For a project, I had to install Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, for 64-Bit Itanium-based Systems on several IBM eServer xSeries 455 servers. To ease the pain, I wanted to use an automated deployment solution. When searching for this solution, I discovered that Microsoft Automated Deployment Services (ADS) and the Altiris Deployment Solution don't support 64-bit OSs but interestingly the Microsoft Remote Installation Services (RIS) for client computers does support this new hardware platform. Since Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft has included RIS in its server OSs. Installing RIS is easy and well documented in the Microsoft article "How To Use Remote Installation Service to Install Windows 2000 Professional on Remote Computers" (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=300483).

Unfortunately, using RIS to deploy the 64-bit version of Windows 2003 isn't as easy as installing RIS. The first problem I ran into is Windows 2003's missing support for the servers' built-in Broadcom BCM5704 NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet adapter. Even in a scripted setup (i.e., textmode), a network connection is necessary to copy the required files. Without a driver for the network adapter, RIS stops and displays an error message.

The Microsoft article "How to Add Third-Party OEM Network Adapters to RIS Installations" (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=246184) describes how to add a driver and adapter. However, the article is targeted toward the 32-bit versions of the Windows family. This article doesn't mention that you must copy the required drivers to the ia64 directory instead of the i386 directory when you're using RIS to deploy the 64-bit version of Windows 2003. Surprisingly, copying the 64-bit installation files isn't enough. You must also copy the installation files for the 32-bit versions of Windows 2003 and Win2K Server. If the directory doesn't contain the 32-bit drivers (or the 64-bit drivers with the 32-bit drivers names—a topic which I'll discuss shortly), RIS immediately stops the setup and displays the error message: The operating system image you selected does not contain the necessary drivers for your network adapter.

After I copied the necessary 64-bit and 32-bit installation files, I ran into another problem: RIS started in textmode but failed to load Win2K Server's bc57w2k.sys file (the Win2K driver) later on. Therein lies another problem: a 32-bit driver won't work with a 64-bit OS. When RIS attempted to load the 32-bit driver, I received the error message: The file b57w2k.sys is corrupted. One way to work around this problem is to delete the Win2K driver (bc57wk2.sys), the 32-bit Windows 2003 driver (bc57win32.sys), and the corresponding .cat files, then copy the 64-bit files using the names of the 32-bit driver files. With this workaround, RIS will find the driver for the network adapter and will load it in textmode.