When you install Windows 2000 Professional on several computers with identical hardware configurations, the most efficient installation method to use is disk duplication. By creating a disk image of a Windows 2000 Professional installation and copying that image to multiple destination computers, you save time in the mass installation of Windows 2000 Professional. This method also creates a convenient reference image that you can easily copy again to a computer that is experiencing significant problems.
Disk imaging and duplication technologies have been improved in Windows 2000 Professional over previous versions of Windows. One of the tools that you will use for disk duplication is the improved System Preparation tool (Sysprep.exe) that now ships with Windows 2000 Professional. Knowing how to use this tool can help support professionals prepare master disk images for efficient mass installations. You can use a number of third-party disk-imaging tools to copy the image to other computers. This lesson explains how to use the System Preparation tool to prepare the master image.
After this lesson, you will be able to
Estimated lesson time: 25 minutes
To install Windows 2000 Professional by using disk duplication, you first need to install and configure Windows 2000 Professional on a test computer. After you have done this, you need to install and configure any applications and application update packs on the test computer. Then you run Sysprep.exe on the test computer to prepare the computer for duplication.
Before you can use the Windows 2000 Professional System Preparation tool, you must copy the necessary files onto the computer you are using to create the master image. To copy the System Preparation tool, you must extract the files from the Deploy.cab file in the Support\Tools folder on the Windows 2000 Professional CD-ROM. For the steps to do this, see Exercise 1, "Extracting the Windows 2000 Professional Installation Deployment Tools," in Lesson 4 of this chapter.
The System Preparation tool was developed to eliminate several problems you might encounter when copying disks. First of all, every computer must have a unique security ID (SID). If you copied an existing disk image to other computers, every computer on which the image was copied would have the same SID. To prevent this problem, the System Preparation tool adds a system service to the master image that will create a unique local domain SID the first time the computer to which the master image is copied is started.
The System Preparation tool also adds a Mini-Setup wizard to the master copy. The Mini-Setup wizard runs the first time the computer to which the master image is copied is started. The Mini-Setup wizard guides the user through the process of entering such user-specific information as the following:
The Mini-Setup wizard can be scripted using the Setup Manager wizard so that this user-specific information can be entered automatically.
The System Preparation tool causes the master image to force the computer on which the master image is copied to run a full Plug and Play device detection. The hard disk controller device driver and the HAL on the computer on which the disk image was generated and on the computer to which the disk image was copied must be identical. The other peripherals, such as the network adapter, the video adapter, and sound cards on the computer on which the disk image was copied, need not be identical to the ones on the computer on which the image was generated.
The System Preparation tool can also be customized; Table 1.4 describes the switches that you can use to customize Sysprep.exe.
Table 1.4 Available Switches for Sysprep.exe
|/quiet||Runs with no user interaction|
|/pnp||Forces Setup to detect Plug and Play devices on the destination computers|
|/reboot||Restarts the source computer|
|/nosidgen||Doesn't regenerate SIDs on the destination computers|
In this practice, you will use the Windows 2000 System Preparation tool to prepare a master image for disk duplication.
You must complete Exercise 1 of Lesson 4 in this chapter and extract the System Preparation tool from the Windows 2000 Professional CD-ROM before you can complete the following exercise.
If you complete the following exercise, you will have to reinstall Windows 2000 Professional on your computer.
A Windows 2000 Professional System Preparation Tool message box appears, warning you that running Sysprep might modify some of the security parameters of this system.
If you run Sysprep on your computer, you will lose some of the security parameters on your computer.
You can run the Setup Manager wizard to create a Sysprep.inf file. Sysprep.inf provides answers to the Mini-Setup wizard on the destination computers. You can also use this file to specify customized drivers. The Setup Manager wizard creates a Sysprep folder at the root of the drive image and places Sysprep.inf in this folder. The Mini-Setup wizard checks for Sysprep.inf in the Sysprep folder at the root of the drive in which Windows 2000 Professional is being installed.
After running Sysprep on your test computer, you are ready to run a third-party disk image copying tool to create a master disk image. Save the new disk image on a shared folder or CD-ROM. Copy this image to the multiple destination computers.
End users can then start the destination computers. The Mini-Setup wizard will prompt the user for computer-specific variables, such as the administrator password for the computer and the computer name. If a Sysprep.inf file was provided, the Mini-Setup wizard will be bypassed and the system will load Windows 2000 Professional without user intervention. You can also automate the completion of the Mini-Setup wizard further by creating a Sysprep.inf file.
When you use disk duplication, the mass storage controllers and HALs for the test computer and all destination computers must be identical.
In this practice, you use a master disk image to install Windows 2000 Professional. You have just created a master disk image. Normally you would use a third-party tool to copy this disk image to another computer. For the purposes of this practice, you reinstall Windows 2000 Professional using the master disk image as if it were a computer that had the disk image copied to it.
After a few minutes, the Welcome To The Windows 2000 Setup wizard appears.
The License Agreement page appears.
The Regional Settings page appears.
The Personalize Your Software page appears.
The Your Product Key page appears.
The Computer Name And Administrator Password page appears.
The Modem Dialing Information page appears.
The Date And Time Settings page appears.
The Networking Settings page appears. This might take a few minutes.
The Workgroup Or Computer Domain page appears.
The Performing Final Tasks page appears briefly, and then the Completing The Windows 2000 Setup Wizard page appears. This might take a few minutes while Setup completes.
The computer restarts, and the Welcome To The Network Identification wizard appears.
The Users Of This Computer page appears.
The Completing The Network Identification wizard appears.
The System Preparation tool (Sysprep.exe) described in this lesson prepares the master computer to be duplicated. One of the primary functions of the System Preparation tool is to delete SIDs and all other user-specific or computer-specific information. You can use four switches to customize Sysprep.exe.
This lesson also showed you that after you run Sysprep.exe on the master computer, you can use a third-party tool to capture the image and copy it to the destination computers. When the user restarts the destination computer, the Mini-Setup wizard appears. You can also automate the completion of the Mini-Setup wizard further by creating a Sysprep.inf file.