Enjoy a new SP6 feature that lets you automate RRAS installations

A new feature of Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 6 (SP6) lets you use one of two methods to automate RRAS installation, depending on your server's current state. In the first scenario, you install RRAS and SP6a during an unattended installation of NT Server 4.0.

To use this method, you need to create a network share for the installation source files, then copy the contents of the NT Server CD-ROM's \i386 folder (or \alpha folder for Alpha-based servers) to the network share. After copying the files, you need to share the folder on the network. Next, delete 63 of the files you just copied from the installation folder. Figure 1 lists the files you need to delete. After deleting the files, create a new subfolder named $OEM$ under your installation source folder. In this new folder, use a text editor (e.g., Notepad) to create a file called cmdlines.txt and input the following lines in the file:

$Commands$
".\update\update.exe ­u ­z ­n"

Cmdlines.txt will instruct NT Setup to install SP6a at the end of the GUI mode portion of NT Setup.

Next, copy the contents of SP6a's \i386 (or \alpha) folder and its subfolders into the $OEM$ folder you created. (If you downloaded a compressed SP6a version, you must extract the files into the $OEM$ folder by running the SP6a compressed executable file with the /x option.) The next step is to expand the RRAS source files and copy them into the root of your unattended installation source folder. To do so, run the mpri386.exe (or mpralpha .exe) RRAS installation file at a command prompt by typing

Mpri386 /c

You also need to copy to your unattended installation folder the four updated RRAS files that supersede those that the original version of RRAS includes (i.e., the 63 outdated files that you previously deleted). You can find the first two files, dosnet.inf and txtsetup.sif, in the \support\rras\i386 folder of the SP6a CD-ROM. The second two files, mprsetup.ste and rascfg.ste, are in the main (i.e., \i386) folder of the SP6a CD-ROM. The target names of the mprsetup.ste and rascfg.ste files are mprsetup.exe and rascfg.exe, respectively. Therefore, be sure to rename the extensions of these files after you copy them to the unattended installation source folder.

Next, modify the unattend.txt file in the installation source folder to include any RRAS-specific configuration settings. You can find documentation about these optional configuration parameters and a sample unattend.txt file in the readme .txt file in the SP6a CD-ROM's \support\rras folder.

After your installation source is ready to go, you need simply to launch Setup in unattended mode, using the following command-line format:

Winnt$32$ /u:  /s:

After Setup completes your unattended installation, you'll be the proud owner of an SP6a-patched, RRAS-enabled NT Server installation. (For more detailed information about the process I've described, see the Microsoft articles "Unattended Setup Parameters for Unattend .txt File" at http://support.microsoft.com/ support/kb/articles/q155/1/97.asp and "Installing Windows NT 4.0 Service Packs During Unattended Installation" at http://support.microsoft .com/support/kb/articles/ q168/8/14.asp.) In Part 2, I'll show you how to perform an unattended RRAS installation on an existing NT Server system.