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Vista unattended over the network

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I'm starting to get the hang of creating answer files and putting together a package, but I'm a little confused about how to do it in a server environment with a domain.

I looked at Windows Deployment Services, but that seems to only work with DHCP, and my network is all static IPs. So is my best bet to go with Business Desktop Deployment? I've tinkered with that, but I'm feeling a little lost (even after reading Microsoft's guide). :wacko:

Is anyone here doing a server deployment of Vista that could give a quick overview of their setup? That might get me on the right track.

For example, for a new workstation with a blank hard drive -- do I boot it to the network with a DOS boot disk, connect to the server, and pull down the installation (like I did with XP)? Or do I somehow push the install from the server?

Edited by Professor Frink
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I use 2 methods with server installs

1) Use DHCP and have RIS with WDS and I have the PXE load the WINPE 2.0 and have my script automated to auto install

2) I use DHCP and boot the workstation with a WinPE CD and net use the Vista folder on the server and run my automated scriped example in tyhe Vista folder setup /unattend:w:\configsets\ultimate\autounattend.xml

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I wish I could use WDS, but that seems to only work with DHCP. :wacko:

But in regards to booting to a WinPE CD and then kicking off the install from the server... is there a way to automate a bunch of commands after it finishes booting to the PE, sort of like an old-school autoexec.bat? I'm sure there is, but I can't find out how to do that. I would want to create a partition and format it, then set the static IP information, map a drive to the server, and start the install.

Is there a way to automate all those commands after booting to the WinPE CD?

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Yes there is a way to accomplish it, because I've done it.

What needs to be done is an edit of the image file of winpe. Located inside of this there is a file called startnet.cmd, located in the windows folder or the system32 folder. There add the commands you need to start your install.

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