Remote Installation Services (RIS)

Outside of the PXE requirements listed above, the minimum hardware specifications for a RIS client computer include P166 or faster, minimum 32 MB RAM, and a 800MB or larger hard drive.

RIS is not installed by default on Windows 2000 Server, and must be added as an optional component via add/remove programs in Control Panel. The minimum hardware requirements for the RIS server include a P166, 128 MB RAM, 2GB partition for RIS folder tree (must be NTFS), a 10 or 100 MB network adapter, and either a CD-Rom drive or access to the Windows 2000 Professional source files. Once installed, RIS will add a number of services to the server, but will not actually be configured to hand out images (to be discussed shortly). The services added to the server during the RIS setup include:

  • BINL (Boot Information Negotiation Layer) – the BINL service ensures listens for
  • DHCP/PXE requests from the client, passes the client the correct files, ensures that the proper RIS server handles the request (if pre-staged – more on that in a bit)
  • TFTPD (Trivial File Transfer Protocol Daemon) – this service is used by RIS to download the initial files needed by the client to start the remote installation process.
  • SIS (Single Instance Store) – This service reduces the space that RIS requires for saving images by creating a link to a duplicate file instead of another entire instance.

Once the actual RIS service has been installed, it must be configured using a tool called Risetup.exe.

This wizard-based tool will actually lead you through the process of creating the initial image of Windows 2000 Professional, often called a CD-based image. The CD-based image must be created, even if you never intend to use it. The CD-based image is simply a normal installation of Windows 2000 Professional, which had been automated via RIS. Note that the wizard also asks you whether or not you wish for the RIS server to begin responding to client requests. It is a good idea to choose not to respond initially, until you are sure that everything has been configured correctly (proper images, etc)

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.