PXE Config for RIS/Unattended Dual-boot

Microsoft RIS and “Unattened” both have support for network-boot installation. With RIS, this is the only supported configuration. With Unattended, this is one of several supported configurations.

A little work needs to be done to get the two system to co-habitate on the same server.

Initially, I had throught to use the “PXELINUX” boot system which ships with Unattended as the primary boot system, adding additional entries to the default.cfg file in the TFTP boot directory. However, I have been unable to find any “how to’s” for this configuration.

Instead, we will attempt to use RIS for the primary boot image. We will then add Unattened’s PXELINUX boot files as a “Tool” in the RIS setup menu. This was done following instructions at:
http://syslinux.zytor.com/ris.php
(we omit the step that suggests altering the .osc file).
Note that the “Unattened” tool now shows up under the “RIS Service” tab in the DSA.msc MMC console (AKA “Active Directory Users and Computers”).

Since I had previously requested special DHCP configuration options for the 104.0 subnet where our pre-prod RIS/Unattended box resides, I have had to request these options be altered. They were:
next-server 132.198.104.170
filename “pxelinux.0” (note the quotes)

For RIS, the filename option needs to be changed to “/OSChooser/i386/startrom.com”. (note again the very important quotes)

Now we need to enable the “Tools” menu on the RIS server. Through near-random web searching, I discover that this is a group policy setting. For starters, I make a new GPO called “CIT – RIS Policy”. This policy is linked to the “PEOPLE” OU with NO FILTERING (at present… probably need to change that… probably make it part of the “Windows Services” user policy). I disable COMPUTER side processing, then under “Windows Settings->Remote Installation Services”, I enable “custom” and “Tools” options. NOTE that using loopback processing and linking the policy to the server’s OU does NOT work… apparently GP processing in the CIW (AKA the RIS Client Installation Wizard) is not that sophisticated.

When we netboot to the RIS server and login, we now get a TOOLS option… Huzzah!!!! When we select Tools, then Unattended, Unattended starts right up! Double Huzzah!

Interesting to note that MS maintains that OEMs will provide Tools snapins for firmware updates and the like. I will have to see if Dell makes these available.

Also consider emSoft’s RIS menu editor:
http://www.emboot.com/FREE_RIS_Menu_Editor.shtml
(This is a free download of the 1.0 version… 2.0 is a cheap pay-ware app).

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