Installing Microsoft Network Client 3.0


This guide will provide you step-by-step instructions for installing Microsoft Network Client 3.0 on your computer. One of the objectives of the MCSE exams is to perform an unattended installation of Windows 2000 Server, with one of the sub-objectives being to be able to perform such an installation using distribution files located on the network. From my studying of books and websites, I have found that whenever the subject of network installation arises, specific instructions are not given. For example, on page 89 of Sybex’s “Windows 2000 Server Study Guide”, the authors state that “the target computer must be able to connect to the distribution server over the network,” yet she does not mention how to do so. Now, I must clarify that on any regular Windows computer, connecting to a shared file or folder is as simple as typing in the UNC name, but what we are interested in here is a clean unattended installation of Windows 2000. If we wanted to install Windows 2000 strictly over the network, we would not install Windows 95 on it first just so we could access the distribution share, for that would be time-consuming and not a clean-install. We could boot from a PXE network card to start installation, but not all cards are supported. What we need is a simple way to access a network share point from DOS. Perhaps most people studying for the MCSE already know how to do this, judging from the lack of documentation on this subject. I surely do not, which is why I am writing this guide.


We begin with a freshly cleaned-out test system:

  • AMD Duron 700 MHz Processor
  • ASUS A7V Motherboard
  • 256 MB Generic PC133 RAM
  • 6 GB Fujitsu HD
  • 48X Generic CDROM Drive
  • 3Com Etherlink XL 10/100 NIC

Note that by cleaned out, I mean that there are no partitions on the hard drive of this computer. It is as if the computer has just been built (and preferably burned in – see below).

Booting without an operating system

Booting without an operating system

The first thing we have to do is to create a bootable floppy which we can use to boot this system. If possible, use a DOS bootable floppy to keep things simple. Since my DOS machine is currently sitting under my bed, I will use Windows 98 to create a boot disk. There are so many ways to do this in Windows 98, but I am going to do this the old-fashioned way by inserting a blank floppy, going to the DOS prompt, and typing format c: /q /s. Next, we must add some utilities which we will need. The files we will need are: HIMEM.SYS, EMM386.EXE, SMARTDRV.EXE, FDISK.EXE, FORMAT.COM, and EDIT.COM. If you are rusty on your DOS and Windows file locations, then type the following (pressing enter after each line) after you have formatted your disk:


Note that in older versions of DOS, these files are all located in the same directory (usually C:\DOS).

Formatting the boot floppy

Formatting the boot floppy

Copying necessary files

Copying necessary files

Once you have completed setting up your boot disk, you need to prepare the Microsoft Network Client 3.0 setup disks. This requires that you have two blank, formatted 1.44MB floppies. Once you have those, label them Microsoft Network Client Setup Disk and OEM Driver Disk. Then, we will be ready to download Microsoft Network Client 3.0 from Microsoft’s FTP site. The URL for the files is

Update 2-3-14: try if the link above doesn’t work. Apparently, the domain name doesn’t always resolve properly.

In this directory there will be two self-extracting files, dsk3-1.exe, and dsk3-2.exe. Download these two files and extract them into two separate folders. Copy the contents of dsk3-1.exe to the Microsoft Network Client Setup Disk you created earlier, and the contents of dsk3-2.exe to the OEM Driver Disk, noting not to copy the original dsk3 packages.

Finally, you will need the NDIS 2.0 compliant DOS drivers for your network card, if your card is not natively supported by Network Client. You will know if your card is natively supported if it is listed in the adapter list when you run setup. Usually, these drivers are downloadable from your card vendor’s website, and will come in 4 files. The main driver will be in the form xxxxxxxx.DOS, where xxxxxxxx will be a name similar to your card’s. There will be another file with a name similar to your card’s name, xxxxxxxx.NIF. The remaining two files are OEMSETUP.INF and PROTOCOL.INI. Once you have downloaded these driver files, copy them to an appropriately named directory on the Microsoft Network Client Setup Disk. We are now finished with preparation and can begin setting up our system for network access.

Partitioning and Formatting

Insert the boot disk into the floppy drive, and start the computer. If you used Windows 98 to create the boot disk, you will see this screen:

You will see a screen similar to this upon bootup

You will see a screen similar to this upon bootup

Enabling large disk support

Enabling large disk support

The main FDISK screen

The main FDISK screen

Choosing yes or no

Choosing yes or no

Next, type fdisk to start MS-DOS’s drive partitioning utility. If you are using a post-Windows 95 version of FDISK, you will be asked if you want to enable large disk support (if you have a hard drive larger than 512 MB, which you most likely do). Leave the default setting of yes, and press enter. You will then be greeted with the main FDISK screen. Press enter twice to create a new partition. FDISK will then verify your drive integrity. When it is finished, you will be asked if you want to use the maximum available size for a partition. Depending on your needs, your answer may vary. For example, if you are installing Windows 2000 Server, then a 2GB boot partition will suit your needs nicely. On the other hand, if you are setting up a workstation, you may just want to answer yes and have one big partition. For the sake of this guide, we will answer NO, because we are assuming that we will install Windows 2000 Server later on. FDISK will once again verify your drive integrity, then ask you to specify a partition size. I have chosen 2000 megabytes, as mentioned above. So, type in 2000, and press enter. FDISK will then notify you that the partition has been created, and then warn you that no partitions are set active. Once back at the main menu, choose 2, then partition 1, to set our 2000 MB partition active. Press ESC three times to exit FDISK, and then reboot.

Setting a partition size

Setting a partition size

FDISK's no active partitions warning

FDISK’s no active partitions warning

This screen, once again

This screen, once again (well, except it should be C:\ this time)


The next thing we want to do is to format our 2000 MB partition. After rebooting, type format c:/s at the DOS prompt, and then type Y, followed by enter, to confirm format. When finished, hit enter for no volume label. Then, remove your boot disk from the floppy drive and restart the computer.


This screen, once again

This screen, once again (well, except it should be C:\ now)

If all went well, you should be greeted once again with this screen. Now, we are ready to install Microsoft Network Client 3.0. Insert the Microsoft Network Client Setup Disk and type A:\SETUP.

The Welcome Screen

The Welcome Screen

Specifying your installation path

Specifying your installation path

Choosing your adapter

Choosing your adapter

Setup starts and you will see the welcome screen. Press enter to continue. Setup will then ask you where you want your Network Client files to be installed. Just press enter to accept the default of C:\NET. Setup will then examine your system files, and present you with a list of network adapters. Choose your adapter, or choose “Network adapter not shown on list below …” to locate the drivers you downloaded and placed on the Microsoft Network Client Setup Disk earlier. If you have specified the correct location and drivers, Setup will provide a new list which includes your NIC. Press enter to choose whichever adapter you have installed, and then press it again at the Set Network Buffers prompt.

The next step is to type a username for accessing your network share. This would probably be an administrator’s account or an account created specifically for remote-installation use. Here, I have chosen my own name as the username. Enter your username, then press enter.

Entering a suitable username

Entering a suitable username

Changing other settings

Changing other settings

Adding TCP/IP support

Adding TCP/IP support

On the next screen, highlight “Change Names” and hit enter. Next, change the settings to whatever apply to you, then scroll down to “The listed names are correct” and press enter.

Next, highlight “Change Network Configuration” and press enter. The default installed protocol is NWLink IPX Compatible Transport, but I personally was unable to use this protocol to communicate with my server, so I added TCP/IP. Depending on your own network, you may have to play around with these settings after you have installed the client. For now, add TCP/IP anyway, since Windows 2000 supports TCP/IP by default. Highlight “Add Protocol,” hit enter, then choose “Microsoft TCP/IP” and hit enter. Finally, select “Network configuration is correct” to continue.

Note the 3Com NIC driver initializing at the top of the screen

Note the 3Com NIC driver initializing at the top of the screen

After selecting “Network configuration is correct” to continue, we will be taken back to the confirmation screen. Press enter to install files, and insert the appropriate disks when prompted. When Setup is finished, it will prompt you to remove any floppy from the drive and then restart. Restart your computer, and hit ESC when you see the Windows 9X splash screen (not if you used a DOS boot disk, however) so you can see if your NIC driver installed correctly. You will know it loaded correctly if you see a message saying “Initializing TCP/IP via DHCP…”

At this point, you will most likely encounter “Error 8: There is not enough memory available.” Well, if you remember from your old DOS days, DOS programs only have 640k of memory to work with. Thus, we must free up some memory. Insert your boot disk into the floppy drive, and copy the following files to the root of the hard drive:


Then, type edit config.sys at the C:\ prompt, and press enter. Here, we will make some modifications. Change the contents of this file to look like the following:


Save the file (Alt-F-S) and then open (Alt-F-O) AUTOEXEC.BAT. Modify this file to look like the following:


Save the file, then quit (Alt-F-X) the edit program. Remove your boot floppy and restart your computer.

"Error 8" error message

“Error 8” error message

The modified CONFIG.SYS file

The modified CONFIG.SYS file

The modified AUTOEXEC.BAT file

The modified AUTOEXEC.BAT file

Once your computer restarts this time, you should not receive an error 8, but rather a username prompt. Press enter to input your default username, then type in your password. Choose Y to create a password-list file and confirm with your password. You should now receive a “command completed successfully” message. Now, we have come to the moment of truth. Type NET VIEW and wait to see if the names of the computers on your network appear. If they do, congratulations, you are done! If not, then you may have to re-configure the driver or the protocol for your NIC. Also, make sure that you have a DHCP server on your network. I will address driver and DHCP issues in the next section. To connect to a share, type NET to bring up the Network Client popup application, and type in the UNC name, then type Alt-C to connect. You have now mapped a drive to your distribution share, and can start Windows 2000 installation or access your files over the network.

Entering your username

Entering your username

Viewing your workgroup computers

Viewing your workgroup computers

Connecting to a share

Connecting to a share

Final Words

So there you have it, a quick, simple way to access a Microsoft Network share with Network Client 3.0. Although this guide may seem lengthy, it actually only takes about 10 minutes to install the client, and you only need to do it once. If you are in a corporate environment with a DHCP server and are installing many servers with identical NICs, you can copy the original setup onto a couple of floppies or a CD, and then copy it onto each new server. Then, you can add the individual answer files for each server, and you will have a nice unattended setup going simultaneously. Note that this also works with Windows 2000 Professional as well as Windows XP Home/Professional. If you do not have a DHCP server on your network, read on to find out how to set your TCP/IP settings manually.

Manually Configuring TCP/IP

Look for the [TCPIP] section in PROTOCOL.INI

Look for the [TCPIP] section in PROTOCOL.INI

To manually configure TCP/IP, install Network Client as described in this guide, and then edit the PROTOCOL.INI file located inside the NET directory. If you followed this guide precisely, here is what to type:


Look for a section titled [TCP/IP] and change the settings accordingly. Here is what it looks like by default:

SubNetMask0=255 0 0 0
IPAddress0=0 0 0 0

So, if you wanted to disable DHCP and configure your machine with an IP address of with a subnet mask, you would change it to this:

SubNetMask0=255 255 255 0
IPAddress0=192 168 0 1

Changing Drivers and Adding Additional Protocols

To change drivers after installation, navigate to the NET directory by typing CD\NET and then restart the setup program by typing SETUP. You will once again see the confirmation screen which you saw earlier during setup. Highlight “Change Network Configuration,” and choose “Remove” to remove your current driver and try a new one. You can also change other settings such as protocols and workgroup names. If nothing else works, you may want to play with the settings to see if you can find a solution.

Manually Adding a NIC Driver

There may be an occasion when your NIC vendor either does not provide NDIS 2.0 compliant drivers, or provides a package that is incomplete (i.e. missing OEMSETUP.INF, PROTOCOL.INI, etc.). In these situations, you will not be able to use the Setup program to add your NIC driver. If, however, you can find the correct xxxxxxxx.DOS file for your NIC, then you can manually configure Network Client to use that driver. To do so, specify the first listed NIC, 3Com Etherlink, when you are asked to specify a NIC during installation. Then, proceed as normal, and modify the SYSTEM.INI and PROTOCOL.INI files (located in the C:\NET directory) once installation is complete. In SYSTEM.INI, the line you want to change is:


This line is listed under the [network drivers] section. Change it to netcard=xxxxxxxx.DOS, where xxxxxxxx is the name of your vendor-provided driver file.

In PROTOCOL.INI, look for the [MS$ELNK] section and change the following line:


Change this to DriverName=xxxxxxxx$, where xxxxxxxx is the name of your vendor-provided driver file.

If you have a PNP NIC, you may also need to delete the lines under [MS$ELNK] that relate to I/O Address, IRQ, and DMA settings.

Look for "netcard=elnk.dos" in SYSTEM.INI

Look for “netcard=elnk.dos” in SYSTEM.INI

Look for "DriverName=ELNK$" in PROTOCOL.INI

Look for “DriverName=ELNK$” in PROTOCOL.INI

Once you have modified these files, save them and restart your computer. If the drivers are correct, your computer should now be able to connect to your network.


You may have noticed that aside from copying it to the root directory, SMARTDRV.EXE has not been mentioned or used. The reason for this is that Windows 2000 Setup runs faster with SMARTDRV installed. If you are using this guide for something other than setting up Windows 2000/XP, then you can disregard SMARTDRV.EXE.

Well, that’s it for this guide, thank you for reading. See you next time!

Performing an Attended Installation of Windows 2000 Server


Welcome to the first article published on this website, “Performing an Attended Installation of Windows 2000 Server.” This is my first attempt at writing a technical article as a way to share with others what I have learned on my road to the MCSE. Please note that all the graphics in this article can be clicked on for a larger view. And now, without further ado, let’s begin!

Before Installing

There are two ways to install Windows 2000 Server: attended and unattended. In this guide, we will focus on the easier of the two, attended installation. If you have ever installed a Microsoft operating system, then you will find that installing Win2k Server is just as simple. Before installation, however, let us verify the system requirements of the OS:

  • Pentium 133 or higher CPU
  • 256 megabytes of RAM minimally recommended (128 MB minimum supported)
  • 2 gigabyte hard disk with at least 1.0 GB free space (More if installing from a network)

These requirements are taken off of the Microsoft site. To view the most recently updated requirements, browse to (2010 update: link now forwards to TechNet)

In addition, it would benefit you to check if your hardware is on Microsoft’s Hardware Compatibility List. Personally, I have not encountered any problems with non-certified hardware, but if you are in a corporate or mission-critical setting, it is crucial to go with certified hardware. Microsoft also will not provide support for non-certified hardware, so keep that in mind when purchasing hardware for a new server. The URL for the HCL is (2010 update: link no longer works)

Once we have verified the hardware requirements, we must decide on how we want to proceed with attended installation. There are three different scenarios that we have to deal with: clean-install, dual-booting, and upgrading.


Clean-install is an installation of an OS to a computer that does not have an existing OS on it. This is the simplest form of installation, since you do not have to worry about overwriting or needing to back up existing files. In this scenario you just start Win2k setup and let it take care of the rest.


In this situation, you already have an OS such as Windows 98 installed on the computer, and you want to add Windows 2000 Server in addition to Windows 98. Normally, you would not want to dual-boot between your server operating system and another, but this situation works well for those who are doing testing or for those like me who are trying to get their MCSE certification.


Upgrading entails installing W2k Server on top of an existing operating system. Unless you are upgrading a server with Windows NT Server 4.0 on it, you normally would not use this option, nor would you be able to, since NT Server 4.0 is the only operating system that can be upgraded to Win2k Server. An example of when to use upgrade is a corporation migrating NT 4.0 systems to 2000.

In this guide we will focus on the clean-install aspect of installing Win2k Server. Once you know how to do a clean-install, setting up a system for dual-booting or upgrading will be much easier. Now, let us proceed with installing Win2k Server.

Booting and Beginning the Setup Process

We will be installing Windows 2000 Server on the following system:

AMD Duron 800 MHz Processor
ASUS A7V133 Motherboard w/ Promise FastTrak RAID Controller
256 MB Generic PC133 RAM
13 GB Western Digital ATA66 HD
2 GB Seagate HD
40X Generic CDROM Drive
RealTek 10/100 NIC

There are three ways to boot your computer to start Win2k setup. The first and most straightforward method is to boot your computer with the Win2k setup CD. Your computer boots and starts Win2k setup automatically. The second is to boot with Win2k setup floppies, and the third is to use a boot disk from an older operating system such as Windows 95 or 98. The third option naturally requires that you have another computer with which to create the boot disks. Windows 2000 ships with the setup floppies, but if you do not have them, you can create them from another computer by following these steps:

  1. Insert the Windows 2000 Server setup CD into your CDROM drive
  2. In Windows 9x, click on Start, Run, and type (with x being the CD drive letter) x:\bootdisk\makebt32, then follow the screen prompts
  3. In DOS, first navigate to your CDROM drive by typing x:, then to the bootdisk directory by typing cd\bootdisk. Then type makeboot and follow the prompts.

Once you have the Windows 2000 setup disks, boot with them and they will start setup automatically. If you are booting with an older operating system’s boot disk, type x:\i386\winnt (again, where x is the letter of your CDROM drive) to start setup. I will use the Windows 2000 setup disks to boot our test setup.

Insert Disk

Setup will prompt for each disk

Loading Drivers

Setup loading the necessary drivers

First, insert the disk labeled “Windows 2000 setup boot disk” into your floppy drive, and start the computer. If nothing happens, make sure you have set your computer to boot from the floppy in the BIOS. Setup should start automatically if your computer is configured to boot from the floppy.

Once setup starts, you will see a blue screen titled “Windows 2000 Setup.” This portion of setup is known as textmode setup, and it is in this portion that you will specify how you want the hard disk partitioned and where you want Windows to be installed. If you have a hard drive controller that Windows does not recognize, this is also where you will specify the location of the drivers for that controller. If you do not specify drivers, Setup will terminate (see “Tips” below). Insert the corresponding setup disk when prompted.

Windows Setup – Textmode Phase

Welcome to Setup

The Welcome to Setup Screen

After setup loads the necessary drivers, you will see the Welcome screen. You will be given the option to set up Windows, repair Windows, or quit. Press enter to continue with setup.




The drive partitioning screen

Deletion Warning

Partition deletion warning

The all-too-familiar EULA screen appears next. Hit F8 if you agree, or ESC to quit. If you hit F8, you will be taken to the drive partitioning screen. Here, you will see the partition configuration of your hard drives. In my case, I FDISKed my drives before starting setup, so setup calls my C: partition “Unformatted or damaged.” To correct this, I simply hit D to delete the partition. Setup will prompt you a couple more times to confirm partition deletion. Just follow the prompts to delete. So now, I have two drives with unpartitioned space. I can manually configure my partitions or I can let Windows handle it and install itself on one giant partition. If you have a larger hard drive, you may not want to choose this option. I will create a couple of partitions just to show you how it is done. If I had chosen to skip this step, I could just hit enter and let setup take care of partitioning.

Partition Sizing

Choosing a partition size

To create a new partition, hit C at the drive partitioning screen. You will then see the partition size screen. Choose your partition size, and hit enter to create the partition. Repeat this step for every partition you want to create. Once back at the partitioning screen, press enter on whichever partition you want Windows installed on. You will then be asked whether you want to format that partition using the NTFS or FAT file system. Unless you are dual-booting and want to share files between operating systems, I recommend using NTFS. Even if you are dual-booting, however, it would be desirable to keep different boot partitions from seeing each other. Thus, NTFS is the preferred choice here.







After selecting what type of file system you want to use, Setup proceeds with the format. When the format is complete, Setup will copy the files it needs to begin the graphical portion of setup. Go grab yourself a drink or a snack, because the formatting and copying process will take a little while. When it is complete, Setup will reboot the computer and begin the graphical portion of setup.

Windows Setup – Graphical Phase

Loading Windows

Loading Windows

Starting Up

Starting up for the first time

Setup Wizard

The Windows 2000 Setup Wizard

If everything during the textmode portion of Setup ran smoothly, you will see the “Welcome to the Windows 2000 Setup Wizard” screen upon the completion of reboot. You can either click Next or wait for Windows to automatically proceed after a few seconds. Setup will then detect and install your hardware devices. This process also takes a little while, and once it is finished you will be greeted with the Regional Settings screen. Here, you can choose your language and keyboard settings. Click on Next to accept the default of United States.

You will then be prompted for your Name and Organization. You must enter a name, but you may skip inputting an organization if you wish. Enter your information and click Next.

Installing Devices

Installing devices

Regional Settings

Choosing regional settings

User Information

Entering user information

On the next screen you will enter your product key. Click Next when you are finished.

Product Key

Entering the 25-Character Product Key

Next, you will choose your licensing mode. Depending on your requirements, choose Per Server or Per Seat. Basically, Per Server works well when you have one server and many clients connecting to it. In this case, you would buy a license with a number of connections equal to the number of clients you have. Per Seat would be preferred if you have clients that access more than one server, so that you would only pay once for each client access license. For example, if you had 10 clients accessing only 1 server, you would only have to pay for 10 connections under Per Server mode. Supposedly, paying for 10 connections is cheaper than paying for 10 seats. If you have 2 servers, however, paying for 10 seats is cheaper than paying for 20 connections, which you would have to under Per Server mode for both servers. In our example, we will choose the default, which is 5 concurrent connections.


Choosing a licensing type

After the licensing screen comes the computer identification screen. Actually, I find Microsoft’s advice on this screen to be silly, because why would a non-administrator install Windows 2000 Server on his computer anyway? The suggested name is also cryptic. Choose your own computer name and then type in an Administrator password, and keep a copy in a safe place. If you lose this password, you will not be able to use your computer.

Computer Name

Naming the computer

The next screen allows you to choose what components to install. I will just keep the defaults here and proceed to the next screen. If I decide I want to install Certificate Services later, for example, I can do it from the Control Panel.


Choose components to install

Next, we will set the date and time.

Date & Time

Configure Date/Time Settings

Setup will then install networking components. When it is finished, you will be prompted to accept typical settings, or manually configure your own. For now, we will stick with typical settings. I have a DHCP server on my network so I can skip TCP/IP configuration. If you do not have a DHCP server, then you will need to configure TCP/IP manually.


Installing networking components

Configuring Network

Configuring the network

Join Domain

Joining a workgroup or domain

The next screen allows you to join a workgroup or a domain. There must be a domain controller on your network if you are to join a domain. Usually, you will join a domain in a corporate environment. For smaller networks, a workgroup is typical. For this guide, I will leave the default setting, which will cause my computer to join a workgroup named WORKGROUP.

Installing Components

Copying component files…

Final Tasks

Performing final tasks


Finishing setup

After configuring networking, Setup will copy and install the necessary files for the components we have selected, and then it will proceed with the final phase of installing Windows by performing a set of final tasks. After this long process, Setup will inform you that it is complete, and prompt you to restart you computer. When your computer finishes restarting this time, you will be prompted with the logon screen.

Final Words and Setup Tips

Congratulations! You have completed an attended clean-install of Windows 2000 server. Now that you have mastered the clean-install, setting up a machine for dual-booting or upgrading will be a snap, because you will be asked the exact same questions that were asked during the clean-install. The only difference will be starting Setup and configuring another partition if you are dual-booting. To start setup for dual-boot or an upgrade, click on Start, Run, and type x:\i386\winnt32. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Windows NT 4.0 Server, so I will not be able to demonstrate how to upgrade, but I am considering doing another guide on dual-booting. Also, if you are in a corporate environment, you would most likely be installing Windows 2000 Server as a domain controller. I will probably do another guide for that as well. For now, I hope you enjoyed reading my first technical guide on Windows 2000!

Tips for a Successful Installation

  • If you are starting Setup after booting from an older Windows version’s bootdisk, make sure to run smartdrv.exe to speed up the file-copy process. SmartDrive is the disk caching program for DOS that is also included with Windows 9x.
  • If you are performing an upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 Server in a mission-critical environment, make sure you back up important files in case the upgrade goes awry.

    Missing Drivers

    No hard drives found

  • If you see the above screen during textmode setup, follow these steps to correct the problem:
    1. Restart Windows 2000 Server Setup, and pay close attention to the status bar as Setup loads. You will see a message that says “Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver” (as shown below). Hit F6 when you see this message.
    2. When the “Specify Additional Device” screen appears, press S to specify a driver.
    3. The “Insert Disk” screen appears. Insert the floppy disk on which your hard drive controller’s drivers are located, and hit enter.
    4. Setup will then ask you to choose the correct driver from a list. Choose your driver and hit enter.
    5. You will then be taken back to the “Specify Additional Device” screen, but this time Setup notifies you that it will load drivers for your device. If necessary, you can also load additional drivers.
    6. Continue installing from this section of the guide.
Load Drivers

Hit F6 when this screen appears…


…then hit S when this screen appears

Driver Loaded

Driver loaded

Insert Driver Disk

Insert driver disk and press enter