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How can I enable users to set the Administrator password during a Remote Installation Services installation?

When you use the Microsoft Remote Installation Services (RIS), by default the Administrator password is set to null (blank) during the installation. You can, however, let the user set a password during the final GUI portion of installation. Perform the following steps:

  1. On the RIS server, open the .sif file of the installation you want to modify. By default, this file is in the RemoteInstall\Setup\[language]\Images\[folder name]\I386\Templates folder with a name of Ristndrd.sif.
  2. Go to the [GuiUnattended] section of the .sif file, and find the following line:

    AdminPassword = *

  3. Change this line to read as follows:

    AdminPassword = ""

  4. Save the change.

During installation, the system will prompt the user to type an Administrator password. You should test this change to ensure that it works correctly.

As a side note, instead of "" you could type a password (e.g., AdminPassword = "fred"), which sets the Administrator password to the password you specify and doesn't prompt the user. However, this password travels as clear text, so I don't recommend this approach.

The Windows 2000 Resource Kit describes another option (although not well!). You can use a Custom Installation Wizard (CIW) and let the user type in a password. However, this approach is quite complex.

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