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Overview of an Answer File - unattended file / script. A customized script that allows you to run an unattended installation of Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Useful when setting up multiple computers Answers questions that Setup prompts you for during installation

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Overview of an answer file unattended file script l.jpg
Overview of an Answer File - unattended file / script

  • A customized script that allows you to run an unattended installation of Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

  • Useful when setting up multiple computers

  • Answers questions that Setup prompts you for during installation

  • Sample on the Windows 2000 Server installation CD‑ROM

  • Different names for different programs:

    • Winnt / Winnt32 <filename>.txt

    • Bootable CD-ROM Winnt.sif

    • SYSPREP utility Sysprep.inf

  • Same format used for each type of answer file

  • Contains multiple optional sections that you can modify

  • Tells Setup how to interact with the distribution folders and files


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Answer File Format

;This section provides information about the user and the computer.

[UserData] <------- Section Name

FullName = Student01 <--- Key and Value

OrgName = "Contoso Corporation“ <--- Quotes needed for spaces

ComputerName = Srvdc01


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Using Setup Manager

  • Available on the Windows 2000 Server installation CD‑ROM in the Support\Tools\Deploy.cab file

    • .cab file a special MS archive --- can expand with Windows Explorer

  • Used to perform a number of tasks

  • Adds consistency to the process of creating or updating the answer file

  • Cannot be used to specify all answer file settings or optional components, create Txtsetup.oem files, or create subfolders in the distribution folder


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Commonly used Setup Manager specifications

  • Upgrade Option

    • Win2000 Server

    • Win2000 Pro

  • Target Computer

    • User Name

    • Organization

    • Computer Name

  • Product ID – License Number

  • Work Group or Domain

  • Time Zone

  • Network Configuration Info


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Creating the Answer File Manually

  • Use a text editor such as Microsoft Notepad.

  • Define additional section headers.

  • Customize the default answer file or write a new one.


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Distribution Folders

  • Contains all required WIN2000 install files

  • Multiple folders

    • Different set ups

      • Use folders naming convention to easily identify

    • Load balanacing

    • Winnt32 supports up to eight folders


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Structuring the Distribution Folders

  • $OEM$

    • Cmdlines.txt run during GUI

    • Sub folders copied to target

  • $OEM$\textmode

    • Updated mass storage drivers

    • Txtsetup.oem directs loading

    • All files must be listed in [OEMBootFiles]

  • $OEM$\$$ copied to %windir%

  • $OEM$\$1 copied to %systemdrive%

  • $OEM$\$1\drivers

  • $OEM$\$1\Sysprep include sysprep.inf

  • $OEM$\drive_letter

    • $$rename.txt


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Performing an Unattended Installation

  • Bootable CD‑ROM

  • Winnt.exe

    • See page 62 for command line parameters

  • Winnt32.exe

    • See page 64 for command line parameters


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Bootable CD‑ROM

  • The computer must support the El Torito Bootable CD‑ROM (no emulation mode) format to boot from the CD‑ROM drive.

  • The answer file must be named Winnt.sif and be placed on a floppy disk to be inserted into the floppy drive as soon as the computer boots from the CD‑ROM.

  • The answer file must contain a [Data] section with the required keys specified.


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Initiating an Unattended Installation


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Comparing Installation/Upgrading Methods

  • Syspart

    • Clean install dissimilar hardware

  • Sysprep

    • Clean install, nearly similar hardware, requires 3rd party imaging software

  • SMS

    • Upgrade or clean install across the network (LAN/WAN)

  • Bootable CD‑ROM

    • Clean install

  • RIS

    • Professional only

    • PXE boot rom on NIC or BIOS boots a server

    • RIS bootable disk

  • Clean install on existing partition preserves files ????


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Syspart

  • Included as a parameter of Winnt32.exe

  • Used on a reference computer to complete the first phase of installation

  • Can be used if the reference computer and the computers on which you will complete the installation do not have similar hardware

  • Requires two physical disks

  • Can be used if you require a similar installation on hardware types in which the HALs or mass storage controllers differ

  • Remove disk from reference computer and install in target


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Running Syspart

winnt32 /unattend:unattend.txt /s:<install_source>

/syspart:<install_target>

/tempdrive:<install_target> /noreboot

  • Syspart and tempdrive must point to same partion

  • Must be a primary partition

  • Will automatically be marked as ACTIVE



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Overview of Sysprep

  • Facilitates creating a disk image of your Windows 2000 Server installation

  • Prepares the hard disk on the master computer

  • Identical HALs, Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) support, and mass storage devices

  • Allows you to configure a master image containing the necessary components for a member server

  • Can be used in conjunction with Syspart to create a master for each type of hardware configuration


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The Sysprep Process

  • Sysprep duplication

  • Sysprep files

  • Mini-Setup wizard


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Sysprep Duplication

  • Installing Windows 2000

    • Disconnect from domain when building

    • Admin password leave blank

  • Configuring your computer

    • Logon with Admin privileges

  • Validating the image

    • Client audit

    • Remove residual files and logs after audit

  • Preparing the image for duplication

    • Run SYSPREP optional .inf file

  • Duplicating the installation

    • Ready to PNP detect

    • Create SID

    • Run Mini Setup Wizard


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Sysprep Files

  • Sysprep.exe

    • Run manually

    • [GUIRunOnce]

  • Sysprep.inf

    • Answer file used during cloning

  • Setupcl.exe

    • Process sysprep.inf

    • Determine pages Mini Setup will display

  • All should be located in %systemdrive%\Sysprep

  • Can not duplicate AD components


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Mini-Setup Wizard

  • The wizard starts the first time a computer boots from a disk that has been duplicated by using the Sysprep tool.

  • Mini-setup screens may include

    • EULA

    • Regional Settings

    • User name and Organization

    • Computer name and Admin Password

    • Network Settings

    • Time Zone

    • Finish/Restart

  • The wizard gathers information needed to customize the target computer.

  • You can bypass the screens in the wizard by specifying certain parameters within the Sysprep.inf file.


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Running Sysprep Manually

  • Preparing the Sysprep folder

    • Must be created in root of %systemdrive%

  • Running the Sysprep utility

  • Running Sysprep without the -reboot switch

    • Ready to run 3rd party imaging software

  • Running Sysprep with the -reboot switch

    • Mini Setup wizard starts

    • Must rerun Sysprep w/o -reboot


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Running Sysprep Automatically

  • You can use the [GuiRunOnce] section of the answer file to create an installation that completes Setup, automatically logs on to the computer, runs Sysprep in quiet mode, and then shuts down the computer.

  • If multiple reboots are required during the unattended install [GUIRunOnce] for sysprep must be last


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Using Sysprep to Extend Disk Partitions

  • Allows for configuring on system whose hard disk may be smaller than target

  • Configure the partition on the master computer hard disk to the minimum size required.

  • Modify the answer file used to create the master image by including the FileSystem=ConvertNTFS option in the [Unattended] section.

  • Install Windows 2000 Server to the master computer and create an image of the drive.

  • Delete pagefile.sys, setupapi.log, and hyberfil.sys from the image

  • Place the image on a target computer that has the same-size partition as the master computer.

  • After you reboot the target computer, the Mini-Setup wizard will begin and the partition will be extended.


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Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS)

  • SMS allows you to maintain control over the upgrade process.

  • Before you use SMS to perform an upgrade, assess your existing network infrastructure, including bandwidth, hardware, and geographical constraints.

  • Use SMS to perform managed upgrades of Windows 2000 Server to multiple systems.

  • Use SMS only for installation to computers that contain a previously installed operating system and that are running the SMS client agent.


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Bootable CD‑ROM

  • Setting the BIOS order

  • Using a bootable CD‑ROM

  • Installing from a bootable CD‑ROM


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Using the Cmdlines.txt File

  • Contains commands that are executed from the $OEM$ subfolder of the distribution share during GUI phase

  • Used in certain circumstances

    • Installing components from \$OEM$

    • Application does not configure itself for multiple users

    • Logon as a service and replicate changes to all users

  • Uses specific syntax

    • [Commands] “<command>” “<command>” etc…


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Using the Answer File

  • The [GuiRunOnce] section of the answer file contains a list of commands that are executed the first time a user logs on to the computer after Setup runs.

  • If an application forces a reboot, the reboot needs to be suppressed.

  • Use alternatives if you cannot suppress a reboot.

    • MSI package

    • SMS installer or VERITAS WinINSTALL LE

    • Registry placeholders filename.reg

  • If an application requires a Windows Explorer shell in order to be installed, you cannot use the [GuiRunOnce] section.

  • Applications that use the same type of installation mechanism might not run properly if a /wait command is not used.


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Using Application Installation Programs

  • The preferred method for preinstalling an application is to use the installation routine supplied with the application.

  • The application must be able to be installed in quiet mode.

  • Setup parameters vary among applications.


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Using a Batch File

  • Allows you to control how individual applications are installed

  • Can be run from the [GuiRunOnce] section of the answer file

  • Ensures that your applications install sequentially and that each application is fully installed before the next application begins its installation routine


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Batch File Syntax

start /wait <path>\setup_file> <parameters>

start /wait <path>\setup_file> <parameters>

Exit

  • Should be copied to distribution folder

    • May use the sysprep folder the automatically deleted

  • Add batch file to [GUIRunOnce]

  • .lnk ???? Copied to target computer startup???


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