Script the Installation with Answer Files - Page 3

 By Jerry Honeycutt
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Using Answer Files

Writing the answer file is step one. Using it with Windows 2000's setup program is next. Use Winnt.exe from MS-DOS and Winnt32.exe from Windows. The command line is straightforward:

Winnt[32] /s:source /u:answers

In this line, /s:source is the path of the Windows 2000 i386 folder and /u:answers is the path and file name of the answer file.

Generally, storing answer files in the root of the Windows 2000 network share is the best practice. Then, to install Windows 2000 from \\Camelot\Win2000 with an answer file called Winnt.sif, the command looks like this:

winnt /s:\\Camelot\Win2000\i386 /u:\\Camelot\Win2000\Winnt.sif

Beyond the Basics

We've only just begun. The sample in Listing 1 is just enough to get you started. You can use it to automate large portions of the setup program, but not all of it.

An Enterprise-worthy answer file consists of much more than you've seen so far; you learn about those advanced techniques throughout this series. For example, you can deploy third-party device drivers with Windows 2000, or deploy additional files with Windows 2000, and even install applications such as Office 2000 as part of the setup process. Or, have the setup program generate a random computer name instead of prompting the user.

Building great answer files is only part of the story. You also have a command to deploy or, better yet, a disk image to deploy. In this series, you will learn how to deploy the command via Microsoft Systems Management Server, logon scripts, task scheduler, and even the Registry. You'll also learn how to build and deploy disk images using Symantec Ghost Enterprise and Remote Installation Service.

Stay tuned! //

Jerry Honeycutt is an author, speaker, and technologist with over 25 books to his credit. He successfully uses RIS in his own small office.

This article was originally published on Feb 21, 2001
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