Windows 2000 Unattended Installation
The Winnt.exe and Winnt32.exe programs provide the unattended installation ability, allowing the rapid creation of large numbers of similar workstations using existing installation media. Two types of files are required:
- Answer files - Files requires to answer the system queries during an unattended installation normally sent to the monitor during an attended installation.
- Uniqueness Database Files (UDF) - Used to insert the User name, organization, and computer name in the [UserData]section of the unattend.txt file.
The Computer Profile setup utility or the Setup Manager utility (SETUPMGR.EXE on the Windows NT install CD at \SUPPORT\TOOLS\Deploy.cab) may be used to set up unattended installation answer file. On Windows 2000, this program is called the Setup Manager wizard and can be installed from the resource kit on the CDROM by running \Support\Reskit\Setup.exe.Options:
- Create a new answer file.
- Create an answer file that duplicates this computer's configuration.
- Modify an existing answer file.
Answer file types are:
- Unattend.txt for Windows 2000 Professional.
- Unattend.txt for Windows 2000 Server.
- Remboot.sif for remote installation services.
- Sysprep.inf for the system preparation tool.
Products that can be installed with answer files include:
- Windows 2000 Unattended Installation
- Sysprep Install - System preparation utility located on the CDROM in the \SUPPORT\TOOLS\Deploy.cab file. Works on non-domain controller windows 2000 computers. This utility allows a Windows 2000 hard drive to be copied to other computers.
- Remote Installation Services
User interaction levels can be set at:
- Provide defaults - The answer file provides default answers.
- Fully automated - No user interaction.
- Hide pages - There is some interaction by the user with pages hidden that have answers provided by the answer file.
- Read only - The setup screens are displayed, but the user cannot make selections.
- GUI attended - The text part of the installation is automated and the user responds to the graphical part of the installation.
A distribution folder is created to do an installation over the network. An unattend.txt answer file and a unattend.bat file, for starting the installation, is created by the Setup Manager.
Booting from the network involves:
- Have a network card in the computer the installation is to be done on.
- Format the hard drive.
- Boot a computer with DOS client for Microsoft Networks on it (Comes With Windows NT Server).
- Map the shared distribution folder to a network drive, and from that drive run "unattend" or "unattend computer"
One UDF file is required for installing to various types of computers. There must be a different answer file for each type or configuration of computer.
There is a sample answer file on the install CD-ROM called UNATTEND.TXT. These files contain categories of information defined by the [ and ] symbols. Some categories are:
- DetectedMassStorage - Mass storage devices that Setup should recognize, whether they are available at installation time or not.
- Display - Display settings.
- DisplayDrivers - Display drivers.
- GuiUnattended - Defines the setup program behavior during graphical mode setup.
- KeyboardDrivers - Specifies keyboard drivers.
- LicenseFilePrintData - Used for servers only.
- MassStorageDrivers - Specifies SCSI drivers.
- Modem - Determines if a modem is to be installed.
- Network - Network settings, with adapters and protocols.
- OEM_Ads - The bitmap information to be displayed when the graphical user mode is starting.
- OEMBootFiles- The files required for system boot must be listed here.
- PointingDeviceDrivers - Specifies any pointing devices.
- Unattended - This section defines setup program behavior during text mode setup.
- UserData - User or computer information.
A sample unattend.txt answer file:
OemPreinstall = no
ConfirmHardware = no
NtUpgrade = no
Win31Upgrade = no
TargetPath = WINNT
OverwriteOemFilesOnUpgrade = no
FullName = "Your User Name"
OrgName = "Your Organization Name"
ComputerName = COMPUTER_NAME
TimeZone = "(GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada); Tijuana"
ConfigureAtLogon = 0
BitsPerPel = 16
XResolution = 640
YResolution = 480
VRefresh = 70
AutoConfirm = 1
Attend = yes
DetectAdapters = ""
InstallProtocols = ProtocolsSection
JoinDomain = Domain_To_Join
TC = TCParameters
DHCP = yes
The UDF file below assigns user name, organization name, and computer names for three computers.
; The UID on the left is a unique string for this file which cannot contain a
; space, asterisk, comma, or equals character.
; The right hand side value must match the name of a section in the unattend.txt file.
; The sections below specify sections to be merged into the unattend.txt answer file sections.
; They may be specified for unique computer IDs with the format "[UIDn:SectionName]".
; They may be set for all computers is the format "[SectionName]" is specified.
; Any matching values on the left side of the "=" sign (key) are replaced by the value on the
; right. If a key does not match, the key and value are added to the unattend.text values.
; Format: "key=value".
FullName = "Mark Allen"
OrgName = "CTDP"
FullName = "Chris Smith"
OrgName = "Acme Corp"
FullName = "John Brown"
OrgName = "Acme Corp"
The $OEM$ directory is used to install files that are not a standard part ot the NT product. Additional drivers and files may be installed using this directory.
Winnt and Winnt32.exe use
An example command line that uses the answer files and UDF files is:
winnt /s:e:\ /u:unatt.txt /UDF:id1,udffile.txt
The Sysdiff Utility
Used to customize Windows 2000 or NT installation to one or more computers over the network. It records the differences between a installation files that have been added to an installation and a normal installation that has not had additions added. Functions:
- Snap - Takes a snapshot of the state of files, directories, and the registry.
- Diff - Records differences between a current system and a previous snapshot.
- Apply - Apply data in a differences file to an installation.
- Inf - Create an inf file from a diff file. The .inf file allows differences to be automatically applied to installations of NT from the server based share.
- Dump - Allows review of the contents of a diff file.
If sysdiff is used to create an inf file and the difference files are put in the directory tree, %OEM$, you can use the command sysdiff.exe /apply in a file named cmdline.txt located in $OEM$. If this is done, the OemPreinstall line in the unattend file must be set to "Yes". Windows NT 3.5.1 used the Windiff utility which is still available in NT 4.0, but Sysdiff is used for unattended installation while Windiff may be used to compare files.
Beginning an Install
To install from the hard drive:
- Copy i386 information from the i386 directory to a created i386 directory on the hard drive.
- Run Winnt.exe or win32.exe
- Nomally you will create three setup disks unless you skip this option.
- The installation will create a temporary $WIN_NT$~LS or ~BS directory. If this file is gone at the end of the installation, the installation was completed.
- When done you will reboot the system and the system will run 32 bit code.
sysdiff /snap [/log:logfile] snapshotfile
sysdiff /diff [/log:logfile] snapshotfile differencefile
sysdiff /inf [/u] snapshotfile oemroot
sysdiff /dump differencefile dumpfile
The "oemroot" location, above, is the directory with additional files and directories with custom installation. An emergency repair disk can be created at installation time or it can be made later using the RDISK.EXE utility.
To install over the network:
- The i386 directory must be in a shared network folder
Sysprep is used to prepare a Windows 2000 system hard disk for duplication. Sysprep can't be used on domain controllers. Duplication requirements that both the master and duplicated computers must have in common:
- Identical type hard drive controllers.
- Identical size hard drives.
- The same HAL must be used.
- Peripheral cards such as modems and video cards do not need to be identical, but drivers must be available for all computers.
Sysprep will remove any user specific information on the prepared hard drive. It strips the Security Identifiers (SIDs) from the disk before capturing the disk image. Once duplicated, the system that gets a copy of the disk generates its own SIDs for its objects.
- Create a Windows 2000 installation that you want copied (the master).
- Install any applications that are to be in the new system(s).
- Copy the administrator profile folder contents to the Default user profile folder and be sure the group, "everyone" can use the profile.
- Create a c:\sysprep directory and possibly a sysprep.inf file. Copy setupc1.exe and sysprep.exe from the directory where Setup Manager is installed into the c:\sysprep folder.
- Use the Sysprep utility on the master computer hard drive, to prepare for duplication. Typing "sysprep /?" lists options, and "sysprep -pnp" causes the mini-setup program to run hardware detection on the duplicated computers.
- Use a vendor tool to duplicate the hard drive to target computers. Drive Image Pro from Power Quest will work.
- Boot the duplicated computers and enter user information when the mini-setup wizard runs.
The mini-setup wizard can be automated using a c:\sysprep\sysprep.inf file. Timezone, domain name or workgroup, network settings, display settings and additional settings may be preset.
Sysprep switches include:
- -quiet - No user interaction.
- -pnp - Detect PNP devices on systems the information is being sent to.
- -reboot - The new system will restart rather than shutdown.
- -nosidgen - NO security identifier (SID) is created on the new system.