Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Re-installing Network Clients/Servers from the Command Line

On Monday, I was helping a client work through their planning and testing of a Novell to Microsoft migration. One of the issues in their environment is that "Client for Microsoft Networks" and "File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks" had both been uninstalled from all of their workstations. Not disabled, uninstalled. Without them, joining the domain and other migration processes weren't going to happen. I spent some time looking for a method of remotely installing those pieces to avoid the client having to go around to each workstation and install them. I ended up finding a great solution that did exactly what we needed (and worked) and was feeling like a genius. My genius was fleeting as moments later I learned a co-worker not more than 15 feet away on the other side of a cubicle wall knew all about my "solution" and had been using it for years at other clients and projects.

In any event, I thought it was worthwhile enough to capture and post. The solution conisists of two Microsoft provided utilities that are well hidden and documented even less, snetcfg.exe and snetcfg_wxp.exe. One is for XP and the other for 2000. I'll let you figure out which is which...

JSI FAQ has the details on the utility and the various command line switches for the Windows 2000 version here. As far as I can tell, the switches are the same for the XP version. Also note that the link to the XP version on the JSI FAQ page is incorrect, it links to the Windows 2000 version. Use the link in the paragraph above to get it.

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