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Q: Win98 Automatic Installation ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Win98 Automatic Installation
Category: Computers > Operating Systems
Asked by: apcs_uk-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 12 Jul 2003 02:09 PDT
Expires: 11 Aug 2003 02:09 PDT
Question ID: 229092
Hi all.

As part of my job, i have to install Windows 98/2000/xp on dozens of
customer's pc's every week. The computers range from 133mhz to brand
new out-of-the box machines. They all have different hardware.

With 2000 and XP, i simply have a distribution server and use answer
files. The installation is 100% automated (unless additional drivers
are required after setup). Fantastic.

However, when it comes to automatic win98 installs, I cannot seem to
automate very much of it. I used batch98 to make an msbatch.inf file
but, despite what m$ say, it wont:

a) auto accept EULA
b) Ok the product code.

This is a pain in the arse because its right in the middle of the
installation process. Are there any other options for automating the
installation?

If anyone knows of a solution that will partition, format, install,
test, make brew i will be made up and will instantly reward you with
1,000,000*

*I wont really, but I’ll be grateful

Thanks a million :)

Request for Question Clarification by poe-ga on 13 Jul 2003 13:11 PDT
Hi APCS,

Thanks for your question. As you obviously have IT knowledge, I
apologise if I'm covering ground you already know about.

I appreciate how easy it is to install clients using RIS, but this
technique was developed after Windows 98 was released.

Also, Windows 2000 and Windows XP (Professional) were deliberately
aimed at the corporate market, which requires features like this.
Windows 98 is a home operating system that doesn't.

As such there is nothing built into Windows 98 that lets you to do
this.

Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't a solution. I would
personally recommend using Ghost, which I've used many times in a
corporate environment. It's currently a Symantec product but was
formerly Norton. It's a solid piece of software that is an industry
standard.

Build one PC manually with Windows 98, configure the drivers and
install whatever software is required, boot from a Ghost floppy (or a
CD) and copy the drive to an image. Ghost will help you to create a
bootable CD that contains this image.

To build a new PC, simply boot from the CD that you have created and
choose the image and the destination drive. It'll do the rest for you.

This avoids all installation issues as it literally replaces the
current drive with an identical image of one that you've already
tested.

I can post more detailed methods of how to do this if it would be
satisfactory as an official answer.

Poe

Clarification of Question by apcs_uk-ga on 13 Jul 2003 14:38 PDT
Thanks for your post.

Ive posted this questions in a number of places around the web and a
few people seem to be pointing to ghost.

Will it be ok for an installation on any hardware? if the os loads PNP
drivers for model computer (the one the image will be made from), will
the new computer accept the image and re-install the correct drivers,
or will it get confused with the drivers and settings on the model pc?

I know NT, 2000 and xp are fussy about HAL types on the images. Plus,
sysprep needs to be run first.

Providing that the above isnt a problem, then please post a few more
details (step by step isnt necessary - im sure it comes with
instructions) and ill accept it as an answer.

Thanks again.

Clarification of Question by apcs_uk-ga on 13 Jul 2003 14:39 PDT
also, which version would i need and what are the costs, thanks once again.

Request for Question Clarification by poe-ga on 13 Jul 2003 15:30 PDT
Hi APCS,

The quick answer is... in the main, yes. Unfortunately there are no
ways round some things.

I can see three different scenarios here.

Scenario One: Identical Hardware

This is common for many large companies because they often buy in
large amounts of identical hardware. If this is the case Ghost will do
the job without any trouble at all.

Scenario Two: No Identical Hardware

If your PCs are all different makes and models with very few
duplicates, Ghost is not going to be the answer for you and I think
you're going to be stuck with manual installations.

Scenario Three: Some Identical Hardware

If the range of PCs you deal with includes a few different makes and
models, Ghost is still going to work fine but you'll have a few issues
to deal with.

Windows NT is especially problematic with different hardware and the
corporate sites I've worked at tend towards an NT ghost image per
hardware platform. For instance, you'd need to have one image for a
Compaq Deskpro but an entirely separate image for a Dell Optiplex.

Also if there are any major differences between models within a
hardware family, again a different ghost image makes sense. For
instance, I remember having problems using an image from one model of
Dell Optiplex on a slightly newer model because the network components
were different. Thus we used two different images, one for each model.

However NT is not a Plug 'n' Play operating system. Windows 98 is.
Given a couple of caveats, you'll probably get away with minor
hardware differences (different network card, different hard drive,
different CD ROM) because Plug 'n' Play will pick them up. For
instance, you may well be safe with one image for any model of Compaq
EN.

These are the caveats:

1. The PCs must be old enough for Windows 98 to understand them. If
you're using brand new PCs, then Windows 98 is not likely to have a
clue and it will fail to install drivers for any components that
weren't in the PC you took the ghost image from.

2. You should copy the win98 directory from the Windows 98 CD to the
hard drive and Windows must know where it is. A common place to put
this is c:\windows\options\cabs. Also copy on any drivers that you
know are going to be different between models so that Windows can
still install them.

Price for Ghost would depend on where you are, but it's certainly not
going to break the bank for any company. I've been using version 7.5
at home over the last month for Windows 2000 machines. It will
certainly work fine with Windows 98.

Googling quickly, it seems to cost under $15 at the moment. There will
be newer versions but I'd be surprised if you'll be paying more than
$100 for any of them.

Do be advised that while I have a large amount of trouble free
experience with Ghost, there are alternative pieces of software on the
market, such as PowerQuest Drive Image and Acronis True Image. I can't
offer an opinion on these as I haven't used them.

Poe
Answer  
Subject: Re: Win98 Automatic Installation
Answered By: poe-ga on 17 Jul 2003 14:43 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Hi APCS, 

The quick answer is... in the main, yes. Unfortunately there are no
ways round some things.
 
I can see three different scenarios here. 
 
Scenario One: Identical Hardware 
 
This is common for many large companies because they often buy in
large amounts of identical hardware. If this is the case Ghost will do
the job without any trouble at all.
 
Scenario Two: No Identical Hardware 
 
If your PCs are all different makes and models with very few
duplicates, Ghost is not going to be the answer for you and I think
you're going to be stuck with manual installations.
 
Scenario Three: Some Identical Hardware 
 
If the range of PCs you deal with includes a few different makes and
models, Ghost is still going to work fine but you'll have a few issues
to deal with.
 
Windows NT is especially problematic with different hardware and the
corporate sites I've worked at tend towards an NT ghost image per
hardware platform. For instance, you'd need to have one image for a
Compaq Deskpro but an entirely separate image for a Dell Optiplex.
 
Also if there are any major differences between models within a
hardware family, again a different ghost image makes sense. For
instance, I remember having problems using an image from one model of
Dell Optiplex on a slightly newer model because the network components
were different. Thus we used two different images, one for each model.
 
However NT is not a Plug 'n' Play operating system. Windows 98 is.
Given a couple of caveats, you'll probably get away with minor
hardware differences (different network card, different hard drive,
different CD ROM) because Plug 'n' Play will pick them up. For
instance, you may well be safe with one image for any model of Compaq
EN.
 
These are the caveats: 
 
1. The PCs must be old enough for Windows 98 to understand them. If
you're using brand new PCs, then Windows 98 is not likely to have a
clue and it will fail to install drivers for any components that
weren't in the PC you took the ghost image from.
 
2. You should copy the win98 directory from the Windows 98 CD to the
hard drive and Windows must know where it is. A common place to put
this is c:\windows\options\cabs. Also copy on any drivers that you
know are going to be different between models so that Windows can
still install them.
 
Price for Ghost would depend on where you are, but it's certainly not
going to break the bank for any company. I've been using version 7.5
at home over the last month for Windows 2000 machines. It will
certainly work fine with Windows 98.
 
Googling quickly, it seems to cost under $15 at the moment. There will
be newer versions but I'd be surprised if you'll be paying more than
$100 for any of them.
 
Do be advised that while I have a large amount of trouble free
experience with Ghost, there are alternative pieces of software on the
market, such as PowerQuest Drive Image and Acronis True Image. I can't
offer an opinion on these as I haven't used them.
 
Poe
apcs_uk-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

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