I have a number of servers running different NOS and I would like to get them all running the same standard platform. I have chosen Windows Server 2003 as I have some spare licences for it and it seems mature enough now. I have had issues with Windows Server 2008.

Is there a way to get an installation that will have all the latest service packs and updates on it ready to install so I don't have to download updates again for each server?

  • 1
    I would be very wary of rolling out Server 2003 onto production networks. It's 10 years old. There's also Server 2008 R2 which is much newer than 2008, and later this year Server 2012. I'd suggest investing time into looking into the "issues" you've had rather than spending time on a really, really out-dated OS. – Mark Henderson Jun 11 '12 at 0:31
  • The 2008 "issue" I am having is when trying to login to the server it gives me the not part of the trusted domain - I have previously also seen this on workstation logging in to the domain to repair I have had to add them again to the domain but I can not add the domain controller to the domain I can not even login to do anything to it. – James Jun 11 '12 at 1:31

Install 2003 on your server, or a Hyper-V VM, update it with the latest security fixes and SP's, then simply image it ready to roll out to all your other servers. ImageX is the Windows tool used for this, plenty of info about it online - but basically it requires booting into a PE environment, imaging the drive/s, booting into PE on the servers you want to blow the image onto, and running imagex /apply .

A technet article for example: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc722145(v=ws.10).aspx

  • Thanks I didn't realise that there was an option similar to Norton Ghost available by Microsoft. :-) – James Jun 10 '12 at 22:14

This scenario explains how to create an integrated installation of Windows Server 2003 and the corresponding service pack in a shared distribution folder on a network. This integration is called "Slipstreaming".

The integrated process installs the service pack during Windows 2003 Setup, so when the setup process is done, you'll have the OS + SP in one operation.

Important: Do not update Windows 2003 integrated with a service pack in a shared distribution folder if there are users who are still using a previously installed integrated version in the same shared folder.

The Slipstreaming process


Before we begin anything, you'll need to have a few things:

Installation CD of Windows Server 2003. Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 Download Windows Server 2003 SP1 Network Installation (329mb)

Lamer Note: This guide is based on the English versions of Windows Server 2003, and of their corresponding Service Packs. If you're using a different localized build of Windows, you will need to find the right version of SP for your build.

At least 800MB (for Windows Server 2003 SP1) of free space on your hard drives (you can later delete these files). A CDR/CDRW drive, CD burning software and (This is actually only optional, but if you want to burn the resulting slipstreamed Windows Server 2003 you'll need it). To create an integrated installation of Windows Server 2003 and the service pack:

Connect to the network or computer on which you want to create the distribution folder. In the shared folder on the network, create a distribution folder for the Windows Server 2003 installation files. For example, to create a distribution folder named Win2003\i386, type the following: mkdir C:\Win2003\i386 Lamer Note: This is only an example. You can obviously use any drive letter or any folder name you want, just make sure your partition has enough free space.

Ensure only the system administrator has full access to this folder. Other users should have only read and execute permissions. Insert your original Windows Server 2003 CD into the CD-ROM drive, and then copy the contents of the CD to the distribution folder that you created in step 2. For example, to copy the installation files and folders from the Windows Server 2003 CD in the CD-ROM drive (E:) to the distribution folder named Win2003\i386, type the following: xcopy E:\i386 C:\Win2003\i386 /e Lamer Note: This is only an example. Substitute E: with the drive letter of YOUR CD drive, and C:\Win2003\i386 with YOUR folder settings.

Another Lamer note: You can also drag and drop the folder's content.

Extract the service pack source files from the downloaded SP file and put them in a folder you choose on your hard disk. For example, if you've downloaded SP1 for Windows Server 2003 to a folder called C:\Win2003SP1 then type the following: C:\Win2003SP1\WindowsServer2003-KB889101-SP1-x86-ENU.exe /x Note: You can use "-x" instead of "/x" if you want.

In the Choose Directory For Extracted Files box, type C:\Win2003SP1

Lamer Note: This is only an example. Substitute the path with the settings.

Another note: It will be easier for you if you chose a folder name that has no spaces in it. If you do use spaces, make sure you enclose it in quotation marks, i.e. "folder name" from now on through the entire guide.

After you've extracted the files you can apply the service pack to the Windows Server 2003 installation files located in the folder named C:\Win2003\i386 by typing the following: C:\Win2003SP1\i386\Update\Update.exe -s:C:\Win2003 Lamer Note: Notice there IS a space between the "-s" and the "Update.exe". Also, notice there is NO space between the "-s:" and the path of the installation files folder.

Another Note: You can use /integrate: instead of the /S:.

Note: You do NOT need to specify the i386 folder in the path. The slipstreaming process will automatically look for it in the folder root.

Take a look at the folder's properties, it should be approximately 532mb in size.

You can now deploy Windows Server 2003 to your users' computers from the shared distribution folder in either attended or unattended Setup mode. Alternatively, you can burn a CD containing the files from the distribution folder. During the standard installation process, Windows Server 2003 Setup (Winnt.exe or Winnt32.exe) installs the updated operating system with the service pack already applied.

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