by Jason Zandri
this week's installment of Learn Windows XP Professional in
15 minutes a week, the third in this series. This article
covers two additional installation methods of Windows XP
Professional, over the network installations and automated
installations using Windows Setup Manager.
originally going to add sections for Upgrading from older
operating systems to Windows XP Professional and performing
RIS installations, but I have decided to defer those for the
next article, as I want to detail the network setup for a
RIS installation as well, and I would like another week to
finalize all the data I want to include.
Installing Windows XP
Professional over the Network
can begin a network installation of Windows XP Professional,
you need to copy the Windows XP Professional installation
files to a server, normally a file or distribution server,
and share out the directory so that people who need to
perform an over the network installation can attach to the
share. (These people will also need the proper level of
Folder and NTFS permissions to attach to the share.)
distribution server share will need to contain the
installation files from the I386 folder on the Windows XP
From the target system, you connect to this shared directory
and then run the Setup program.
system needs to be prepared ahead of time in order to be
successful with an over the network installation. First, you
need to create a FAT or FAT32 partition on the target
computer of at least 1.5 GB of disk space and format it
ahead of time, and you also need to either boot from a client
diskette that includes a network client that enables the
target computer to connect to the distribution server or
install the client directly to the local system hard drive
with some sort of system installed, such as formatting the
hard drive with a Windows 9x boot disk with the "s" switch.
<DRIVE LETTER> /S Copies system files to the formatted disk
to make a boot disk. This also works on a local hard drive.)
preferred method is to boot from a client diskette that
includes a network client that enables the target computer
to connect to the distribution server.
continue from here, we will assume we are using the
preferred methods of installation. As variables come up, I
will mention them as a side note.
program copies the installation files to the target
computer, which is why you need to create a FAT or FAT32
partition on the target computer of at least 1.5 GB of disk
space and format it ahead of time.
from the target computer by booting from a floppy disk that
includes a network client that can be used to connect to the
distribution server. Once the network client on the target
computer is started, you connect to the shared folder on the
distribution server that contains the Windows XP
Professional installation files and Run WINNT.EXE to start
the Setup program.
FROM THE FIELD] - WINNT.EXE is used for an installation
using MS-DOS or Windows 3.0 or later versions on the source
system. WINNT32.EXE is run for an installation using
Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Me,
Windows NT 4, or Windows 2000 Professional.
Running WINNT.EXE from the shared folder does creates the $Win_nt$.~ls
temporary folder on the target computer, and the Windows XP
Professional installation files are copied from the shared
folder on the distribution server to the $Win_nt$.~ls folder
on the target computer. Once all of the files are copied to
the target system, setup will reboot the local computer and
begin installing the Windows XP Professional operating
[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - WINNT.EXE and WINNT32.EXE can be modified by
using switches. I have outlined the available switches
Modifying the Setup Process Using WINNT.EXE
accessibility options. |
Specifies an optional folder to be copied and saved. The
folder remains after Setup is finished. |
Specifies the optional folder to be copied. The folder
is deleted after Setup
Specifies the source location of Windows XP Professional
files. This must be a full path x:\[path] or
\\server\share\[path]. The default is the current
folder location |
Specifies a drive to contain temporary setup files and
directs the Setup program to install Windows XP
Professional on that drive. If you do not specify a
drive, Setup attempts to locate the drive with the most
available space by default. |
Performs an unattended installation. (Requires the /s
switch.) The answer file provides answers to some or all
of the prompts that the end user normally responds to
during Setup. |
Indicates an identifier (id) that Setup uses to specify
how a Uniqueness Database File (UDF) modifies an answer
file. The /udf parameter overrides values in the answer
file, and the identifier determines which values in the
UDF file are used. If you do not specify a UDF_file,
Setup prompts you to insert a disk that contains the $UNIQUE$.UDB
Modifying the Setup Process Using
your computer for upgrade compatibility for Windows XP
Windows 98 or Windows Me upgrade checks, the default
filename is UPGRADE.TXT in the %systemroot%
Windows NT 4 or Windows 2000 upgrades, the default
filename is NTCOMPAT.TXT in the %systemroot%
Specifies a specific command that Setup is to run. This
command is run after the computer restarts and after
Setup collects the necessary configuration information.
to the hard disk the files for the Recovery Console,
which is used for repair and recovery as a Startup
option after the Windows XP Professional installation
has been completed.|
an additional folder within the %systemroot%
folder, which contains the Windows XP Professional
system files. You can use the /copydir switch to create
as many additional folders
within the %systemroot% folder
an additional folder within the %systemroot%
folder. Setup deletes folders created with /copysource
after installation is complete. |
a debug log at the specified level. By default, the
debug log file is C:\WINNT32.LOG and the default level
is 2. Includes the following levels: |
(detailed information for debugging)
level includes the level below it.
Prevents Dynamic Update from running. Without Dynamic
Updates, Setup runs only with the original Setup files.
This option disables Dynamic Update even if you use an
answer file and specify Dynamic Update options in that
Specifies a share on which you previously downloaded
Dynamic Update files from the Windows Update Web site.
When run from your installation share and used with /prepareinstall,
it prepares the updated files for use in network-based
client installations. When used without /prepareinstall
and run on a client, it specifies that the client
installation will use the updated files on the share
specified in pathname. |
Prepares an installation share for use with Dynamic
Update files that you downloaded from the Windows Update
Web site. You can use this share for installing Windows
XP Professional for multiple clients and it can only be
used with /dushare). |
Instructs Setup to copy replacement files from an
alternate location. Directs Setup to look in the
alternate location first and, if files are present, to
use them instead of the files from the default location.
Instructs Setup to copy all installation source files to
the local hard disk. Use this switch when installing
from a CD-ROM to provide installation files when the
CD-ROM is not available later in the installation.
Prevents Setup from restarting the computer after
completing the file-copy phase.|
Specifies the source location of Windows XP Professional
installation files. To simultaneously copy files from
multiple paths, use a separate /s switch for each source
path. If you type multiple /s switches, the first
location specified must be available or the installation
will fail. You can use a maximum of eight /s switches.
Setup startup files to a hard disk and marks the drive
as active. You can then install the drive in another
computer. When you start that computer, Setup starts at
the next phase. Using /syspart requires the /tempdrive
switch. You can use syspart on computers running Windows
NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, or Windows
2000 Server. You cannot use it on computers running
Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me. |
temporary files on the specified drive and installs
Windows XP Professional on that drive. |
[number]: [answer_file] ||
Performs an unattended installation. The answer file
provides your custom specifications to Setup. If you
don't specify an answer file, all user settings are
taken from the previous installation. You can specify
the number of seconds between the time that Setup
finishes copying the files and when it restarts with
[number]. You can specify the number of seconds only on
computers running Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4,
or Windows 2000 that are upgrading to a newer version of
Windows XP Professional. |
Indicates an identifier (id) that Setup uses to specify
how a UDF modifies an answer file. The UDF file
overrides values in the answer file, and the identifier
determines which values in the UDF file are used. If you do not specify a UDF
file, Setup prompts you to insert a disk that contains
the $UNIQUE$.UDF file. |
For the most part, an over the
network installation of Windows XP Professional from this
point forward is almost perfectly identical to
XP Professional from a CD-ROM to a clean hard disk. For more
information, you can take a look at my article from last week.
Windows Setup Manager will help you automate certain Windows
XP Professional installations. In order to use Windows Setup
Manager you need to install the Windows XP Professional
Deployment Tools from the Windows XP Professional CD-ROM.
you need to log on with a user account that is a member of
the Administrators group and insert the Windows XP
Professional CD-ROM in the CD-ROM drive. (If you have
AUTORUN enabled the Welcome To Microsoft Windows XP screen,
shown below, will appear. Click Exit to close it.)
Windows Explorer and create the folder where the files can
be extracted to.
E:\Setup Tools folder in our example will be used to contain
the files extracted from DEPLOY.CAB on the Windows XP
Professional CD-ROM. (You can also choose to create a new
folder to where you want to extract the files when you open
the CAB files. We have performed this step ahead of time in
Double-click <CDROM DRIVE>:\Support\Tools\Deploy.CAB. The
cabinet file will open in the Explorer window and show all
of the files. Select them all and right click and then choose
a Destination window will open. Select the E:\Setup Tools
folder we created earlier as the point where to extract the
tools to. (Or, as I mentioned before, you could select Make
New Folder at this point as well).
have finished, the following files will appear in the
We will use
setupmgr.exe, the Windows System Manager, to create an
unattended setup script.
Double-clicking on the executable will start the Windows Setup
Next will bring up the New Or Existing Answer File page.
Since we do not have an existing answer file, we will elect
to create a new one and continue.
We are then
presented with three different options on the Product to
Install page. Since we are creating an answer file for a
Windows Unintended Installation (which is selected by
default) we will keep this setting and continue.
Platform page we will choose our platform for the answer
file. (This will be Windows XP Professional, but you are
supplied with the options for Windows XP Home Edition and
Windows 2002 Server, Advanced Server or Data Center when you
use setupmgr.exe, the Windows System Manager, from the
Windows XP Professional CDROM).
On the User
Interaction Level page, the following five options are
Provide Defaults. This setting causes default selections to
appear to the end user as the operating system installs
itself on a workstation. The user can accept the default
answers or change any of the answers supplied by the script.
Fully Automated. A Fully Automated installation does not
allow the user the chance to review or change the answers
supplied by the script.
Hide Pages. This setting causes default selections to be
hidden. Pages for which the script supplies all answers are
hidden from the user.
Read Only. Pages for which the script supplies all answers
are viewable by the user but the user cannot change the
GUI Attended. The text-mode portion of the installation is
automated, but the user must supply the answers for the
GUI-mode portion of the installation.
We will choose FULLY AUTOMATED and continue.
Distribution Folder page you can create a distribution
folder on your local computer or network containing the
required source files. You can add files to this
distribution folder to further customize your installation.
For this demonstration we will select, No This Answer File
Will Be Used To Install From A CD, and then click Next to
License Agreement page you will need to select the checkbox
to accept the terms of the License Agreement in order to
page that comes up is the Customize the Software page. As
you can see here and in the left hand column, all of the
prompts are exactly like the ones you would expect to see
during an attended install. You are answering them all here,
just once, for use each time in the future.
entry of the General Settings section is Providing the
fully automated install, you must supply a Product Key or
you will receive an error message.
If you were
to use Provide Defaults or GUI Attended user interaction
levels, you would be allowed to leave this page blank. Also,
if you provide a bogus key on the Product Key page, the
Wizard will continue, but, the fully automated install will
halt when it reaches this point, as the key is invalid.
page that is presented starts the Network Settings section
of the answer file.
entry is for Computer names. Here, you can enter as many
different workstation names and you want, import them from a
text file, or allow the installation program to auto
generate names based on your organization name.
FROM THE FIELD] - If multiple computer names were
specified in the computers to be installed section, the
setup wizard creates a *.UDB file. The Uniqueness Database
File (UDB) provides you the ability to specify individually
specific computer parameters automatically. The UDB modifies
an answer file by overriding values in the answer file, when
you run Setup with the /udf:id[,UDB_file] switch. The file
overrides values in the answer file, and the identifier (id)
determines which values in the .udb file are used.
Administrator Password page is next and has two options (of
which only the second is available):
Prompt The User For An Administrative Password
Use The Following Administrative Password (127 Characters
(Because we selected the User Interaction level of Fully
Automated, the Prompt The User For An Administrative
Password option is grayed out.)
password that you want.
also two other options on this page, one to encrypt the
Administrator's password in the answer file and another to have the
Administrator log on automatically.
also set the number of times you want the Administrator to
log on automatically when the computer is restarted.
leave these blank and continue from here.
Networking Components page is where we can elect to keep the
typical settings or choose to customize them. We will
leave the default selection of Typical and select NEXT to
page of the Network Settings section is the Workgroup or
can choose whether or not the answer file will put the newly
installed system into a workgroup or a domain. As with an
attended install, if we elect to choose a domain, we
may need to create a computer account in the domain if this
hasn't already been done.
We will be
using the WORKGROUP option, so we will enter a name and
continue. (The WORKGROUP "workgroup" is supplied by default,
just as DOMAIN is under the Windows Server domain option.)
The final phase of the process is the Advanced Settings section.
option is for the Telephony information.
Next is the
Regional Setting section, which allows us to either use the
default regional settings for Windows XP Professional from
the CDROM we're installing from or choose another.
keep the defaults as listed above and continue.
We are also
given the option to add support for other languages.
Browser and Shell Settings section we can elect to use the
default Internet Explorer settings or use an auto
configuration script created by the Internet Explorer
also set Proxy, Home page and other Browser settings at this
time as well. We will keep the defaults and continue.
FROM THE FIELD] - The version of Internet Explorer that is deployed with
Windows XP Professional is 6. At the time of this writing,
there is one security hotfix that should be installed on
systems that use Internet Explorer and that is
option of the Advanced Settings section is the Installation
can elect to install Windows XP Professional to one of three
options as listed, only the third being a variable of your
FROM THE FIELD] - While I cannot find the specific Q
article at this time,
here is the Windows 2000 Professional article that
outlines my next point. Other than the above method of using
the answer file, there is no way on a clean installation of
Windows XP Professional to choose the installation folder.
The folder for Windows XP Professional will always default
to <DRIVE LETTER>\Windows. (DRIVE LETTER being the only
variable that you can set without the answer file.) Windows
2000 Professional is installed to the WINNT directory by
section allows you to automatically setup networked printers
on the target systems if you wish.
also configure run once commands to run the first time a
user logs on.
step in the Advanced Settings section is the Additional
Commands option. It allows you to add any commands you wish
to run at the end of the unattended installation before
Setup restarts the system and runs Windows XP Professional
for the first time.
Setup Manager will then create the answer file with the
settings you have provided with all of your previous entries
to a place on the local system as a text file. (The default
location is the folder where the Setup Tools were extracted
unattend.bat file that was created from our input here is
rem This is a SAMPLE batch script generated by the Setup
rem If this script is moved from the location where it was
generated, it may have to be modified.
J:\i386\winnt32 /s:%SetupFiles% /unattend:%AnswerFile%
FROM THE FIELD] - The path of J:\i386\winnt32 /s:%SetupFiles%
/unattend:%AnswerFile% is the default path to my CDROM drive
on my system.
unattend.txt file that was created from our input here is
FROM THE FIELD] - Because we didn't choose the option
to encrypt the Administrator password earlier on the
Administrator Password page of the Network settings section,
anyone that has access to read the unattend.txt can see what
the default administrator password for an installation is.
This can be a serious issue in large environments where the
passwords are not reset on a regular basis.
encryption were selected the entry in the [GuiUnattended]
section would look like this.
that's a wrap for this week.
week's installment I will briefly (yeah right) go over how to setup a RIS
server in order to deploy Windows XP Professional via RIS as
well Upgrading from older operating systems to Windows XP
Until then, best of luck in your
studies and please feel free to contact me with any
questions on my column and remember, Jason Zandri
"If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your
computer, it may not be your computer anymore"