Creating RIPREP Images

Remote Install Services is a great replacement for Ghost, which is something we grew up with from our non-AD environment. RIS, like everything, has a learning curve, but it is easier to set up machines and you don’t need to buy extra software and licenses as it is built into Windows Server.

RIPREP is the RIS version of Sysprep: a way of cloning machines to produce an installable image that can be replicated, yet that also permits some hardware variation and handles uniqueness requirements. Both have certain procedures to follow if the drivers for your particular hardware are not included with Windows. This procedure is documented in the articles referred to in yesterday’s posting. A RIPREP image is installed using PXE. I’m setting up my first RIPREP image out of necessity: one of our desktops has had to have the HDD replaced and requires a complete reload. Most of the work for imaging is actually installing the operating system and software. Running RIPREP itself requires only a small number of steps, and if you already have experience of unattended setup answer files, you are partway there.

So here we go. I’ve tried one RIPREP imaging cycle already, but it couldn’t load without the proper network drivers. That will be part of the challenge this time around. Starting with a bare PC, I’ve installed Windows from my RISETUP image that I customised on Tuesday. I’ve configured and updated the Bios, installed the latest drivers, installed applications and configured settings. Here is some of Microsoft’s technical documentation for RIPREP that I’ll refer to for the image creation process:

I’ll describe the RIPREP process in more detail in my next posting.