Connecting a Client to a RIS Server with a RIS Boot Disk

A couple of weeks ago I read a really good article on the Remote Installation Services (RIS). Although the article went into a lot of detail on the server-side preparations, it never addressed the issue of connecting the client to the server. As I looked around the Web, I noticed that not many Web sites address the issue of connecting clients to a RIS server for the first time; the few sites that do address this issue don’t go into much detail. In this article, I’ll explain how to connect a client to a RIS server.

Creating a RIS Boot Disk

The method I’ll describe for connecting a client to a RIS server involves using a bootable network card to connect to the RIS server. However, many network cards simply don’t include boot proms. If this is the case with your network cards, you can create a RIS boot disk. The RIS boot disk basically takes the place of the PXE ROM chip on boot-enabled network cards.

Creating a RIS boot disk is a simple process. Follow these steps:

  1. a blank 1.44MB disk into the server’s floppy drive.
  2. Run the RBFG.EXE program found in the RIS server’s RemoteInstallAdminI386 directory. The Remote Boot Disk Generator dialog box will open.
  3. In this dialog box, select the radio button that corresponds to the floppy drive containing the blank disk.
  4. Click Adaptor List, and you’ll see a list of the supported types of network cards. Select the appropriate network card from the list.
  5. To create the disk, click the Create Disk button.

When you’ve created the boot disk, simply boot the client machine using the disk. The actual procedure may vary depending on your network configuration, but I’ll walk you through some of the basics.

Booting with the Disk

As your machine boots, you may be prompted to press F12 to boot from the network. The Client Installation Wizard will start; press Enter to bypass the wizard’s introduction screen. Next, enter a login name for the domain you’re joining. Remember that if you haven’t already created a computer account, then the user must have sufficient privileges to create one. You can now enter the user’s password and the domain’s DNS name. Finally, you’ll be prompted to perform either a Setup or a Custom Setup. You may also have the option of repairing a failed setup or of performing maintenance or troubleshooting.

From here, the information you’ll enter will vary widely depending on the option you’ve chosen. However, the basic setup process is very simple and involves entering a minimal amount of information (for example, the computer name and a Directory Service path for the computer account). You shouldn’t have any trouble. //

Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance writer. His past experience includes working as the director of information systems for a national chain of health care facilities and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. Because of the extremely high volume of e-mail that Brien receives, it’s impossible for him to respond to every message, although he does read them all.

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