Windows 2000 offers a lot of different ways for you to automate your installations. You can use the tried and true unattended installations using scripts to perform the installation just the way you like it. Windows 2000 also includes some new tools, such as the Remote Installations Service (RIS) and the Sysprep utility. RIS Allows you to create images of your Windows 2000 Professional installations and deploy those over the network. You can deploy vanilla versions or if you choose to use the RIPrep utility, you can blast customized versions of Windows 2000 Professional images over the network. If you prefer to use 3rd party disk imaging programs such a Norton Ghost or Drive Image Professional, the Sysprep utility will remove security identifiers on your master image machine so that it is ready for imaging by your favorite utility.
Enter the Windows 2000 Setup Manager
If you use any of these methods, you'll want to get to know your new best friend, the Windows 2000 Setup Manager. This new version of the setup manager does more than crank out simple unattend.txt files for simple over the network installations. This new and improved version of the Setup Manager can perform many of the tasks required to make any of your favorite installation methods work correctly.
The Setup Manager is part of the mini-version of the Windows 2000 Resource Kit that comes on the Windows 2000 Server CD-ROM. Drill down to the \SUPPORT\TOOLS folder and Double click on the 2000RKST.MSI file. This will install the Setup Manager along with some other helpful tools.
Running The Setup Manager
To run the Setup Manager, open the Run command and typesetupmgr. That'll open the welcome screen. The next screen allows you to chose from several options:
Say you wanted an answer file that will duplicate the computer's configuration, select that one and click Next and you see:
If you wanted to create an answer file for a Sysprep install you would select that option, or you might want an answer file to configure your RIS installation. If you're into doing it the old fashioned by, you can create a finely tuned unattended installation script using the Setup Manager.
The Windows 2000 Setup Manager gives you many, many more configuration options than those that were available with the setup manager you worked with from the Windows NT 4.0 Resource Kit. If you would like to see the rest of the screens based on a Sysprep install of the machine I am working on now, click on page 2 below.
For More Information
Most of the information you need about the Windows 2000 Setup Manager is located in the help file that is included when you install the mini-version of the Resource Kit.
If you want a quick overview of deploying Windows Professional, check THIS link out.