Customize remote installation services

How you can make up custom installation scripts for installation across a Windows 2000 network.

Windows 2000 allows you to do network installations using Remote Installation Services (RIS). You can customize your RIS group policy objects to set RIS policies. You can decide which users and groups will have access to which menu options, particularly within the Custom Installation Wizard. Use the following steps to set RIS policy for your users:

Begin in the left panel of the Active Directory Users and Computers by snapping on a Win2k Server system, then right-click the domain in which you want to set policy, and select Properties.

  • On the group policy tab of thegGroup policy object Links dialog box, select the GPO that you want to add the RIS policy settings to and click on Edit. This will open the group policy editor management console with context set to the selected domain. You can store the default policy for a domain (Default Domain Policy Object) at the domain, site, or organizational unit level.
  • Click User Configuration in the left pane of the console, then Windows Settings, Remote Installation Services.
  • Double-click the Choice Options icon, which appears in the right pane. When the choice Options Properties dialog box appears, set the selections you want for each of the Client Installation Wizard's configurable options such as Automatic Setup, Custom Setup, Restart Setup, and Tools. You can select Allow, Don't Care, (tells the wizard to ignore the policy setting for users whom this policy affects), and Deny, which prevents affected users from accessing the option.

For a sophisticated customization of the RIS Custom Installation Wizard, advanced managers can access the Client Installation Wizard menus as .osc files and use the markup language called OSCML to define screen displays and input fields. By editing these .osc files you can tailor the screen display or query users for ad-hoc data through input fields and then use the collected data to control and customize an unattended RIS installation.

To further customize you RIS installation, you can modify ristndrd.sif or create additional RIS answer files. Use the Win2k Setup Manager utility to customize RIS answer files. Win2k Setup Manager can be used to customize RIS answer files. When the utility's first dialog box asks which type of unattended setup answer file you are creating, select Remote Installation Services. Selecting this option is important since a RIS answer file contains settings that aren't in other answer file types.


Barrie Sosinsky (barries@killerapps.com)is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.


This was first published in September 2001

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