How to Configure RIS in Windows Server 2003

Configuring Remote Installation Service (RIS)

One curiosity of the RIS service is the way you configure the options via the Computer object in Active Directory Users and Computers.  This page provides on tutorials explaining the Tabs, Menus and options for optimizing the RIS server in a Windows Server 2003 domain.  (Good news, the Windows 2000 RIS configuration is almost identical.)

Introduction to Configuring RIS

Once you have installed RIS, there is still a great deal of menus to visit before the whole RIS system kicks into effective action.  At the simple level, remember that by default, no clients will be given RIS images until you check the box on the Remote Install tab.  At the complex level, decide how many RIS Servers you need and whether to install a referral server.

Topics for RIS Configuration Options


Pre-Requisites and Assumptions – Before you Configure RIS

I am assuming that you have successfully installed the RIS service (Not a trivial task, see here if you need help to install RIS).  Most operations in this tutorial can be completed on any machine with Active Directory Users and Computers installed.  However there are just a few limitations, such as Verify where you need to be logged on at the very RIS Server Console.  (Naturally you have to be an administrator for the domain.)

Configuring RIS in Active Directory Users and Computers

Let us begin with an easy task:

  1. Open your MMC (Or select Administrative Tools)RIS Install Tab Remote Install Tab Active Directory Users and Computers
  2. Launch Active Directory Users and Computers
  3. Select the computer object corresponding to the RIS Server
  4. right-click the RIS server and select properties
  5. Click on the Remote Install Tab

Remote Install Tab – RIS Interface

In passing, note that this where set the RIS server to respond to clients requests for XP images.  Before the RIS service is ready for operation, we need to configure options.

New Clients

From the Remote Install tab, click on the Advanced Option button.  From the default tab called ‘New Clients’  see down at the bottom of the tab how you can control the container or OU where the new XP Machines will born.  The Browse button connects through to Active Directory Users and Computers where you can make your choice of OU.

If you are at the console of the very RIS server, then the ‘Verify’ button is active.  In particular check that the RIS and DHCP has been Authorized in Active Directory.  Incidentally, for the ‘Dos diehards’ there is a command line program called Risetup, however all it does is invoke the same wizard that you activate through the Remote Install, Verify Button.

Images Tab

You can check how many versions of XP are available by inspecting the Images tab.  It is also possible to add a ‘Vanilla’ versions of XP from this interface.  The most likely reason for using this menu is if the original version became corrupted.  See RiPrep for instructions how to add more flavors of XP Professional.

Tools Tab

I have never used the Tools menu.  My understanding that this is for 3rd party vendors who hook onto RIS for their installation software.

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Computer Account Generation Options

Decide How and Where to Place and What to Call the new XP Professional machines.  With care you can control every aspect of the new XP Professionals from birth at the PXE card to death when you decommission in 2020.

The naming format is a triumph for %variables to generate the unique name of each and every machine.  Take the time to investigate all the options, I guarantee it will give you ideas for naming conventions.

Summary of Configuring RIS

To me, Configuring RIS is a labor of love.  A classic case of combining business with pleasure.  As you visit all the menus described in the tutorial, you feel that you are doing a job that needs doing, while at the same time you learn a little more about RIS.

Much of the joy of configuring RIS is absorbing how RIS combines with Active Directory in a way that Ghost images could only dream of interacting.

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More Windows Server 2003 topics:

Windows RIS Server   • RIS Home   • RIS Install   • RIS Overview

Windows Services   • RIS Configure   • Windows 8 Hyper-V

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