In The Trenches: RIS Stumbles Again

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Sep 17, 2000


Thomas Shinder

Almost every time I've had a chance at implementing Windows 2000 Pro clients using the Remote Installation Service (RIS) I end up dealing with another issue related to how the service works. The number of gotcha's associated with using RIS seems to grow each month, as more people have a chance to work with it. This is likely an issue related to Microsoft's tendency to take a couple of times to rework a new technology. I have no doubt that by service pack 3 or 4, RIS will act like a well-oiled machine.

Almost every time I've had a chance at implementing Windows 2000 Pro clients using the Remote Installation Service (RIS) I end up dealing with another issue related to how the service works. The number of gotcha's associated with using RIS seems to grow each month, as more people have a chance to work with it. This is likely an issue related to Microsoft's tendency to take a couple of times to rework a new technology. I have no doubt that by service pack 3 or 4, RIS will act like a well-oiled machine.

That being said, let me share with you another of our RIS tribulations.

A Typical Rollout

We were called to do a small roll-out of Windows 2000 Pro that included installing the base operating system on about 50 machines. This is no big deal, and we could have used a simple unattended setup script to do it. But we thought, what the heck, RIS is cool new technology and we'll get a chance to kick its tires again.

We installed a RIS Server and authorized it in the Active Directory. We were careful to check the Event Log on a regular basis to be sure that nothing had gone awry. We also made sure that the RIS Server was also a DHCP Server, since we've had problems in the past with splitting the RIS and DHCP duties. The RIS boot floppies were created without incident. Finally, we ran the risetup program from the Run command, and we were ready to rock.

"Now What?"

Or so I thought. I can still hear Debi saying to me "Now What?" Of course, this was before I told her that RIS didn't want to play nice with us again. Thanks to the miracle of the hidden camera, I can show you the helpful message we received:

At least the Microsoft programmers have a sense of humor. They remembered the old joke about the Reset button being the "any key".

It was time to hit the TechNet CD-ROM again. If there were only a way to copy the entire contents of that CD into my pre-frontal cortex, life would be a lot easier.

Thou Shalt Not Multihome without Consequences

So, what was the problem? The issue was related to our RIS Server being a Multihomed machine. If you are running a RIS Server on a multihomed machine, you need to be aware of the following:

  • A Multihomed RIS Server must be running the DHCP Service
  • The DHCP Service must have a scope configured for each of its connected networks, and those scopes must be enabled and active
  • When you Authorize the RIS Server, you must enter Each IP Address for the RIS Server in the Authorization Dialog Box. If you use the RIS Server's name, only one of the adapters on the RIS will be recognized as Authorized

Multihoming a Windows machine of any flavor always seems to lead to a world of hurt. So, we should have anticipated this bungle. After authorizing all adapters on the computer in the Active Directory, the RIS Clients installed without incident.

For More Information

For more information on Multihomed RIS Servers, click HERE.

For more information on why the RIS Server Boot Floppy won't work, click HERE.

For more information on the RIS Server in general, click HERE.

For more information on how to pass the RIS section of your Microsoft exams, click HERE.

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