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Microsoft® Windows® 2000/2003 Servers offer Remote Installation Services (RIS) to simplify the installation of Windows over the network. Argon Technology’s Remote Installation Services Menu Editor (RISme®) extends the functionally of RIS by allowing you to add custom items to the installation menu that appears on the Client Installation Wizard.

RISme® can be used to create client deployment images that can be used to install versions of Windows that are not natively supported by RIS, such as Windows 98, NT and 2000 Server. RISme® can also be used to create client maintenance images that can be used for such tasks as BIOS updates. (Argon has sample images available from their web site that outlines how to create deployment and maintenance images.)

RISme® also features a boot image file editor that allows you to edit image files directly without needing to recreate the image. The image editor offers enhanced features, such as support for extended sizes (up to 16 Meg) and support for accessing the client PXE environment.

This release of RISme® is compatible with images and menu items created with the 3Com Remote Installation Services Menu Editor that was released by 3Com in March 2000 (see articles about the 3Com RISme® in the RISme® Article section on the right of this page). In addition to the features of the 3Com RISME, Argon RISme® allows the program to be used from an administrator’s desktop (it does not need to be run directly on the server), and it supports Server 2003.

What can I do with Argon RISme®?

The Argon RIS Menu Editor (RISme®) is a great tool for leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Windows 2000/2003 Remote Installation Services (RIS). RISme® allows you to use the RIS PreBoot Execution Environment (PXE) space to perform BIOS updates and run DOS-based disk imaging software such as Symantec Ghost. Furthermore, you can use RISme® to deploy OS’s that are not natively supported by RIS. This list includes Windows 98, Windows NT, XP and even Windows 2000 Server.

With RISme®, you can avoid one of the most common problems with RIS: limited supported for network adapters. RISme® has no restriction on the network adapter that you can use. Virtually any network adapter that is equipped with PXE Boot Agent, Managed PC Boot Agent (MBA), RBFG or Argon’s PXE on Disk™ boot floppy can be used with RISme®. This list includes PC Cards and Ethernet USB adapters, like the Microsoft MN-110. We have customers using the Argon’s PXE on Disk with USB Ethernet adapters to deploy Windows 2000 Professional on laptops and desktops that are not natively PXE-compliant.

RISme® works by converting the contents of standard floppy diskette into a RIS-based boot image file. In theory, any bootable floppy can be converted into a RIS boot image file. This means that you can easily create a RIS-based boot image file from your Ghost or PowerQuest Client Boot floppy. Most BIOS update programs are executed from a bootable floppy diskette. These are easily converted as well. Another useful feature of RISme® is the ability to create boot image file of up 16MB in size from your normal 1.44MB floppy disk. You can update the contents of your boot image file by adding or removing files. You can also modify the contents of any text file including your CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

As mentioned earlier, RISme® can be used to create boot image files to perform any Windows OS installation. However, many IT administrators are not familiar with DOS batch scripting. To assist, we have created a sample boot image file that can be easily modified to fit your needs.

Please visit the Argon support portal and read the News Center article titled “Using Argon RIS Menu Editor to deploy Windows 2000 Professional”. Do not let the title fool you; with a little bit of tweaking you can use this boot image file to deploy Windows XP as well.