Perform an unattended RRAS installation on an existing NT Server 4.0 system

Installing RRAS on Windows NT Server 4.0 systems can be a tedious multistep process. In "Unattended RRAS Installations, Part 1," September 2000, I showed you how to include RRAS and Service Pack 6a (SP6a) in an unattended NT Server 4.0 installation. In that unattended installation method, you create a customized RRAS installation folder and an unattend.txt file that guide the unattended installation process.

That technique works well for new server installations, but what if you want to add RRAS to an existing NT Server system's configuration? Using a slightly modified method, you can perform an unattended installation of RRAS to an existing NT Server 4.0 system. This solution is handy in situations in which you need to upgrade several NT Server systems to include RRAS (e.g., for a company VPN). In this scenario, I assume that your system is already running NT Server 4.0 and SP6a.

First, you must ensure that the server isn't running any of the following network services, which will interfere with the automated RRAS installation process: DHCP relay agent, Routing Information Protocol (RIP) for IP, RIP for NWLink IPX/SPX, Service Advertising Protocol (SAP) agent, and RAS (or RRAS). If you discover any of these services on the server, remove them and reboot before you proceed. Second, you need to make sure that you've installed support for all the adapters, such as modems and VPN adapters, that the server will use as RRAS devices.

After you verify the server's configuration, you must create a customized RRAS installation folder. First, download the RRAS installation files from http://www.microsoft.com/ ntserver/nts/downloads/winfeatures/rras/rrasdown.asp, then expand the files into a temporary folder (e.g., C:\rras) by typing at a command prompt

mpri386 /c

(This command works for Intel systems. To expand the files on an Alpha system, use the mpralpha /c command.)

Next, you need to replace two of the RRAS files, mprsetup .exe and rascfg.dll, with updated versions from the \i386 folder of the SP6a CD-ROM or RRAS installation folder. (If you have the downloadable, self-extracting version of SP6a, you access the updated versions by first using the sp6i386.exe /x command to expand the SP6a files into a temporary folder.) However, the updated files on the CD-ROM have .ste extensions, so you must rename them with the old versions' file extensions after you copy the updated files to your custom RRAS installation folder and delete the outdated versions.

Next, modify the $winnt$ .inf file in the \%systemroot%system32 folder (e.g., C:\winnt\system32) of your NT installation to include the customized RRAS configuration parameters that are appropriate for your network. (Section 3 of the readme.txt file in the SP6a CD-ROM's \support\rras folder includes a list of parameters and example configurations.)

The next step is to launch the RRAS installation in unattended-installation mode from the customized installation folder you've just created. The format of the RRAS setup command is

mprsetup.exe /u <installation source folder path>

After the unattended RRAS installation process completes, you must reinstall SP6a. Unfortunately, this unattended installation process doesn't let you include the SP6a update in the unattended RRAS installation. However, you can create a similar effect by scripting the SP6a installation process (e.g., using a batch file) and launching the SP6a installation in unattended mode after the RRAS installation completes. To do so, launch the update.exe SP6a installation executable file with the /u option to run the installation in unattended mode, /q to run it in quiet mode (in which the system presents no installation progress or status information), and /z to prevent the system from automatically rebooting at the end of the SP6a installation. If you have the self-extracting version of SP6a, you can use the /x switch to extract the SP6a installation files.