Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: Additional Installation Methods of Windows XP Professional

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Apr 17, 2002


by Jason Zandri
www.2000trainers.com

Welcome to this week's installment of Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 minutes a week, the third in this series. This article covers two additional installation methods of Windows XP Professional, over the network installations and automated installations using Windows Setup Manager.

Jason Zandri's latest article in the Learning Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week series covers two additional installation methods of Windows XP Professional, over the network installations and automated installations using Windows Setup Manager.

I was originally going to add sections for Upgrading from older operating systems to Windows XP Professional and performing RIS installations, but I have decided to defer those for the next article, as I want to detail the network setup for a RIS installation as well, and I would like another week to finalize all the data I want to include.

Installing Windows XP Professional over the Network

Before you can begin a network installation of Windows XP Professional, you need to copy the Windows XP Professional installation files to a server, normally a file or distribution server, and share out the directory so that people who need to perform an over the network installation can attach to the share. (These people will also need the proper level of Folder and NTFS permissions to attach to the share.)

The distribution server share will need to contain the installation files from the I386 folder on the Windows XP Professional CD-ROM.

From the target system, you connect to this shared directory and then run the Setup program.

The target system needs to be prepared ahead of time in order to be successful with an over the network installation. First, you need to create a FAT or FAT32 partition on the target computer of at least 1.5 GB of disk space and format it ahead of time, and you also need to either boot from a client diskette that includes a network client that enables the target computer to connect to the distribution server or install the client directly to the local system hard drive with some sort of system installed, such as formatting the hard drive with a Windows 9x boot disk with the "s" switch.

(FORMAT <DRIVE LETTER> /S Copies system files to the formatted disk to make a boot disk. This also works on a local hard drive.)

The preferred method is to boot from a client diskette that includes a network client that enables the target computer to connect to the distribution server.

As we continue from here, we will assume we are using the preferred methods of installation. As variables come up, I will mention them as a side note.

The Setup program copies the installation files to the target computer, which is why you need to create a FAT or FAT32 partition on the target computer of at least 1.5 GB of disk space and format it ahead of time.

You begin from the target computer by booting from a floppy disk that includes a network client that can be used to connect to the distribution server. Once the network client on the target computer is started, you connect to the shared folder on the distribution server that contains the Windows XP Professional installation files and Run WINNT.EXE to start the Setup program.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - WINNT.EXE is used for an installation using MS-DOS or Windows 3.0 or later versions on the source system. WINNT32.EXE is run for an installation using Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Me, Windows NT 4, or Windows 2000 Professional.

Running WINNT.EXE from the shared folder does creates the $Win_nt$.~ls temporary folder on the target computer, and the Windows XP Professional installation files are copied from the shared folder on the distribution server to the $Win_nt$.~ls folder on the target computer. Once all of the files are copied to the target system, setup will reboot the local computer and begin installing the Windows XP Professional operating system.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - WINNT.EXE and WINNT32.EXE can be modified by using switches. I have outlined the available switches below.

Modifying the Setup Process Using WINNT.EXE switches

Switch

Function

/a Enables accessibility options.
/r[:folder] Specifies an optional folder to be copied and saved. The folder remains after Setup is finished.
/rx[:folder] Specifies the optional folder to be copied. The folder is deleted after Setup is finished.
/s[:sourcepath]         Specifies the source location of Windows XP Professional files. This must be a full path x:\[path] or \\server\share\[path]. The default is the current folder location
/t[:tempdrive] Specifies a drive to contain temporary setup files and directs the Setup program to install Windows XP Professional on that drive. If you do not specify a drive, Setup attempts to locate the drive with the most available space by default.
/u[:script_file]             Performs an unattended installation. (Requires the /s switch.) The answer file provides answers to some or all of the prompts that the end user normally responds to during Setup.
/udf:id[,UDF_file] Indicates an identifier (id) that Setup uses to specify how a Uniqueness Database File (UDF) modifies an answer file. The /udf parameter overrides values in the answer file, and the identifier determines which values in the UDF file are used. If you do not specify a UDF_file, Setup prompts you to insert a disk that contains the $UNIQUE$.UDB file.

Modifying the Setup Process Using WINNT.EXE32 switches

Switch

Function

/checkupgradeonly Checks your computer for upgrade compatibility for Windows XP Professional.
  • On Windows 98 or Windows Me upgrade checks, the default filename is UPGRADE.TXT in the %systemroot% folder.
  • For Windows NT 4 or Windows 2000 upgrades, the default filename is NTCOMPAT.TXT in the %systemroot% folder.
/cmd:command_line Specifies a specific command that Setup is to run. This command is run after the computer restarts and after Setup collects the necessary configuration information.
/cmdcons Copies to the hard disk the files for the Recovery Console, which is used for repair and recovery as a Startup option after the Windows XP Professional installation has been completed.
/copydir:foldername Creates an additional folder within the %systemroot% folder, which contains the Windows XP Professional system files. You can use the /copydir switch to create as many additional folders within the %systemroot% folder as you want.
/copysource:foldername Creates an additional folder within the %systemroot% folder. Setup deletes folders created with /copysource after installation is complete.
/debug[level] [:file_name] Creates a debug log at the specified level. By default, the debug log file is C:\WINNT32.LOG and the default level is 2. Includes the following levels:
  • 0 (severe errors)
  • 1 (errors)
  • 2 (warnings)
  • 3 (information)
  • 4 (detailed information for debugging)

Each level includes the level below it.

/dudisable Prevents Dynamic Update from running. Without Dynamic Updates, Setup runs only with the original Setup files. This option disables Dynamic Update even if you use an answer file and specify Dynamic Update options in that file.
/dushare: pathname Specifies a share on which you previously downloaded Dynamic Update files from the Windows Update Web site. When run from your installation share and used with /prepareinstall, it prepares the updated files for use in network-based client installations. When used without /prepareinstall and run on a client, it specifies that the client installation will use the updated files on the share specified in pathname.
/duprepare: pathname Prepares an installation share for use with Dynamic Update files that you downloaded from the Windows Update Web site. You can use this share for installing Windows XP Professional for multiple clients and it can only be used with /dushare).
/m:foldername Instructs Setup to copy replacement files from an alternate location. Directs Setup to look in the alternate location first and, if files are present, to use them instead of the files from the default location.
/makelocalsource Instructs Setup to copy all installation source files to the local hard disk. Use this switch when installing from a CD-ROM to provide installation files when the CD-ROM is not available later in the installation.
/noreboot Prevents Setup from restarting the computer after completing the file-copy phase.
/s:sourcepath Specifies the source location of Windows XP Professional installation files. To simultaneously copy files from multiple paths, use a separate /s switch for each source path. If you type multiple /s switches, the first location specified must be available or the installation will fail. You can use a maximum of eight /s switches.
/syspart:[drive_letter] Copies Setup startup files to a hard disk and marks the drive as active. You can then install the drive in another computer. When you start that computer, Setup starts at the next phase. Using /syspart requires the /tempdrive switch. You can use syspart on computers running Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, or Windows 2000 Server. You cannot use it on computers running Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me.
/tempdrive:drive_letter Places temporary files on the specified drive and installs Windows XP Professional on that drive.
/unattend [number]: [answer_file] Performs an unattended installation. The answer file provides your custom specifications to Setup. If you don't specify an answer file, all user settings are taken from the previous installation. You can specify the number of seconds between the time that Setup finishes copying the files and when it restarts with [number]. You can specify the number of seconds only on computers running Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4, or Windows 2000 that are upgrading to a newer version of Windows XP Professional.
/udf:id[,udb_file] Indicates an identifier (id) that Setup uses to specify how a UDF modifies an answer file. The UDF file overrides values in the answer file, and the identifier determines which values in the UDF file are used. If you do not specify a UDF file, Setup prompts you to insert a disk that contains the $UNIQUE$.UDF file.

For the most part, an over the network installation of Windows XP Professional from this point forward is almost perfectly identical to installing Windows XP Professional from a CD-ROM to a clean hard disk. For more information, you can take a look at my article from last week.

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