Showing posts from January, 2012

A+ Preparing the Hard Disk for Installation, XP/2K

In Windows XP/2000: • To use all of the space in the disk, make sure that Unpartitioned Space is highlighted and press Enter • To use only part of the space, press C to Create Partition, and specify the partition size on the next screen. Press Enter after specifying the desired size.
• To use an existing partition, arrow to that partition so that it becomes highlighted and press Enter. Be careful, whatever partition you select for the installation will be formatted. • To delete a pre-existing partition, press D, then press Enter at the next screen, and finally press L to confirm. After partitioning is complete in Windows XP/2000, you need to format the partitions. Normally, you would select NTFS. Select FAT if the partition is under 32GB in size. If you specify FAT, the partition will be FAT16 if it is under 2GB in size and FAT32 if it is 2GB or larger. Windows XP offers the option to perform a quick format (saves time) or a regular format (takes longer but verifies the entire disk sur…

A+ Preparing the Hard Disk for Installation, 7/Vista

There are three different file systems supported by Windows Vista/XP:

    • NTFS
    • FAT32
    • FAT16 (also known as FAT)

Which file system should you use for the operating system installation? Most of the time you will use NTFS, unless you want to install to a pre-existing FAT32 partition and do not want to lose data during the installation. The largest FAT32 partition that Windows can format during installation is 32GB; larger partitions must be formatted as NTFS. FAT16 is supported so that Windows can access other devices such as memory sticks or older hard drives, but chances are you won’t come across it very often.

Keep in mind that much of the data security of Windows comes from the use of NTFS. If NTFS is not used to prepare a drive, encryption and compression are not available, nor is user-level or group-level access control. Windows Vista and 7 can be installed only or NTFS drives.

When prompted, you have the option to use all the unpartitioned space on an empty hard disk …

A+ Network Configuration

Windows Vista will recognize and install most networking devices automatically. However, Windows XP recognizes dial-up modems, network adapters, and IEEE-1394 adapters as network devices, but during installation you might receive the following prompts:

    • If you have a dial-up modem installed *rare, but you may find these at remote locales), Windows will ask you to provide dialing information, such as the area code for the telephone line used by the modem and whether you must dial 9 to get an outside line.

    • If you have a network adapter installed (standard), you are prompted to select either Typical or Custom as the network type and specify the network name and type (workgroup or domain name).

You should select Custom to have the opportunity to fine-tune your network configuration:

    • You can prevent your network from treating an IEEE-1394 adapter as a network device by clearing the network component checkboxes for the adapter.

    • You can improve network performance betw…

A+ Replication in Server 2003

Server 2003 has a directory partition type, the Application directory partition, only on Windows 2003 DCs. Applications and services use this partition for application-specific data. Creating, modifying, moving, and deleting an object trigger a replication between domain controllers. Replications are either:

Intrasite (within a site) replication mostly use LAN connections. Intrasite replication does not compress data, so it saves CPU time.  The replication partners poll each other periodically and notify each other when changes need to be replicated, and then pull the information for processing. Active Directory uses a remote procedure call (RPC) transport protocol for intrasite replication. Intersite (between sites) replication uses WAN connections; large amounts of data are compressed to save WAN bandwidth. Replication partners do not notify each other when changes need to be replicated to save bandwidth. Instead, administrators configure the replication schedule to update the inform…

A+ Server replication

Server replication copies changes made to a replica on one domain controller (DC) to replicas on all the other DCs in the network. Each DC stores 3 types of replica partitions:

Schemas store definitions & attributes of objects that can be created in the forest and changes made in this partition replicate to all DCs in all the domains in the forest.Configurations store logical structure of forest deployment, with domain structure and the replication topology used. Changes replicate to all DCs in all the domains in the forest.Domains store all objects in a domain. Changes replicate to all DCs in the domain.


A+ logical topology AKA signal topology

All LANs connect devices in a way specifying how they're arranged & how they communicate with each other. The cables or wireless system that moves data, the physical structure, is the physical topology. The logical topology, defines how the signals act on the network media, or the way that the data passes through  the network from one device to the next without regard to the physical interconnection of the devices.

Logical topologies are tied to network protocols, or rules, defining how the data moves across a network. Ethernet is now the common logical bus topology protocol.

The logical topology is not necessarily the same as its physical topology. For example, twisted pair Ethernet is a logical bus topology in a physical star layout, whereas old school Ethernet used a physical bus layout.

A+: Installation Method Options

There are several options to consider when installing Windows, including unattended versus attended installations, the type of file system to select, and the network configuration.  In an attended installation, you must provide information at various points during the process. To create an unattended installation, you must create the appropriate type of answer file for the installation type. Windows Vista uses the Windows System Image Manager, and both Windows XP Professional and Windows 2000 Professional include the Setupmgr.exe program to aid in the creation of an answer file. In Windows Vista only the Unattend.xml file is created. This takes the place of all the previous files used by Windows XP/2000.
In Windows XP and Windows 2000 the following files are created: • Unattend.txt— Provides answers when you start the installation from a network share or from a command line. • Sysprep.inf— Provides answers when running the Sysprep mini-setup on a target machine after copying th…

A+: Using Boot Disks (XP/2000 only)

If you need to install Windows XP to a system that cannot be booted from the CD or DVD drive, you can download a file that can be used to make boot disks. Use these disks to start the installation process. The system will prompt you for each floppy disk, one by one, and after you have inserted the last one it should then be able to read off of the CD-ROM to complete the installation. Note that there are different sets of floppy disks for Windows XP Home, and XP Professional, and for the specific service pack that is packaged as part of the CD. Make sure to download the correct version. These disks are available from Microsoft at After downloading the appropriate file, you must provide six blank (or overwritable) floppy disks that will be used for the boot disk maker program. Start the program and provide each disk when prompted, followed by the Windows XP CD-ROM. At the end of the process, you will have six disks that are used to st…

A+: Installing Windows from a Recovery DVD/CD

Most vendors no longer provide a full installation DVD/CD of Windows for computers with preinstalled Windows installations. Instead, a recovery DVD/CD (or sometimes a hidden hard disk partition, or both) containing a special image of the Windows installation is provided. Systems that store the image on a hidden disk partition might offer the opportunity to create a restore image on a recordable DVD/CD.

    Note: A recovery disc is also known as a system restoration disc. These special versions of Windows aren’t standalone copies of Windows, meaning you can’t use them to install Windows on another PC (unless the PC is identical to the one for which the disc was made).

Typically, you have limited choices when you want to restore a damaged installation with a recovery disc or recovery files on a disk partition. Typical options include

    • Reformatting your hard disk and restoring it to just-shipped condition (causing the loss of all data and programs installed after the system was firs…

A+: Disk Images and Sysprep

A cloned system is identical in every way to the original, including having the same Security Identifier (SID). This can cause conflicts in a network. The SID and other differences in network configuration between the original and a cloned system can be automatically configured with the Sysprep utility from Microsoft. The Sysprep utility for Windows Vista is installed with the operating system and can be found by navigating to C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep. The Sysprep utility is available in separate versions for Windows XP and 2000. It is not provided on upgrade versions, but on full and OEM versions of the media, and is located on the CD-ROM at \SUPPORT\TOOLS\ in a cabinet file called DEPLOY.CAB. The most recent version of Sysprep for Windows XP can also be downloaded from the Microsoft website as part of the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Deployment Tools. See the following link for more information:
Sysprep is installed on a system tha…

A+: (re)Installation by Disk Image

Windows can be installed from a disk image of another installation created with a program such as Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost. This process is called disk cloning. For disk cloning to work, the systems must be identical in every major feature, including • Same motherboard • Same ATA/IDE or SCSI host adapter • Same BIOS configuration At a Windows software level, the systems must use the same Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and the same Ntoskrnl.exe (NT kernel) file.
The hard disk of the target for a cloned installation must be at least as large as the original system, if not larger.
Do not use disk cloning to make illegal copies of Windows. You can use disk-cloning software legally to make a backup copy of your installation, but if you want to duplicate the installation on another PC, make sure you are cloning a system created with a multiple-computer license for Windows and make sure that you do not exceed the number of systems covered by that license, or make sure you h…

A+: Network Drive Installation

You can install Windows from a network drive by starting the computer with a network client and logging on to the server to start the process. If you want to automate the process, Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 2000 can all be installed from a network drive automatically using either Windows Deployment Services (made specifically for deploying Windows Vista), which can be installed on Windows Server 2008/2003, or the Remote Installation Services (RIS) program, which can be installed on Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Server.

These two server-based programs work along with the Windows System Image Manager program (for Vista), or the Setup Manager Wizard found on the Windows XP and 2000 CD-ROMs. These programs are used to create an answer file. The answer file provides the responses needed for the installation. In Windows Vista, there is a single answer file that is XML-based called Unattend.xml. In Windows XP/2000 the answer files are text-based—for example, Unattend.txt. For more info…

A+: Installation of XP from CD

To start the install process from the Windows XP distribution CD, follow these steps:

    Step 1. Make sure the CD or DVD drive is configured as the first boot device in the system BIOS.
    Step 2. Insert the Windows XP CD into the system’s CD or DVD drive.
    Step 3. Restart the system.
    Step 4. When prompted to boot from CD, press any key.

When you install Windows XP from the distribution CD, you are prompted to provide the following information during the process, in this order:

    Step 1. Drivers for mass storage devices
    Step 2. Acceptance of the end-user license agreement
    Step 3. If installing from an upgrade version, a CD from a previous version of Windows
    Step 4. The location for the installation
    Step 5. The file system (if installing to an unpartitioned location)

After the system reboots, the installer switches to graphics mode, and the process continues:

    Step 6. Regional settings (languages, keyboard layout)
    Step 7. User and company name

A+: Installation of Vista

The Windows Vista installation is much easier and more simplified than earlier versions of Windows. After the installation has begun, you should see a GUI-based window.

When you run a default installation of Windows Vista from the distribution DVD, you are prompted to provide the following information during the process, in this order:

    Step 1. Language to Install, Time and Currency Format, and Keyboard or Input Method. At this time there is also an option to learn more about the installation by clicking the What to Know Before Installing Windows link. Once you have input your settings for Step 1, you must click Next, and then on the next screen click Install Now.

    Step 2. Product key and whether to automatically activate Windows (can be delayed up to 30 days).

    Step 3. Accept the license terms.

    Step 4. Select whether you are doing an Upgrade or a Custom install, which includes a clean installation. If you are installing to a computer with no operating system, the Upgrade…

A+: Clean Install from the Distribution DVD

There are two ways to perform a clean install of Windows Vista from the distribution DVD:

    • Install Windows Vista by running the Setup program from within the current version of Windows. (This is the recommended method.) Insert the Windows Vista DVD. Otherwise, go to the DVD drive in Windows Explorer and double-click the setup.exe file to start the installation.

    • Boot the computer from the Windows Vista DVD. This is necessary if no operating system exists on the computer. If you choose this option, follow these steps:

    Step 1. Make sure the DVD drive is configured as the first boot device in the system BIOS.

    Step 2. Insert the Windows Vista DVD into the system’s DVD drive. (If the drive won’t open while in the BIOS, insert the disc immediately after saving the BIOS.)

    Step 3. Save the BIOS and restart the system.

    Step 4. The DVD should boot automatically and start the installation, but if you are prompted to boot from the DVD, press any key.

Microsoft recommend…

A+: Installation Methods

A variety of installation methods can be used to install Windows, including the following:

    • Booting from the distribution DVD or CD— This method can be used to install Windows to an individual PC and to create a master PC from which disk images can be created.

    • Installing from the network— Use this method to install Windows to one or more systems that have working network connections. To use this method, network adapters need to be configured to boot to a network location.

    • Drive imaging— An existing Windows installation (with or without additional software and drivers) is cloned for use with other identical systems.

    • Recovery CD or disk partition— Some vendors provide a special recovery CD or partition that contains an image of Windows. This image is used to restore a system to its original as-shipped configuration.

    • Booting from downloaded floppy disk images— Use this method when a system cannot boot from a CD. Floppy disk boot images for Windows XP can be d…

A+: Moving Data via Easy Transfer

Files and Settings Transfer (FAST) Wizard: This is the older version of Windows Easy Transfer and is installed by default on Windows XP. It is meant for transferring files and settings from a Windows XP, 2000, or 9x computer to a Windows XP computer but otherwise works in a similar fashion to Windows Easy Transfer. To transfer files from XP to Vista, download the Windows Easy Transfer program for XP.\ from

A+: Moving Data with the User State Migration Tool

An alternative for moving data is the User State Migration Tool (USMT), a command-line tool that can be used to migrate user files and settings for one or more computers. The program can be downloaded from When installed, two different tools are used: Scanstate.exe saves all the files and settings of the user (or users) on a computer, known as the user state; and loadstate.exe transfers that data to the destination computer(s). There are many options when using the scanstate and loadstate commands, including the ability to select which users are migrated and whether the store of data is uncompressed, compressed, or compressed and encrypted. By utilizing scripting programs, the transfer of files to multiple computers can be automated over the network. For more information on how to transfer files and settings with USMT, see the following TechNet link:

A+: Migrating User Data & Easy Transfer

If a user will be using a new operating system, either on the same computer or on a new computer, you might need to move his files and settings to the new system. When doing so, make sure that the destination computer has the latest service packs and updates and the same programs that are currently running on the original computer. There are a few options for migrating data, including Windows Easy Transfer: This program enables you to copy files, photos, music, email, and settings to a Windows Vista computer; all this information is collectively referred to as user state. It is installed with Windows Vista and can be downloaded for Windows XP from; just search for Windows Easy Transfer for Windows XP. Either way, the program will be located in Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools. Files and settings can be migrated over the network or by USB cable. The data can also be stored on media like a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive until the destination Vist…