At the organization I currently work for has been using RIS for a little over a year, and like it better than our previous method (ghost). This summer we are looking at advancing our deployment methods a bit better, so between MSI's, I was asked to look into setting up RIS to run totally automated. We have heard of RIS being used in conjuction with wake on lan to produce a very nice setup. You schedule machines to get imaged, and in the middle of the night or whatever, they run.

This is especially important for us, because we are very spread out. Many buildings are inaccessible by road and have to be flown to. This is expensive and time-consuming, so it would be great to be able to trigger and run imaging from afar.

I've googled high and low and havn't found a solution yet. Has anyone else used a setup like this?

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The only way I can think of doing this would be make all PC's to boot from LAN first by default. You would then have to modify the RIS boot screens so that no input is required (not sure if this is possible as you have to enter username and password). Try looking here: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/library/DepKit/23f274a5-0d45-45a3-ab1d-8542776c8eb3.mspx

You are then faced with a minor problem in that every time a PC reboots it is going to reinstall. The only way I can think to get round this is to control the time the RIS service is available on the server.

You could then use something like Magic Packet or other wake-on-lan software to wake clients at 4am and make sure RIS service is started on server between 4am and 4.25am (not sure how long RIS takes before 1st reboot. Just make sure service is stopped before first reboot. In fact I think service can be stopped once files are copied across.

A little messy but certainly is possible.

Other alternatives you might look at if you have a little money are things like this: http://www.argontechnology.com/view.aspx?id=advantages.htm&info=prod.xml

Which is soppused to be better than RIS, never used it though.

Another alternative to help keep the PC's clean is thus eliminate the need to reinstall as much is the Shared computer toolkit from Microsoft: http://www.argontechnology.com/view.aspx?id=advantages.htm&info=prod.xml

It is still in BETA so be careful. It has the ability to wipe out any changes since the last reboot. So as long as files are stored on a server every time you reboot you get a PC which is like new.

Hope this helps,
Answered 07/08/2005 by: markberry
Senior Yellow Belt

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