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70-215 Windows 2000 TechNote:
Installing Windows 2000 Server
- System Requirements
- The Installation
- Unattended Installations
--- Setup Manager
--- System Preparation Tool
- Upgrading to Windows 2000
- Service Packs
- Troubleshooting Installations

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Before you install Windows 2000 Server you should ensure that your hardware meets the system requirements. These may vary based on your system configuration and the edition of Windows 2000 (i.e. Server, Advanced Server, or Datacenter Server)
CPU 133 MHz or higher processor
Symmetric Multiprocessing support
RAM 128 MB minimum supported
MB minimum recommended
4 GB maximum supported
(8GB maximum for Windows 2000 Advanced Server and 64 GB maximum for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server)
Disk space 2 GB with approximately 1 GB free space available, 2 GB free space recommended.
- VGA-compatible or higher display adapter and monitor
- CD-ROM or DVD drive
(not required when installing over a network)
- Keyboard


You should also ensure that you hardware is listed in the Hardware Compatibility List, you can download the HCL in text file format here. When not all your hardware is on the HCL it does not necessarily mean you cannot use it with Windows 2000, check the vendor's web site if they have a 2000 driver for their device.

Multi-processor support

Windows 2000 Server supports Symmetric Multiprocessing with a maximum of 4 CPUs.

Windows 2000 Advanced Server supports SMP with a maximum of 8 CPUs.
Windows 2000 Datacenter Server supports SMP with a maximum of 32 CPUs.


A typical installation of Windows 2000 Server from a CD-ROM consist of 4 stages described below:

1. Starting Setup Program

If your computer is able to boot from CD-rom, the easiest way to start setup is to boot from the Windows 2000 Server installation CD. During this stage, which is also known as the text-based portion of setup, a mini Windows 2000 is loaded on the target computer and starts the setup program. After accepting the license agreement, setup prompts you to create or choose a partition where Windows 2000 should be installed. If you choose to create a new partition setup formats the new partition as either FAT32 or NTFS, depending on your choice.

If you need to install a third-party driver for the storage device on which you want to install Windows 2000, you need press F6 early in this stage when the corresponding message appears. You will then be able to use a custom driver from a floppy disk.

If the target computer is not able to boot from CD-rom, or you want more control over the setup process and parameters, you can start setup manually using winnt32.exe or winnt.exe, both described below. If you need to recreate the 4 Setup floppy disks, use the makeboot utility located in the Support folder on the Windows 2000 Server installation CD.


Performs an installation of or upgrade to Windows 2000. You can run winnt32.exe on Windows 9x, ME, NT, or 2000. The following table lists and describes the available command-line parameters for the winnt32.exe command:

Parameter Purpose
/checkupgradeonly Checks your computer for upgrade compatibility with Windows 2000. You can save the results in a file, upgrade.txt in the system root by default.
/cmd:command_line Instructs Setup to carry out a specific command before the final phase of Setup. This would occur after your computer has restarted and after Setup has collected the necessary configuration information, but before Setup is complete.
/cmdcons Adds the Recovery Console to the startup options. This option can only be used when Windows 2000 is already installed.
/copydir:FolderName Creates an additional folder within the folder in which the Windows 2000 files are installed. For example use /copydir:i386\corpdrivers to have Setup copy that folder to your newly installed computer, making the new folder location systemroot\corpdrivers. Use /copydir multiple times to create additional folders.
/copysource:FolderName Creates a temporary additional folder within the folder in which the Windows 2000 files are installed and is deleted after Setup completes. For example use /copysource:corpdrivers to have Setup copy that folder to your newly installed computer, making the temporary folder location systemroot\corpdrivers. Use /copysource multiple times to create additional folders.
/debug[Level]:[FileName] Creates a debug log at the level specified, for example, /debug4:InstDbg.log. The default log file is C:\systemroot\Winnt32.log, and the default debug level is 2. Level 0 represents severe errors, 1 errors, 2 warnings, 3 information, and 4 detailed information for debugging.
/m:FolderName Instructs Setup to look for installation files in this alternate location first, instead of using the files from the default location.
/makelocalsource Instructs Setup to copy all installation source files to your local hard disk.
/noreboot Instructs Setup to not restart the computer after the file copy phase of Setup is completed so that you can run another command.
/s:SourcePath Specifies the source location of the Windows 2000 files. You can copy files simultaneously from multiple servers, by using the /s:SourcePath option multiple times (up to a maximum of eight) to specify different source servers.
/syspart:DriveLetter Copies Setup startup files to the hard disk and marks the disk as active. This disk can then be installed into another computer. When you start that computer, it automatically starts with the next phase of Setup. You must always use the /tempdrive parameter with the /syspart parameter. You can start Winnt32 with the /syspart option on an x86-based computer running Windows NT 4.0, 2000, or XP. The /syspart switch requires the use of the /tempdrive switch.
/tempdrive:DriveLetter Specifies a drive letter to place temporary files. (note: for a clean installation, Windows 2000 will also be installed on the specified partition.)
/unattend[num]:[answer_file] Specifies an answer file for unattended installations, discussed in detail below in "unattended installations"
Num is the number of seconds between the time that Setup finishes copying the files and when it restarts your computer.
/udf:id [,UDB_file] Specifies an UDB file for unattended installations
Discussed below in "unattended installations"


Performs an installation of or upgrade to Windows 2000. If you have hardware that is compatible with Windows 2000, you can run winnt.exe at a Windows 3.x or MS-DOS command prompt.
The following table lists and describes the available command-line parameters for the winnt.exe command:

Parameter Purpose
/s:SourcePath Specifies the source location of the Windows 2000 files. The location must be a full path of the form x:\[Path] or \\server\share[\Path].
/t:TempDrive Directs Setup to place temporary files on the specified drive and to install Windows 2000 on that drive. If you do not specify a location, Setup attempts to locate a drive for you.
/u:answer file Discussed below in "unattended installation"
/udf:ID [,UDB_file] Discussed below in "unattended installation"
/r:folder Specifies an optional folder to be installed. The folder remains after Setup finishes.
/rx:folder Specifies an optional folder to be copied. The folder is deleted after Setup finishes.
/e:command Specifies a command to be carried out just before the final phase of Setup.
/a Enables accessibility options.
/? Displays the parameters listed above.

2. Setup Wizard

After Setup is started and the first stage of the installation is complete, the computer is rebooted and the GUI portion, known as the Setup Wizard, is started. This will start by prompting you for Regional Settings to customize keyboard, language, and locale settings. Information such as your Name and Organization, Product Key, the Computer name, Administrator password and Time and Date is also entered during this stage.

3. Installing Network components

The next stage is Installing Network components, which includes detecting the NIC. Typically the following components are installed:
- Client for Microsoft Networks
- File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks
- TCP/IP protocol suite.
You must also choose to join a Domain or Workgroup during this stage.

4. Completing the installation

During this final stage Setup copies the remaining files, configures the computer, saves the settings, removes temporary installation files and restarts the computer.

Distribution Share

Instead of installing from CD, you can also perform an installation of Windows 2000 over the network. This means creating a network share that contains the i386 folder from the Windows 2000 installation CD, and running winnt.exe or winnt32.exe with the /s parameter on the target computer to specify the network share. If you want to install custom utils, drivers etc. create an $OEM$ folder in the shared folder and place the appropriate files you want to copy to the temp directory created during stage 1 of setup. If you want to install any additional files (for example, device drivers, programs, or component files), create a $1 folder in the $OEM$ folder, this $1 folder maps to %systemdrive% on the destination drive. For example, you can also create an additional folder named Drivers in the $1 folder that, in turn, contains a NIC folder with drivers for the network adapter, in case of an unattended installation, add the following entry to the answer file, below the [Unattended] section:
OemPnPDriversPath = "Drivers\NIC"


There are several ways to perform an unattended installation of Windows 2000. Unattended mean Setup will not require any user input during the installation, although in practice this is not always the case. But this allows you to install multiple computers without actually sitting in front of them.

Setup Manager    Back to top

The Setup Manager (setupmgr.exe) can be primarily used to create or modify answer files. Once you start the Setup Manager a wizard will take you through all the steps involved, this is a bit similar to going through a regular Setup. Although answer files can be created manually using a simple text editor, the Setup Manager provides a graphical interface allowing you to easily create complex answer files, with for example additional commands which run other installation and configuration scripts when setup is finished. Besides creating the default unattend.txt answer files, you can also use the Setup Manager to create answer files for Sysprep and RIS installations. When a regular unattend.txt answer file is created you can also have Setup Manager create a distribution folder with the installation files, additional files (applications, drivers, etc.) can be installed in the same folder.

The Setupmgr.exe file must be extracted from the DEPLOY.CAB file located in the \Support\Tools folder on the 2000 installation CD. Before you enter the the information (answers) you would normally enter during the installation process, you have to select the User Interaction Level. You can choose from 5 different options:

Provide Defaults During the installation the user will see the answers provided in the answer file as defaults, the user can accept or change them.
Fully Automated Fully automated installation.
Hide Pages During the installation the user will see the answers provided in the answer file as defaults. Pages which answers are completely provided by the answer file are hidden,the user cannot accept or change those.
Read Only During the installation the user will see the answers provided in the answer file as defaults, but cannot change them.
GUI Attended This automates only the text-based stage of the installation, the user will have to enter the answers starting from the Setup Wizard.

At some point during the wizard you need to provide the computer name, if you specify multiple names Setup Manager will also create Uniqueness Database (UDB) files. The computer or user specific values in the .udf file can be used to override the values provided in the answer file.

If you want to perform an unattended installation from the command prompt on Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, or 2000, use Winnt32.exe, otherwise use winnt.exe. For example to perform an unattended installation on a computer named 2000client1 using unattend.txt as the answer file and overriding some of the answers with 2000client1 specific values in the unnattend.udf file use the following command

winnt32 /unattend:unattend.txt /udf:2000client1,unattend.udf
winnt /u:unattend.txt /udf:2000client1,unattend.udf

You can also use the /unattend parameter without specifying an answer file to upgrade Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0, or 2000 in unattended mode and take all user settings from the 'previous' installation.
If you use the /udf parameter and do not specify an UDB_file, Setup will prompt to insert a disk that contains the $Unique$.udb file.

When you want to perform an unattended installation by booting from a CD-ROM, you need to rename the answer file to winnt.sif (default is unnattend.txt) and copy it to a floppy disk. When Setup is started it looks for the winnt.sif file on the floppy disk and uses it for the unattended installation.

Using answer files in combination with winnt32, winnt, or the CD rom/winnt.sif combination is used for standardized deployment of Windows 2000 Server in situations where the target clients have many different hardware configurations.

Here's a sample part of an answer file:


UnattendMode = FullUnattended
TargetPath = Win2000
FileSystem = LeaveAlone
OemPreinstall = No
OemSkipEula = Yes

TimeZone = "YourTimeZone"
OemSkipWelcome = 1
OemSkipRegional = 1

ComputerName = *
ProductKey = "Your product key"


BitsPerPel = 16
XResolution = 800
YResolution = 600
VRefresh = 60

iis_common = On
iis_inetmgr = Off
iis_www = Off
iis_ftp = Off
iis_doc = Off
Fp_extensions = On
Indexsrv_system = On
Accessopt = On
Calc = On
Charmap = On
Chat = Off
Clipbook = On
Deskpaper = On
Dialer = On


JoinDomain = TEcorp.net
DomainAdmin = Administrator
DomainAdminPassword = XEkdf7834H

HTTP_Proxy_Server = proxysrv12:80
Use_Same_Proxy = 1


Here's an example of a simple .udf file, which can be used with the answer file above:




System Preparation Tool    Back to top

The System Preparation Tool (sysprep.exe) is used to assist in performing a large deployment of Windows 2000 on clients with identical hardware configurations. This process is fairly simple:
First Windows 2000 Server is installed and completely configured on a master disk. Next an image of the client is created using sysprep.exe, remember that only a single partition can be imaged. This image can be duplicated to other disks using third-party disk duplication software. A duplicate of the master disk is placed in the target machine and when this computer boots a mini-setup will be performed and a new SID is generated. You can use the Setup Manager Wizard to create a mini-answer file named sysprep.inf. This file must be placed in the Sysprep folder on the root where Windows is installed or saved to a floppy disk, and inserted at the beginning of Mini-Setup. (Click here for more information about using Sysprep with sysprep.inf.)

The Sysprep.exe file must be extracted from the DEPLOY.CAB file located in the \Support\Tools folder on the 2000 installation CD and supports the following parameters:

Parameter Purpose
pnp force Plug and Play enumeration on next restart
quiet run in Silent mode, with no dialog boxes
nosidgen do not regenerate security ID on restart (this is useful for creating a backup image of a client)
reboot automatically restart when the Sysprep.exe tool is finished

UPGRADING TO WINDOWS 2000    Back to top

If you are running NT 3.51 or NT 4 server, you can upgrade directly to Windows 2000 and retain settings, applications, groups, users and permissions. If you want to upgrade from Windows NT 3.5 you need to upgrade to Windows NT 3.51 or NT 4.0 first. Only the Windows NT 4.0 Server Enterprise Edition can be upgraded to Windows 2000 Advanced Server. If Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server services is installed it will be replaced by Windows 2000 Terminal Services.

Run winnt32.exe with the /checkupgrade only parameter to check if the target machine meets the minimum system requirements. You can save the results in a file, upgrade.txt in the system root by default. The results will be stored in a file named Winnt32.log. You can also run the Chkupgrd.exe utility to produce the same results.

Windows 2000 cannot be upgraded from a Network Distribution share, instead, copy the i386 folder to local disk first and start Winnt32.exe from the hard disk.

SERVICE PACKS    Back to top

Once in a while Microsoft releases a Service Pack, a combination of all previous updates and hot-fixes and some new ones. A service pack is installed using the command:

To uninstall a service pack, change to the %systemroot%\$NtservicepackUninstall$\spuninst folder and type: spuninst.exe

If you install systems over the network using a distribution share, you can update these original installation files to include the Service Pack files by using a feature called slipstreaming:
update.exe -s:distributionshare


Installations of Windows 2000 Server can fail partly or completely for many different reasons. Some common causes and possible solutions are listed in the following table:

Media errors Check/clean the CD-ROM drive and the installation CD.
SCSI disk not detected Install the drivers by pressing F6 during the text mode portion of setup.
Failure of dependency service to start Verify network settings (adapter and protocol details). This is almost always network related.
Not able to connect to a domain controller - Verify that the domain name is correct.
- Verify that the DNS server and the domain controller are online.
- Verify that the network adapter card and protocol settings are set correctly.
- If you are reinstalling Windows 2000 and using the same computer name, delete and then recreate the computer account.
- Or join a workgroup first, to finish setup.

Windows Setup creates several log files during the installation listed in the following table:

SETUPACT.LOG Keeps a record of all actions performed during setup.
SETUPERR.LOG Keeps a record of errors that occurred during setup and their severity. The information in this file will be displayed at the end of setup if any errors occurred.
%windir%\COMSETUP.LOG COM+ components
%windir%\SETUPAPI.LOG Keeps a record of each processed line from an .inf file and related errors.
%windir%\debug\NETSETUP.LOG Logs the process of joining a domain or workgroup.

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Current related skills being measured for the 70-215 exam:


Perform an attended installation of Windows 2000 Server.

Perform an unattended installation of Windows 2000 Server.
- Create unattended answer files by using Setup Manager to automate the installation of Windows 2000 Server.
- Create and configure automated methods for installation of Windows 2000.

Upgrade a server from Microsoft Windows NT® 4.0.

Deploy service packs.

Troubleshoot failed installations.

Click here for the complete list of Skills Being Measured.

Discuss this TechNote here Author: Johan Hiemstra


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