.. having a couple of VBs and installing Windows Media Center Edition 2005 onto my chunky home server box and I got to thinking; I spent about 25 minutes trying to find my MCE install media, and some other time trying to track down the product key (which was, for some reason, not in the same place). And I thought to myself, wouldn't it be nice if we had the equivalent of RIS (remote installation service) over the net? I may or may not be “ahead of my time” here, but bear with me. I've had a couple of beers and I think this may be the solution I've been searching for*.
Scenario: I've bought an OS (or some other software, whatever). In fact I've installed it. For whatever reason, I need to reinstall. Is it sensible that this long string of bits we think of as the installer is tied to a crappy piece of polycarbonate plastic somewhere in the archive of crap that comprises the average geek's home? What if my machine could boot, install network drivers, then ask me for a RIS location and credentials? It could then go off to the cloud and find my install media for me, pull it down while I'm off at the shops, dump it on my clean harddrive and run my install. Come to that, since I've given it my credentials, and the RIS server has my IP address/location/hardware fingerprint, why would I need a product key?
It falls down slightly on the fact that not everyone is constantly connected, but for a small business wanting to install a new machine, or a geek like myself who does regular reinstalls and has no organisational ability when it comes to install media, this could be the future. All we need is the bandwidth (which already exists in some situations), standard network drivers which can be loaded at install time (likewise also exists) and the infrastructure to run the system. This of course is the big hurdle. RIS is already quite well deployed in large corporates, since techies have no desire to do the DVD shuffle to find installers. Why can't this be extended to the net, with authentication, perhaps a two-factor scheme using a smart chip on the credit card I used to buy the OS - cunning - and allow me to avoid this crap every time I flatten a box?
Maybe I'm onto something, or maybe I'm in pipe-dream land. Still, I'd love to be able to go buy a naked PC and just connect it up at home, type in 'Microsoft Windows Vista' 'username', 'password' and get it to install over my internet pipe with no more messing around with product keys, physical media or anything else.
Now, just who do I talk to about patenting this?
*Where have I heard this before?