Installation Methods

There are an amount of different options that you can use when installing a server operating system. These are known as deployments. Regardless of the installation method, the server operating system setup works in several stages. You will be prompted for some basic information, then Setup will copy files and restart the computer. Setup concludes by presenting a menu for Initial Configuration Tasks, which you can use to adjust the server configuration for your specific needs.

The major server operating systems will have various ways to deploy or install the software. One of the most common methods for installing a server operating system is by using the distribution media. This involves installing the software from a DVD or from installation media that is stored on a shared resource such as a network drive. This installation can be classed as either attended or unattended

Attended Installation

On Windows Server systems, this is the most common form of installation. An installation process usually needs a user who sit at the computer to make choices, such as accepting or declining an end-user license agreement (EULA), specifying preferences such as the installation location, supplying passwords or assisting in product activation. In graphical environments, installers that offer a wizard-based interface are common. Attended installers may ask users to help mitigate the errors. For instance, if the disk in which the computer program is be installed was full, the installer may ask the user to specify another target path, or ask the user to clean dirty media.

Unattended Installation

An installation that is performed without user interaction during its progress or with no user present at all is known as an unattended installation. One of the reasons to use this approach is to automate the installation of a large number of systems. An unattended installation either does not require the user to supply anything or has already received all necessary input prior to the start of installation. Such input may be in the form of command line switches or an answer file. An answer file is one that contains all the necessary parameters to carry out an installation ie it answers all the questions that would be asked of an end user.

Windows and most Linux distributions are examples of operating systems that can be installed with an answer file. In unattended installation, it is assumed that there is no user to help mitigate errors. For instance, if the installation medium was faulty, the installer should fail the installation, as there is no user to fix the fault or replace the medium. Unattended installers may record errors in a computer log for later review.

Install from a network distribution point

Installation from a network distribution point is an installation of a piece of software such as an operating system or application program from a shared network resource. This network distribution point may simply be a copy of the original media.  Some software publishers (that offer site licenses for institutional customers) may provide a version intended for installation over a network this will not require the entry of a licence key for example.

Clean Installation

A clean installation is one that is done in the absence of any interfering elements such as old versions of the computer program being installed or leftovers from a previous installation. In particular, the clean installation of an operating system is an installation in which the target disk partition is erased before installation.

Server Core Installations

Some modern operating systems include a variation of installation, commonly called called Server Core. Server Core is a significantly scaled-back installation where no Graphical User interface is installed. All configuration and maintenance is done entirely through command-line interface windows, or by connecting to the machine remotely using tools such as Microsoft Management Console. The advantage of this is that all the processing power of the server is put into running services and not into providing processor hungry graphical user interfaces.

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