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Unattended install through network


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Can anyone point me in the right direction for info on installing XP through a network share?

I want to keep my $OEM$ folder on my main computer and install XP on my other computers via a boot floppy thru the network

I have enough info now to get myself truly stuffed up but a little more would help.

I can silently install the following stuff if anyones interested:

Adobe 6,adaware se pro, nero 6.6.0.3,dot net,winrar 3.30, norton av 2005( couldnt get around the reboot but worked it in) musicmatch 9,winmx,UBD street directory, dvddecrypter 3.5.2.0,powerdvd 6,clonedvd2,yahoo,integrated media player 10.

Ive gotten all the info for these programs from here and to the people who submitted them a BIG thank you. :thumbup

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[uPDATE] Added the smartdrv.exe part [/uPDATE]

[uPDATE 2]

- Added link to pre-created image.

- Added fat32 part

- Added dos-filename part

[/uPDATE 2]

Step 1:

Get a network bootdisk. I suggest getting it here http://www.netbootdisk.com/ because this one supports A LOT of drivers (out-of-the-box). I have yet to find a network card that it doesn't. Even VMWare's is supported!

This is a pre-compiled image of the netboot52 disk.

Step 2:

Follow the steps at http://unattended.msfn.org/ and don't finalize your CD/DVD. Move the $OEM$ folder into the I386 folder. Share the folder which contains the I386 folder (for example XPCD). You might want to create a new user on the server, if you don't want to use the administrator's for security reasons.

Please make sure all your files are in the dos 8.3 (8 characters for the filename, 3 for the extension, and no spaces/special characters allowed) format, so that setup has no problem accessing them!

Step 3:

Now boot your network disk and connect to the share on your server.

If you use the http://www.netbootdisk.com/ then if the menu pops up (and the computer beeps) you should press a key to configurise the disk (needed only one time because the settings will be stored on the disk). The setting up itself is pretty easy. For example if you created a user on your server named unattended with password unattended then you should change these values accordingly. Also specify if you use DHCP or not. Then when the disk is completely loaded you can connect to the server using: net use z: \\servername\sharename

Of course if you use another bootdisk then this may be different.

Step 4:

Once connected:

Run smartdrv. Just load it in the memory using: lh smartdrv.exe. If you don't do this the setup will take REALLY LONG! I attached this file, because it isn't on the network bootdisk.

Run the setup using: \i386\winnt.exe /s:\i386 /u:\I386\winnt.sif

Unfortunately with this kind of install, you need a fat/fat32 partition where setup copies the temporary files. Needless to say you have to have enough free space on it!

Good luck! Remember to remove your disk once loaded because you don't want your computer to keep booting from the bootdisk! Also be patient, this type of installs always take longer!

SMARTDRV.zip

Edited by Afterdawn
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Yes, it isn't very difficult to set up. I also used it for a while, but I figured out I don't really need it. Ofcourse, you never have to burn another CD, but now I use a script that only installs all my applications and Windows hotfixes over the network (at GuiRunOnce fyi). So I only have to burn another CD when a Service Pack comes out..which isn't very often :)

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well even better is the open unatended server.

http://unattended.sourceforge.net/

You will find it very insteresting. And free. Those open source guys are really a big help most the time.

oh and running the netwrok stuff for app installs can be done through the network also.

Check this thread for how to.

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=35750

my post on how to fix the network install is here

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=35750&st=30

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yes I have all my important information on linux boxen running samba for sharing files. When you run a large network and you get tired of windows trashing or loosing your files once to many you will know what I mean.

Ris or the linux version is a server that lives to do nothing but install windows. Once you setup your boot disk there is nothing to do until everything is installed. It is completely unattended which includes installing apps and anything else needed. It is mostly used in big companies with large roleouts as they only have to set it up once and then roll say a couple hundred thousand systems with the same setup. Of course it also works well for much smaller number of installs.

Currently the only reason I don't use it is since I do mostly custom single systems at a time. In such cases I still need to givethe end user a cd so I simply build my own cd's for each system. I do however use the network to install all my extra apps, updates, registry tweaks and the like. It makes it much easier than trying to maintain a bunch of cd's or a single large install dvd.

The unattended server mentioned above as well as ris are mostly used by companies with corporate keys for installing windows but i guess could be setup for not doing it that way but i have never done so. The advantage of the site I listed is that it is free and does not cost you an arm and a leg like ris does.

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Step 1:

Get a network bootdisk. I suggest getting it here http://www.netbootdisk.com/ because this one supports A LOT of drivers (out-of-the-box). I have yet to find a network card that it doesn't. Even VMWare's is supported!

Step 2:

Follow the steps at http://unattended.msfn.org/ and don't finalize your CD/DVD. Move the $OEM$ folder into the I386 folder. Share the folder which contains the I386 folder (for example XPCD). You might want to create a new user on the server, if you don't want to use the administrator's for security reasons.

Step 3:

Now boot your network disk and connect to the share on your server.

If you use the  http://www.netbootdisk.com/ then if the menu pops up (and the computer beeps) you should press a key to configurise the disk (needed only one time because the settings will be stored on the disk). The setting up itself is pretty easy. For example if you created a user on your server named unattended with password unattended then you should change these values accordingly. Also specify if you use DHCP or not. Then when the disk is completely loaded you can connect to the server using: net use z: \\servername\sharename

Of course if you use another bootdisk then this may be different.

Step 4:

Once connected run the setup using: \i386\winnt.exe /s:\i386 /u:\I386\winnt.sif

Good luck! Remember to remove your disk once loaded because you don't want your computer to keep booting from the bootdisk!

Very nice Tip!! Many thx.

After i start \i386\winnt.exe /s:\i386 /u:\I386\winnt.sif, the blue windows screen came and it copy files. I "see" the files copy buttom right. But it never stopp. heavy to explain :blushing: In the main windows stand "Windows copy the files..." My HDD works a lot, but nothing happens. What can i do??

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, I tried this solution but when i type : \i386\winnt.exe /s:\i386 /u:\I386\winnt.sif

Windows installation lauch and i got a installation error : Windows need at least an hard drive with 512mb of ram to copy file needed .... etc etc ....

What is going on??

Windows is already installed on this system, if i do not boot usint the floppy i get in windows. The partition is in Ntfs but .... windows installation should be OK to see it no?

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Your missing the /t switch. From my own dos boot disk command,

@echo off
REM started in dos only
REM started from the boot disk
REM
if /i %OS% == Windows_NT echo Already Running Windows! Halting.
if /i %OS% == Windows_NT echo I can only be run from Baseline Builder Bootdisk
if /i %OS% == Windows_NT echo If you want to upgrade, run Upgrade2XP.bat
if /i %OS% == Windows_NT pause
if /i %OS% == Windows_NT goto end
echo Installing WinXP Full Reload Unattended Low Side
z:\WinXP\i386\winnt.exe /s:z:\WinXP\i386 /u:z:\WinXP\low.txt /t:c:\Source
:end

I use bart's modboot to get to this point and map my network drive to z: . Works out well since I have most new systems build overnight. This file goes on the server and I call differing versions of this based on the final loadout.

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