RIS provides the best features of unattended installations and disk duplication and also provides a powerful way to make remote installations possible in large network environments. The basic RIS process works as follows:
1. In an Active Directory domain, you install RIS on a server running Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. The methods for installation on each version are different.
2. You load disk images on the RIS server. RIS supports two types of images:
❑ A CD-based image that contains the Windows XP Professional operating installation files. You can create answer files for these images to automate the installation process on the client end.
❑ A Remote Installation Preparation (RIPrep) image that can contain the Windows XP Professional operating system along with other applications. This image is based on a preconfigured reference computer, much like the computer used in creating images for disk duplication.
3. A client computer connects to the RIS server over the network. Clients must conform to the Net PC specification or have a network adapter that supports the Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE) standard for network booting.
This type of adapter allows the client to boot the computer with no pre-existing operating system installed, locate a RIS server, and start the installation process using an image on the RIS server. For clients who do not have a PXE-compliant network adapter, you can create a special boot floppy disk that will allow the client to boot up and contact the RIS server.
4. The client begins the installation of Windows XP Professional from an image on the RIS server. A RIS server can support many different disk images, and the user of the client computer can choose the image they want to use to install Windows XP Professional.
You can also configure a RIS server so that installation choices are made automatically when a client computer contacts the RIS server. The user of the client computer sees a screen that indicates the operating system being installed, but is not prompted to make any choices or provide any information. If only one image is available on the RIS server, the user also does not get to make a choice.
5. Windows XP Professional is installed on the client computer. Depending on the image and type of installation, the user might be or might not be prompted for personal information during the installation. RIS provides the following
■ It enables remote installation of Windows XP Professional.
■ It simplifies server image management by eliminating hardware-specific images and by detecting Plug and Play hardware during setup.
■ It supports recovery of the operating system and computer in the event of computer failure.
■ It retains security settings after restarting the destination computer.
■ It reduces total cost of ownership (TCO) by allowing either users or technical staff to install the operating system on individual computers.