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					               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                          1

              Windows XP Unattended Installation

Written: August 26, 2002
Written by: Jeramie Lorson (1gigkid)




In this article I am going to provide you with a basic example of how to perform
an unattended installation of Windows XP. This will get you started in
customizing the way Windows XP is setup. If you choose to further customize the
way Windows XP is setup, there is plenty of documentation on the internet to
help you with some of the more advanced tools available. I will provide you with
some informational links throughout this article to possibly answer any other
questions you might have.

An Unattended Installation is a hands-free method of installing Windows XP.
This is convenient for system administrators, original equipment manufacturers
(OEMs), value-added resellers (VARs), users who install Windows XP on many
computers or who frequently install Windows XP on the same computer.

I will show you step by step how to supply Windows XP Setup with all of the
information that you the “End User” is prompted to provide during a typical
Windows setup in a scripted file called the answer file. The answer file basically
fills in the text portion of the setup and can even setup options that you would
normally spend most of your day doing after a “typical” or normal Windows
install. Even if you do not know the first thing about scripting, Microsoft has
generously included the tools you need on your Windows XP CD. If you’re using
Windows 2000, you can follow this guide also. The tools are pretty much the
same.

First of all we need to make sure you are able to perform an unattended
installation from a “Bootable CD”. To perform an unattended installation from a

                          Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                           Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                 0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                        2

bootable CD, your System’s BIOS must adhere to the El-Torito non-emulation
specification. If your system’s BIOS is less than a few years old, it more than
likely supports this specification.

For information about this specification, go to Microsoft’s Knowledge Base
Article - Q167685

Here is what you are going to need:

   1.      At least one computer - One that has a Windows XP Operating System
           already in place.
   2.      You’re Windows XP CD - To retrieve the tools you are going to need.
   3.      One formatted floppy disk - This is where we will put the finished
           answer file.

Note - If you do not have a floppy drive, I will provide you with an alternative
method later in the article.

Let’s get started

Put in your Windows XP CD. If you have autorun enabled it should pop up the
“Welcome to Microsoft Windows XP”. In this window you should see a set of
options. Here you want to select “Perform additional tasks”.

If you have autorun disabled, you can simply open “My Computer”. Then you will
need to right click on the drive you have your Windows XP CD in and in the drop
down menu click on “Explore”. This will allow you to view the contents of the CD.




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                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)    3




In the next set of options you want select “Browse this CD”.




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                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                        4


You should now see the contents of the CD. Now open the “Support” folder and
then the “Tools” folder. The file we are looking for is a compressed file called
“DEPLOY.CAB”. Before you go any further make a new folder on your desktop
and extract the contents of this CAB file to that folder. You can name this folder
whatever you like. Now open the folder that you just created. You should see a
few different files here. The one we want is “setupmgr.exe”. For now just
disregard all the other files except for the Windows XP Preinstallation
Reference.(ref.chm) This is a help file that goes more into creating an answer file
and explains more about the other files that are included in the folder that we just
made. If you run into problems it might come in handy.




Welcome to the Windows Setup Manager - This Wizard is going to take us
through the options of creating the answer file. Just click next here.




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                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
              MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                     5




Create or Modify the Answer File - Since this is going to be your first answer
file, select “Create a new answer file” and click next. Once you have created an
answer file successfully, you can edit it with the Setup Manager by selecting
“Modify an existing answer file” and providing a path to it.




                        Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                         Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                               0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                        6




Type of answer file to be used:

Windows Unattended Installation - Unattended installations use setup scripts to
answer installation questions and to automate the Setup process. This simplifies
the installation of the operating system.

Sysprep Install (System Preparation Tool) - Disk imaging, which is also known as
cloning. This is a timesaving way to install Windows XP on multiple computers
that use identical or similar hardware configurations.

Remote Installation Services (RIS) - Enables you to perform a clean installation
of Windows XP Professional on multiple computers throughout a network. You
can simultaneously deploy the operating system on multiple clients from one or
more remote locations.

For now, we are going to choose the “Windows Unattended Installation”
option.




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                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
             MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                  7




Windows Platform - Which Version of Windows XP are you going to install?
For me that would be “Windows XP Professional”.




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                       Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                             0321-6633112
                MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                           8




User Interaction during Windows Setup:

Fully automated - This option will not prompt you for any information.

Provide defaults - This option will fill in the info you supply but you will be able
to change it if you choose to.

Hide pages - This option does pretty much the same thing as the fully automated
with the exception of letting you see the Setup Wizard.

Read only - This option does pretty much the same thing as the “Provide
defaults” option with the exception that you would not be able to change any of
the settings.

GUI attended - This option only allows the text portion of the Setup to be
automated.

For this article, let’s stick with the “Fully automated” option.




                          Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                           Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                 0321-6633112
                MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                           9




Distribution Folder - Select “No” because we will be installing from a CD.
Once again, after you have got this down you can play with the other options. If
you wanted to install from a network share, you would choose to create a
distribution folder. The distribution folder option gives you the flexibility to add
other files as well, such as drivers not found on the Windows XP CD.




                          Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                           Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                 0321-6633112
              MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                    10




License Agreement - We obviously can not forget about the License
Agreement. We have to check this now because we will not be seeing it during the
install.




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                         Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                               0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                       11



Customize Software - Now it’s time to input your personal information. I’m
sure most of you recognize this from all the previous Windows installs that you
have done before.




Display Settings - Everyone is different when choosing display settings. Put in
what you most commonly use here. If you’re not sure what your video card and
monitor supports, just choose Windows default. If you try to over do it you may
run into problems later. Remember that running a monitor at a refresh
frequency that it does not support can damage the monitor. Once again, if you’re
not sure just set it to Default.




                         Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
              MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)              12




Time Zone - This one is simple enough. What time zone do you live in?




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                        Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                              0321-6633112
                MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                       13

Product Key - This is a handy one. Put your Product Key here. Have you ever
lost your Product Key? You can't install without one. Saving it to the answer file
will automatically put it in for you. Just don’t lose the floppy that you are putting
it on. I’m not showing mine here for obvious reasons.




Computer Names - If you plan to use your name as a user on this computer it
can’t be the same as the name here. You can also have the setup automatically
generate the name by ticking the box at the bottom. If you plan to use the exact
same setup on multiple computers then you would add their names here as well.
If you’re willing to accept computer names that follow no pattern, you can allow
Setup to create each computer’s name on the fly by appending seemingly random
letters and numbers to the first few letters of your organization’s name.

When you enter multiple names during the setup process, Setup Manager
automatically generates the Uniqueness Database File (UDF) that is required to
add those unique names to each computer during setup. If the administrator
imports names from a text file, Setup Manager converts each name to a
Uniqueness Database File. The administrator can also set an option to generate
unique computer names.

You can find more information on Using Uniqueness Database Files at Microsoft
TechNet.




                          Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                           Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                 0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                       14




Administrator Password - If you don’t want someone to look at your answer
file to figure out what it is tic the Encrypt password box. You can also specify the
number of times it allows the computer to auto logon as the Administrator. I
choose “1” because there are certain settings I change that can only be done by
being logged on as “Administrator”. Let me stress that a user with administrative
rights is not the same.

*Note - Automatic Logon does not work if the local administrator password is
encrypted in the answer file.
         More information on this can be found at Microsoft’s Knowledge Base
Article - Q312394




                          Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                           Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                 0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                      15




Networking Components - By default the Setup Manager includes the
Microsoft Networks Client, File and Printer Sharing, and TCP/IP. If you rather
set this up later, leave it at the typical settings.

I like to have my network up and going when it boots the first time, so I made
some changes here. For one, I added the QoS Packet Scheduler. This way I can
control the Bandwidth that the other computers on my network tie up.

Also notice that I have TCP/IP highlighted. Now click on the “Properties” button.




                         Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                     16




TCP/IP Settings - This is not necessary but like I said before, I like my network
to be ready to go when the computer boots for the first time. Since I am on Dial-
up and have to use ICS (Internet Connection Sharing), this is an example of the
TCP/IP settings I could use on a computer that has to connect to the internet
through another computer.

*Note - If you choose to configure TCP/IP properties in your answer file, you
must create a unique answer file for each computer you are setting up on your
network.




                         Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
             MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)            17




Workgroups and Domains - Here you just need to add the name of the
workgroup or server domain your computer is going to be on if any.




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                       Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                             0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                      18




Dial-Up Settings - I don’t feel I need to explain this to much. If you need to set
up dialing options, do so here. Since I am going to be connecting over a LAN, I
will not need to set this option up.




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                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
                MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                        19

Regional Settings - By default this is set to English (United States). Well at
least my version of XP is this way. Again, I don’t think this is too painful of a
decision. So make a choice and let’s move on.




Language Support - If you need Language support, do so here and click next.




Browser and Shell Settings - Here we have three choices. For the method we
are using now, we really only have one choice. Default Internet Explorer settings

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                           Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                 0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                         20

is the only one we can use because the other two require a distribution folder to
be made. We chose to install from the CD instead. Even though you can set the
others up here, it will not work without creating a distribution folder.




Installation Folder - I usually like to stick with the Windows folder but you
can do what ever you like.




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                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                     21


Install Printers - Here’s an example of how you would install a network printer
if it was not hooked directly to the machine you are going to install the OS on. If
the computer that my printer was on was named “Jeramie”, I would use
\\Jeramie\Printer as my “Network printer name”. In order for it work you would
have to make sure that Printer sharing is enabled on that computer. To do this, go
to that computer and go to Start/Control Panel. Then open Printers and Faxes.
Right Click on Printer and select sharing from the menu. In the Sharing Tab
make sure you have Share this Printer ticked and make sure the “Share Name” is
the same as in the answer file. For example I used “Printer” which is what
Windows uses by default. Name it what ever you want but make sure the names
match. You could do the same for a fax machine. In the answer file it would look
like this \\Jeramie\Fax.




Run Once - As you can see in the Run Once section it has all ready set up the
command to add the printer. There are other commands you could use here also.
In the answer file I am creating here I would be setting up the disk partitions
manually. If you wanted to have the answer file do it for you, you would add the
command for it here also. This would require you to create a new batch file. Once
again, you can make this as simple or advanced as you like.

More information can be found at Microsoft TechNet on how to have your answer
file format your partitions for you.




                         Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                      22




Additional Commands - This is somewhat more of an advanced feature. It
allows you to have setup install things that you would normally want to install
right after Windows XP. If you desire to venture into it and what it can do for you,
Creating a Combination Installation is an example of one way to use this. This
would require you to choose different options in the setup manager than we did
here. For this article we are going to leave it blank. Now click Finish.




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                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                    23




Save the Answer File - Now put in your formatted floppy disk into your A
drive. Where it says “Location and file name”, type in A:\winnt.sif. It should
look just like the image below. Since we are using the CD Boot method, we must
name the answer file winnt.sif. Click OK.

If you do not have a Floppy drive or just want to put it on your
Windows XP CD - You will need to save the answer file to your hard drive as
winnt.sif. You will be required to make a backup of your Windows XP CD. First
of all, you will need to extract the contents of your Windows XP CD to your hard
drive. Then you must add winnt.sif to the I386 folder. You will not need to use
the batch file (winnt.bat). Don’t forget to add winnt.sif first. After extracting
Windows XP from the hard drive you can not just burn it to a CD (it won't be
bootable). Follow the instructions at Binks site on How to make your XP
bootable. I would also recommend using a CD-RW the first time you try doing
this. If you mess something up you will not be wasting your CD-Rs.




                         Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                          Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                0321-6633112
               MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                         24




Setup Manager Complete - Congratulations! You have now created your first
answer file. Here it is telling you that it has created two files for you.

winnt.sif - This is the answer file

winnt.bat - You will also need this batch file on the floppy. It tells the answer
file where to find the files needed for Windows Setup.




Now go to where you saved your answer file. Right click on winnt.sif and open
with notepad. You should see something similar to what you see below except

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                           Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                 0321-6633112
                  MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                    25

that it should your answers instead of mine. If you want to make some last
minute changes do so now.

If you like to make multiple partitions on your hard drive you will need to make a
minor change to the answer file. In the [Data] section have a look at
AutoPartition. With the current setting at one it will automatically choose a
partition to install to. This will take away your option to make partitions. If you
would rather create your own partitions set the 1 to 0. I recommend you do this if
you already have an operating system installed on your computer that you would
like to start fresh with or if you want XP to create a dual boot for you. You should
have a second partition to do a dual boot.


;SetupMgrTag
[Data]
  AutoPartition=1
  MsDosInitiated="0"
  UnattendedInstall="Yes"

[Unattended]
  UnattendMode=FullUnattended
  OemSkipEula=Yes
  OemPreinstall=No
  TargetPath=\WINDOWS

[GuiUnattended]
  AdminPassword="password"
  EncryptedAdminPassword=NO
  AutoLogon=Yes
  AutoLogonCount=1
  OEMSkipRegional=1
  TimeZone=20
  OemSkipWelcome=1

[UserData]
  ProductID=ABC12-3ABC1-23ABC-123AB-C123A
  FullName="Jeramie Lorson"
  OrgName="Hytek Computer"
  ComputerName=JL1

[Display]
  BitsPerPel=32
  Xresolution=1280
  YResolution=1024
  Vrefresh=85

[GuiRunOnce]
  Command0="rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /in /n \\Jeramie\Printer"

[Identification]
  JoinWorkgroup=WORKGROUP

[Networking]
  InstallDefaultComponents=No

[NetAdapters]

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                                 Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                       0321-6633112
                    MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                                    26

  Adapter1=params.Adapter1

[params.Adapter1]
  INFID=*

[NetClients]
  MS_MSClient=params.MS_MSClient

[NetServices]
  MS_SERVER=params.MS_SERVER
  MS_PSched=params.MS_PSched

[NetProtocols]
  MS_TCPIP=params.MS_TCPIP

[params.MS_TCPIP]
  DNS=No
  UseDomainNameDevolution=No
  EnableLMHosts=Yes
  AdapterSections=params.MS_TCPIP.Adapter1

[params.MS_TCPIP.Adapter1]
  SpecificTo=Adapter1
  DHCP=No
  IPAddress=192.168.0.2
  SubnetMask=255.255.255.0
  DefaultGateway=192.168.0.1
  DNSServerSearchOrder=192.168.0.1
  WINS=No
  NetBIOSOptions=0

 Now Right click on your winnt.bat file and in the menu click edit. This is a batch
file. A batch file is a file containing instructions that are executed one after the
other. Notice that in the batch file it tells you that it may need to be modified. You
may need to edit the path for setup to find the files it needs. The batch file here
says:

1.     The answer file is winnt.sif
2.     Setup files are located on E:\ (My CD-ROM Drive) in the I386 folder.
3.     Tells Setup to begin using winnt32 with a script to tell it to use the
unattended method.

If you’re going to be using this on another computer you may have to change the
drive letter to whatever the CD-ROM is set at.
@rem SetupMgrTag
@echo off

rem
rem This is a SAMPLE batch script generated by the Setup Manager Wizard.
rem If this script is moved from the location where it was generated, it may have to be modified.
rem

set AnswerFile=.\winnt.sif
set SetupFiles=E:\i386


                                 Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                                  Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                        0321-6633112
                 MCSE 2003 Track (Compete College Faisalabad)                     27

E:\i386\winnt32 /s:%SetupFiles% /unattend:%AnswerFile%
Now it’s time to start the installation.

First, you're going to need to change your boot order in the BIOS to boot from
CD-ROM. Once you do this you'll then be able to boot your computer from the
Installation CD and perform the installation of Windows XP.

After changing the boot order in BIOS, save your changes and reboot the
computer. Make sure your Installation CD is in your CD-ROM. If it is you'll be
prompted to press any key to boot from CD-ROM. Press any key on your
keyboard as soon as you see this message. Wait a few minutes while the
installation begins to copy the preliminary setup files to your computer.

If you decided to make create your own partitions, you need to decide which
partition of your hard drive you will install Windows XP on. Once you have
figured out which partition XP will be installed on it's time to format it.

Choose to format the partition to either FAT32 or NTFS. After you have select
one of the options hit enter and Setup will begin to format the partition. You will
have to format the other partitions after you are finished with your installation of
XP. You can do this with Administrative Tools in the Control Panel.

Now just sit back and wait or go do something else. The next things you will be
asked to do are register or activate Windows XP and setup user accounts.
Everything else is done for you.

Conclusion

Using this method of installing windows XP may take a little of your time at first
but can be handy in future installations of Windows XP. I personally like the fact
that this allows me to not worry about setting up certain things like networking. I
also prefer just adding my answer file to my Windows CD just because I don’t
have to find the floppy later or worry about it corrupting. I would recommend
you try the floppy method first so you can play with all the different ways of
automating Windows XP setup.




                             Rana Muhammad Tahir Sarwar
                              Tahir_Compete@yahoo.com
                                    0321-6633112

				
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