What is WINNER

WINNER is a different way to set up a RIS Server. Basically, it gives you the possibility to deploy an unattended installation of Windows XP over a LAN, but has impressive specificities. Amongst them, a WINNER distribution can range from a minimalist Linux set (50 Mo) to a complete set of files (2 Go) -- both of them leading to a similar, complete, Windows installation.

Just read the Learn how to use WINNER
and set it up in
a matter of minutes!

What are the main differences between a classical RIS architecture and WINNER ?
The Microsoft way
The WINNER way
  • You need to run a Windows 2000 or 2003 Server on a domain, so to enable the RIS Service. You need a DHCP and a DNS servers too (they can be hosted on the Windows 2000/20003 server).
  • No need for a domain at all. No need for a Windows 2000/2003 server: even Windows 98 is enough. You can also use a Linux box. OK, you can also use a Windows 2000/2003 server, if you've got one :)
  • Only the Professional version of Windows can be deployed by RIS, because it has to communicate with Active Directory, thus with a domain.
  • You can deploy Windows XP Home if you like.
  • You've got to prepare a target i386 folder that will be deployed onto your client workstations. Usually, you'd use riprep. So, you need a Windows XP CD.
  • No riprep step needed. Our built-in Generator will prepare the i386 folder for you, fast and easy. If you've got a Windows XP CD, it will be deployed to your client workstations. If you don't have one, no problem ! users will have the possibility to use their own Windows CD -- be XP Pro or Home, be an English CD or another locale flavor.
  • You may need to add network drivers into the i386 folder, according to your workstations' hardware.
  • Our Linux kernel should detect the vast majority of network adapters with no needed intervention.
  • Currently, partition settings cannot be customized in Microsoft's winnt.sif parameters file. Windows will install on the C: drive, but if an old Windows folder is found on C:, Microsoft's setup will either try to install Windows on another partition, either demand the formating of C:.
  • Partition settings can be customized.
  • If you want Windows to be installed on the C: drive, this drive will HAVE to be formated. Even if it's already NTFS. Even if there's no old Windows on it.
  • You don't have to format C:. You can choose wether you want a from-scratch installation, that will format the first drive, or if you want no formating at all. In the former case, old Windows files will be removed to make space and avoid confusion, but everything else will be kept on the disk.
  • Drivers must be added in a $OEM$ folder. Thus, you've got to collect and maintain them up-to-date.
  • Our default distribution files include a large quantity of up-to-date drivers (currently, 1 Go). You can have our software keep them up-to-date. And of course, you can choose to modify the choice, or use your own collection.
  • Service pack and hotfixes must be collected and added manually (means: slip-straming the service pack, and have the hotfixes installed by batch scripts). You've got to maintain the collection.
  • Our default distribution files include an up-to-date collection of hotfixes. Pre-made scripts will install them. Service pack can be slip-streamed automatically, even if the user has to provide a Windows XP CD. And of course, you can remove hotfixes if they conflict with your software or policy.
  • Software must be added manually. This means you have to prepare silent packages, and add batch-like scripts to install them after the Windows installation (runonce scripts).
  • Our Software Repository is always full of MSI-packaged apps. The graphical interface of our Generator makes it easy to choose which ones to include on your distribution. All these apps are open-source or freeware, but of course, you can add your own applications.
  • Many other features make WINNER the best choice for a RIS architecture.

    Just read the Learn how to use WINNER
    and set it up in
    a matter of minutes!

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