Integrate Windows 2000 Server and Service Pack 3 to simplify installations

Installing Windows 2000 servers takes time because you must install the latest service pack as well, but there's a better way. John Sheesley shows you how to integrate Service Pack 3 with your original Windows 2000 files.

Installing additional Windows 2000 servers on your network is a time-consuming chore made longer by the need to download and install the latest service pack, currently Service Pack 3. If only there were a better way.

But wait! There is! With Windows 2000, Microsoft included the ability to create integrated installations that combine current service pack files and the system files on your original Windows 2000 Server CD-ROM. When you install new Windows 2000 servers using the integrated installation, the service pack will install seamlessly at the same time as your base Windows 2000 installation. In this Daily Feature, I’ll show you how to create a Windows 2000 Server/Service Pack 3 integrated installation.

Creating an integrated installation
Creating an integrated installation is very simple. First, create a folder on one of your Windows 2000 servers to store the integrated installation. You can call this folder anything you want, but you should make it something meaningful, such as w2ksetup. The easiest way to create the folder is to start a command prompt on your server, type md w2ksetup, and press [Enter].

Next, put your original Windows 2000 Server CD-ROM into your server’s CD-ROM drive. From the command prompt you just opened, copy all the files from the original Windows 2000 Server CD-ROM to the w2ksetup directory by typing xcopy d:\*.* c:\w2ksetup /e and pressing [Enter]. This will copy the I386 directory and all the subdirectories and files under it to the server’s directory.

Next, you’ll need the W2ksp3.exe file that contains the Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 files. It doesn’t matter how you obtain the file, whether from the Internet or from a Windows 2000 Service Pack CD. Create a temporary directory on your server and copy the W2ksp3.exe file into it. Next, extract the Service Pack 3 files from the file by typing w2ksp3 /x at a command prompt in the temporary directory and pressing [Enter]. When you see the Choose Directory For Extracted Files dialog box, type c:\tempdir, where tempdir is the name of the temporary directory you created, and click OK.

After the files extract, type c:\tempdir\I386\Update\Update.exe –s:C:\w2ksetup to cause Update to create the integrated installation. After it completes, you can use the files in the w2ksetup directory to install completely patched versions of Windows 2000 on new servers.

To put the integrated installation to use, you can either burn a new CD-ROM from the w2ksetup directory or create a network share for the w2ksetup directory and then connect to it over your network. You’ll run Setup for the integrated installation just as you would from your original CD-ROM. You can also use Remote Installation Services (RIS) to create a network-distributable version of an integrated installation.

Creating an integrated installation using RIS
If you’ve used RIS to create new Windows 2000 installations, you know how handy it can be. You can also use RIS to create and distribute Windows 2000/Service Pack 3 integrated installations.

Author’s note
This Daily Feature only shows how to create integrated RIS images. It doesn’t go into the details of RIS itself. For more information about RIS, see the Daily Drill Down entitled “Installing Windows 2000 with the Remote Installation Service.”

To begin, you’ll need a RIS image, either a CD-based image or RIPrep image. Next, on the RIS server, click Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | Active Directory Users And Computers. In the left pane on the Active Directory Users And Computers screen, click the container object that contains the RIS server. In the right pane, right-click the RIS server’s name and then click Properties.

When the Properties  dialog box appears, click the Remote Install tab and then click Advanced Settings. When the Advanced page appears, click the Images tab and then click Add to add an OS image. When prompted for the image source, point to the share containing this update.

Assimilation complete
In the olden days of Windows NT, creating new servers was a time-consuming chore. You had to first install Windows NT and then go back and apply the latest service pack to your new server. You can now integrate the latest service pack with your original unpatched versions and then create new servers that are fully patched from the start with a Windows 2000 Server/Service Pack 3 integrated installation.

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