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Ok, so I am in a class right now in school and one of my final projects (extra credit, your not doing my homework if you help me out) is to find a way to install windows XP over a network. That on its own is easy, but the requirements that my teacher has set forth are not something that I have been able to meet.

His requirements are as follows:

The install must not give people access to the install key (solved, taken care of my nLite)

The install must let the user choose how to partition the drive and format with NTFS or FAT32, also includes multiple partitions

It must be a network install that does not use RIS.

So far this is what I have tried:

Bootable floppy that gives me access to NTFS shares and allows me to launch installer over network. This came close to what i needed but it never gave me the option to partition, it would just launch, copy files and then start installing. Now i know i could format the drive the way I want before I start the install but then it will still only install to the first partition, dosnt want to let me choose.

Ghost is not an option (teachers request)

Also looked into a PartPE disk, but that is not something that would work out per teachers request.

So if anyone has any ideas, what I basically need is a way to get a normal windows xp install as if i was booting from a CD, but accomplish this over a network. If you guys could help me out with this it would help out a ton.

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1. Get a hold of Windows XP's i386 folder - I'm assuming you already have this from your post.

2. Copy this i386 folder onto a networked machine. It doesn't matter the OS, as long as SMB is supported (any Windows server or workstation OS, or Linux and Samba).

3. Create a share for the newly copied i386 directory on the Windows or Linux machine.

4. Use a network boot CD to boot a client, from DOS, to the network. You'll need a boot disk (or CD) that provides access to the SMB share created in step 3 over the network - pre-built ones can be found on the 'net, but my favorite for non-RIS installs (if not using BartPE or WinPE) is http://www.nu2.nu/bootdisk/network/.

5. Once you've got the client booted to the network, use the net use command to map a drive letter to the share created in step 3.

6. Once the drive letter is mapped to your share, simply go into that folder and use a the winnt.exe command to start the installation. You can create an unattend.txt file (same format as winnt.sif, just named unattend.txt) and place it in the i386 folder to completely automate the installation if you choose. If you do create an unattend.txt file, simply call it via "winnt.exe /s:X:\i386 /u:X:\i386\unattend.txt (where X is replaced with the drive letter you mapped in step 5).

It really isn't very hard at all to do.

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In order to use this method though the drive must be formated BEFORE the install process has begun, otherwise winnt.exe does not see that there is enough space to begin the install. That was the exact disk that I used when I mentioned that I had tried a bootable floppy w/ NTFS share access. It just does not ever give me the choice of choosing my partitions.

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The install must let the user choose how to partition the drive and format with NTFS or FAT32, also includes multiple partitions

Then script it in! I think you're missing the whole goal of the project you've been tasked with - the professor has taken a relatively menial and easy task and given you a few wrinkles that you'll have to work at to make this work. He's probably trying to get you to excercise your brain and do some troubleshooting, so go for it! You've already got most of the solution - figure out what you're missing, and how you can go about making the solution work to fit the requirements.

Edited by cluberti
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