Server RIS

As with the other deployment methods, Remote Installation Services (RIS) in Windows Server 2003 is similar to Windows 2000. The major difference is the platforms supported for RIS installations. When Windows 2000 was released, it supported only RIS installations of Windows 2000 Professional. Hot fixes and service packs eventually added support for Windows 2000 server and Windows XP. Windows Server 2003 RIS supports the installation of all versions of Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003, except Windows 2000 Data Center and Windows Server 2003 Data Center, of course.


Although you can deploy all versions of Windows Server 2003 with RIS, the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition can be deployed only using CD-based images; all the others can be deployed with either CD-based or RIPrep images.


For a brief overview of RIS in Windows 2000, visit and enter this book's ISBN number (no hyphens or parenthesis) in the Search field; then click the book cover image to access the book details page. Click the Web Resources link in the More Information section, and locate article ID# A010201.

Installing RIS

Remote Installation Services in Windows Server 2003 is installed the same as it is in Windows 2000?by installing the Remote Installation Service Windows Component in Add or Remove Programs. Just like in Windows 2000, installing the Windows component only installs the service components. However, installing the service in Windows Server does not require a reboot like Windows 2000 does. RIS still needs to be configured separately before it can be used. Unlike Windows 2000, the configuration of RIS is much more straightforward and easier to find. In Windows 2000, you must find the risetup.exe file to launch the configuration program. In Windows Server 2003, however, a shortcut to risetup.exe (Remote Installation Services Setup Properties) is placed on the Administrative Tools menu. Running this shortcut creates the initial CD-based image and configures RIS to respond to client requests.

Configuring RIS

Remote Installation Services properties are configured in the same place as they were in Windows 2000?on the Remote Install tab of the Computer object of the RIS server in Active Directory Users and Computers. A new Verify Server button appears on the Remote Install tab that can be useful in troubleshooting a RIS installation. Clicking this button launches the Check Server Wizard that runs diagnostics to determine whether any problems exist with the Remote Installation Services installation on the specified computer. It can also restart the RIS services and attempt to authorize the RIS server as a DHCP server in Active Directory. These same diagnostics can be performed by running the Remote Installation Services Setup Properties. After RIS has been configured, this wizard has a new option labeled Check This Remote Installation for Errors. Selecting this option runs the RIS server diagnostics.

Another new button on the Remote Install tab is the Show Clients button. This button runs an Active Directory query to display all the RIS installed clients associated with the specified RIS server. This enables you to see how many clients each server is managing, which helps in load balancing your RIS deployments.


The Verify Server and Show Clients buttons are also available with Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000.

Furthermore, the client RIS experience can be managed with the same group policies as Windows 2000. The RIS group policy settings determine the options available to the user and the amount of interaction during the setup process, whether the user can restart a previously failed setup, whether he sees the RIS maintenance and troubleshooting tools, how much he can interact with the installation, whether it is fully automated, whether he is prompted for anything, and whether he can customize and change anything.

  • For more information on Group Policies, see "New Group Policies," p. 93.