Windows 2000 Installation and Update Methods

Wow, RIS is a big topic – but so far we’ve only looked at the server side. There are, however, also requirements for a RIS client. First and foremost, the client must support booting from the network via a PXE Boot ROM (Pre-boot execution environment). All is not lost if your network card doesn’t support this, however. You can create a Remote Installation boot floppy from the RIS server by running Rbfg.exe. This tool will create a network-bootable RIS floppy disk – the only problem is that many cards are not supported, so you’ll have to check the driver list. When the client does boot, r emember that it will not have an OS (or may have one not functioning), and will be trying to obtain one from the network. After the system obtains an IP address, it will prompt the user to hit F12 to contact the RIS server, and the process has begun.

There is still one last thing about RIS – how do we control who gets an image? Well, there are two main options. When you run Riprep.exe, you get to choose whether anyone can obtain an image or whether the RIS server should not respond to ‘unknown’ clients. An unknown client is any system whose computer account has not been pre-staged. A client is pre-staged by setting up its computer account in Active directory, and then associating a unique identifier from the client PC, called a GUID (globally unique identifier) with that computer account. Then, the RIS server will only allow computers that have been pre-staged in Active Directory to be allocated an image.

How do I find the GUID of my computer? Look in the BIOS. If its not there, you can also use the MAC address of the client NIC padded with leading zeros. The other option is to restrict the image’s associated answer file with NTFS permissions, as mentioned earlier. Finally, if you do not pre-stage, then remember that computer accounts still somehow need to be created when people obtain a new desktop via RIS. The solution here is to use the Delegation of control wizard to give the appropriate group of users the ability to ‘Join a Computer to the Domain’.

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.