Windows 2000 Installation and Update Methods

Remote Installation Services

Another new feature in W2K is the ability to deploy Windows 2000 Professional (and only W2K Pro!) using a Windows 2000 Server service called Remote Installation Services or RIS. RIS is Microsoft’s answer to remote automation of OS deployment. A number of services must be on the network and client prerequisites be met in order for RIS to function correctly. Necessary network services include:

  • DHCP (gives client an IP address)
  • DNS (to allow client to query Active Directory)
  • Active Directory (tells client where to find RIS server)\

If the DHCP server is running on Windows 2000, note that the server must first be ‘authorized’ as a valid server in Active Directory or it will not function. The DHCP server is authorized via the DHCP Manager tool.

Of course, Remote Installation Services must also be installed on a Windows 2000 server in the network. Important things you need to know about RIS:

  • RIS requires its own dedicated NTFS partition to function correctly, and it cannot be the Windows 2000 System or Boot partition. Microsoft recommends a minimum of 800MB to 1 GB of space on this partition, since it will hold the Windows 2000 Professional images.
  • Install RIS on the server by first installing the Remote Installation Services, rebooting, and then running Risetup.exe from the Run command.
  • While using Risetup.exe, you will be asked whether you want to RIS to respond to all client requests, or not to unknown computers. If you choose the second option, only pre-staged computers will be answered (This will be discussed in a moment), and no other machine will be able to obtain an image from this se rver!
  • RIS will automatically create a default Windows 2000 Professional image called a CD-based image, and will prompt you for the source files. In reality, this is not really a disk ‘image’ but rather an automated unattended standard W2K Pro installation.
  • The RIS server must also be authorized in AD in order to respond to client requests. This is also accomplished via the DHCP manager tool.

This will be the only image that exists on the server unless you create others. In order to create other images, you need to first create your desktop build, complete with applications, configuration and the like (just as if you were creating an build to image with Ghost). After this is complete, you need to run Riprep.exe on the system to create the image. Riprep.exe can be found on the RIS server. The path:


You do get to choose the RIS server on which you ultimately want to hold the image, as well as a friendly name for the image itself. Riprep.exe performs a similar function to Sysprep.exe, in that it removes the SID and other setting that must be unique once the system is deployed. Again, you can use Setup Manager to create answer files that will automatically answer the questions asked (For the sake of knowing, these answer files can ultimately be restricted with NTFS permissions, which allow you to control who can access the particular image.).

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.