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Johnr

Creating a unattened NETWORK FILE SHARE XP?

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I am building a little file server for bits and pieces as my main PC is just being used too much for storage and it gets messy when I want to format and reinstall :D

Anyway I have 1 20gb hard drive installed (For the actual OS on the server) and then I am going to be fitting 4 WD1200 120gb hard drives (7200rpm) to the system. I will also be offering connection to it using a wireless connection and a wired ethernet connection. Obviously when attempting this project I will want to be using the wired connection :D

Has anybody tried to do such a project? I am expecting to have to create a boot CD for the clients to load network drivers and then point the system to the files on the network (file server) and let it get on with the job.

Any ideas? :thumbup

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Hi Johnr,

If you want to perform an unattended installation of Windows over a network you need the Microsoft OEM Pre-installation Kit, which I use at work daily for pre-loading machines (in an unattended fashion) with Windows XP before they get shipped to customers. Unfortunately the OEM Preinstallation Kit is only available to Microsoft OEM Customers who purchase 3 copies of Windows XP OEM in a bundle (you get 1 copy of the OEM Preinstallation Kit CD with the bundle of 3 OEM copies of Windows XP). That said, if you know anyone in the industry they will probably be using them as drink coasters, or you could search around online for an ISO. :whistle: The CD contains both the bootable WindowsPE and the setup files for the OEM Preinstallation Kit.

The OEM Preinstallation kit uses WindowsPE to boot from CD, connects to a network share and downloads all the setup files necessary for installing XP to the local hard drive. It then reboots and performs a (pretty much) standard unattended installation.

You can take most of the customizations you learn about on MSFN and apply them to OEM Preinstallation Kit too. I use the excellent driver packs and the brilliant WPI to further automate the installation over and above what the OEM Preinstall Kit does (though a little customization is often required).

I like using this method at home too instead of imaging (Ghosting) my primary machine because I found that with Ghosting by the time I needed to reload my machine practically all the software in the image would be outdated. Removing and reloading all the new software was as big a job as a normal attended installation, so it somewhat defeated the purpose of doing it in the first place! :realmad: Using the OEM Preinstallation kit I can just update the setup files on the network server and presto, up to date installation.

Otherwise, you can use RIS (Remote Installation Services, only available on MS Server Products) to do a completely CDless install, but it’s fairly painful. I wouldn’t recommend it for you purposes, and you need to be running a server OS anyways.

Hope this helps!

Edit: More Info: http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/winpreinst/opk.mspx

Cheers,

PC

Edited by c1ockwork

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You do not need any Microsoft add-ons to install XP over a network. All you need is the XP install source (basically, copy the CD to a folder on your hard drive). There are plenty of ways to accomplish what you want to do for free! :thumbup

A Sourceforge project called Unattended does what you want; more info is available from their web site: Unattended. If you're running a domain with Active Directory, you can also use Remote Installation Services (RIS), but it doesn't sound like you are, so I'd stick with Unattended.

The idea behind Unattended is just to map the network share you're creating to a drive letter in DOS/Linux and run winnt.exe to kick off the Windows install. So, alternatively, you could just build a DOS or Linux bootdisk to map the share and run WINNT.EXE with the necessary parameters. More info can be found by reading Microsoft documentation. This might be better, because Unattended can be a bit intimidating at first; I nearly scrapped it when I was first getting used to it, because I preferred the simplicity of just booting into DOS, mapping the drive, and running winnt.exe.

I'm still using Unattended, although I've gone through and customized what I want.

Edited by tridgely

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There is another option if you can get hold of a copy of Windows PE 2004.

Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) offers a means of building your base PC and then using it to create an image that you can mass deploy. In the situation where you only want to build a box or two, it can still be used to create the base PC using the Computer Imaging component.

BDD quick look will give you an idea of the work required to fire it up.

I have been using it both at work and at home for the past year and it works great. At work we have created 3 images that can be deployed to all different models of Compaq, HP and IBM PCs.

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