RIS and PXE requirements

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

RIS and PXE requirements

Remote Installation Services (RIS) supports remote installations of Windows ServerĀ 2003 operating systems. This means that you can initiate RIS-based installations remotely on a computer without being physically present at the computer. RIS eliminates the need to use either the operating system CD or a floppy disk containing a Winnt.sif file. For more information, see Enabling Emergency Management Services during a new installation.

  • RIS support is available on both x86 and Itanium-based systems.

For remote installations to be possible, the client computers must have a network adapter that is Pre-Boot eXecution Environment (PXE) capable. You can then perform installations using a network connection on systems without CD-ROM drives and on systems that have non-formatted or non-partitioned hard disks.

The firmware should recognize the PXE-capable network adapter as a valid boot device and as part of the boot order selection. In addition, the firmware should provide the option of using the F12 key to initiate a remote boot using a keystroke, thus circumventing the boot order. You can use this ability to change the boot order to implement emergency recovery procedures if necessary.


The Startrom.com file is the first file that an x86-based RIS client downloads to begin the boot process. There are multiple versions of this file. Based on the PXE capabilities of your firmware, you can use Emergency Management Services-specific versions of Startrom.com to make use of console redirection for x86-based RIS clients. The Boot Information Negotiation Layer service (BINLSVC) creates an answer file that allows the rest of Setup to run without user input. Itanium-based RIS clients do not use Startrom.com, however. Instead, you can configure the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) to redirect output, and then use the PXE-capable network adapter to boot the computer.

Although you can use the Startrom.com files with systems that are not designed to work with Emergency Management Services, it is better to rely on the firmware to redirect its console output to the out-of-band management port and to use a standard Startrom.com file. This allows Startrom.com to be more flexible in its use of baud rates.

  • Hdlscom1.com and Hdlscom2.com. For systems that do not support firmware console redirection, these files display the Press F12 for network boot prompt, using console redirection to serial port 1 or 2. Users can either press F12 to proceed with the boot process, or they can exit the boot process by not pressing F12. If a user presses the F12 key when prompted, Hdlscom1.com and Hdlscom2.com cause the PXE client to boot into the Client Installation Wizard only when the basic input/output system (BIOS) attempts a network boot. These files are installed by default with RIS.

  • Hdlscom1.n12 and Hdlscom2.n12. For systems that support firmware console redirection, these files do not display the Press F12 for network boot prompt and do not wait for user input. When you use one of these files, the PXE client will always boot into the Client Installation Wizard when the BIOS attempts a network boot.

All Emergency Management Services-specific versions of Startrom.com rely on the BIOS to redirect their output to the out-of-band management port and to the video card, if one is attached. Emergency Management Services is available with or without a video card.

To use a Hdlscomx.com or Hdlscomxn12 file, you must first rename it to Startrom.com, and then copy it to the BINLSVC server. By default, these files are located in the ServerName\reminst\oschooser\i386 folder, where ServerName is the name of the RIS server running the BINLSVC.

Client Installation Wizard

The Client Installation Wizard automatically directs its entire user interface through the out-of-band port and a local console if one is attached to the computer. The Client Installation Wizard determines which out-of-band port to use by either reading the Serial Port Console Redirection (SPCR) table (if available) or by using the same port as Startrom.com. For more information, see Enabling the SPCR table.

For more information about RIS, see Remote Installation Services.