


[Data] Parameter Possible values


Allows unattended Setup to choose a partition in which to install. The value must be set to 1 for unattended Setups. If you do not set the value, text-mode Setup stops and waits for your input.


Informs the Setup Loader that an unattended installation is occurring directly from the CD. The value must be set to 0 for unattended Setups.


The value must always be set to Yes for CD-based unattended installations.


  • To use Winnt.sif files, you must set the CD-ROM as the primary boot device and leave the floppy disk containing a Winnt.sif file in the floppy drive.

  • Unattended Setups for Windows Server 2003 operating systems do not pause for user input. With console redirection, you can view text-mode Setup remotely for monitoring purposes.

For specific examples and additional information about creating unattended setups, see "Emergency Management Services" at the Microsoft Windows Resource Kits Web site.

Remote Installation Services (RIS)

With Remote Installation Services (RIS), you can install a Windows Server 2003 operating system on computers without being physically present at those computers. If the firmware on the target computers supports Pre-Boot eXecution Environment (PXE), console redirection, and the Serial Port Console Redirection (SPCR) table, you can use Emergency Management Services to initiate and complete Setup from remote setup media.

If your firmware does not support the SPCR table, you can configure your Emergency Management Services settings in the RISTNDRD.txt file just as you would configure them in the normal setup scripts, Unattend.txt and Winnt.sif. If your firmware does not support console redirection, you can use special versions of that output to a generic serial port, com1 or com2, at 9600 baud.

For more information about remote installation, see RIS and PXE requirements.

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