Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Really need help with Windows 7 unattend.xml file for Windows 7 deploy

21 Jul 2014   #11
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Note   Note
I asked moderators to merge two of your other threads here as they are about the same deployment issue. Your threads have disappeared but the questions and responses are here.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by computergal View Post
Hi,
For a Windows 7 company deployment - I know that before I sysprep an image, I want to boot into Audit mode to customize it. When I am ready to generalize the image, do I stay in Audit mode and check the 'Generalize' box or do I select OOBE instead of Audit mode? I don't want the end user to have to go through making all the choices such as Language, accept Eula, Time Zone, etc. I just want the end users to be able to boot to the desktop.

Any help is much appreciated!
If you have finished the customization in Audit Mode and shutdown the reference PC to capture the image, you must of course select OOBE and GENERALIZE. If you select Audit Mode instead of OOBE, when the end user boots the PC first time it would go to Audit Mode for no reason. Most normal users would not even know what Audit Mode is and how to exit from it to get a normal OOBE boot.

About your PM to me, I think it's better I quote it here first:
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by computergal - Sun, 20 Jul 2014 20:44:20 -0600
Hi Kari,
Thanks for giving me some input on my question about deploying Windows 7. I read the link you referred to, and I am still not sure what to do from this point. After I sysprepped and generalized the image, it created a myimage.wim which I copied and pasted to my flash drive. I need to be able to deploy Windows 7 to about 150 computers without using the network, so I want to have all the files be on the flashdrive. Is there a way to do this without using the network? I also used an autounattend.xml answer file to create the windows 7 installation that I sysprepped. Do I need to have that answer file on the flash drive in order to install the .wim?
I have spent a lot of time on this and I feel like I am getting close but just not sure what to do with my .wim in order to deploy it.
Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to give me.
When responding to your original question I did not know that you don't have network access on those 150 PCs you told you need to deploy your image.

See this post at Microsoft TechNet for how to deploy from a flash drive: How to Deploy Windows 7 from a USB Drive - TechNet Articles - United States (English) - TechNet Wiki

The same in a MSDN support article: Deploy an Image from a USB Flash Drive Using ImageX (Standard 8) (this article is for Windows 8 Embedded but same principles apply for all post XP versions).

Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
21 Jul 2014   #12
computergal

Windows 7 Pro x86
 
 

Thanks for responding to my question. I guess I'll have to recreate my image since I generalized it in Audit mode and captured it. I thought that generalizing it in oboe mode meant the end user would see all the boxes with language choices, etc and I did not want them to have to go through making all those choices, that's why I generalized the image in Audit mode.

To install my captured .wim on a test machine - do I just substitute my .wim for the wim on the win 7 DVD and put it on my flash drive? I'm assuming that I don't need the answer file to be on it since the image is already captured.

Thanks again for your help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #13
computergal

Windows 7 Pro x86
 
 

I just now saw your other response with the links to information about deploying from flash drive. I will take a look at those articles.
Thanks again for your help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

21 Jul 2014   #14
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Remember these rules:
  • Enter Audit Mode to prepare you image to be captured
  • When ready, sysprep with OOBE to give a ready to use Windows for end users
Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #15
computergal

Windows 7 Pro x86
 
 

Although I have already generalized in Audit mode, shutdown, and captured that image, would I be able to just restart and run sysprep/generalize again but in OOBE this time?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #16
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by computergal View Post
Although I have already generalized in Audit mode, shutdown, and captured that image, would I be able to just restart and run sysprep/generalize again but in OOBE this time?
In case my previous posts did not make this point clear, let's be sure you have understood. First a reminder, what have we been talking about previously:

First, your earlier question and my answer:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by computergal View Post
Hi,
For a Windows 7 company deployment - I know that before I sysprep an image, I want to boot into Audit mode to customize it. When I am ready to generalize the image, do I stay in Audit mode and check the 'Generalize' box or do I select OOBE instead of Audit mode? I don't want the end user to have to go through making all the choices such as Language, accept Eula, Time Zone, etc. I just want the end users to be able to boot to the desktop.

Any help is much appreciated!
If you have finished the customization in Audit Mode and shutdown the reference PC to capture the image, you must of course select OOBE and GENERALIZE. If you select Audit Mode instead of OOBE, when the end user boots the PC first time it would go to Audit Mode for no reason. Most normal users would not even know what Audit Mode is and how to exit from it to get a normal OOBE boot.
Then I repeated the same:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Remember these rules:
  • Enter Audit Mode to prepare you image to be captured
  • When ready, sysprep with OOBE to give a ready to use Windows for end users
Kari
So, final try:

Assuming you are talking about selecting System Cleanup Action: Audit Mode as shown in the screenshot below, the image is worthless to you. If you have it on DVD, the best use for the disk would be to use it as shotgun practicing target. You cannot deploy an Audit Mode image to users who have no idea what to do with it, how to exit Audit Mode and use Windows normally.
Really need help with Windows 7 unattend.xml file for Windows 7 deploy-2014-07-21_20h05_27.png
Two options:
  1. Deploy that image to one PC, boot to OOBE, enter Audit mode, Sysprep with generalize & OOBE, capture the new image

    -- OR --

  2. Start from scratch, enter Audit mode, install your stuff, customize the image as you want to, Sysprep with generalize & OOBE, capture the new image
Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #17
computergal

Windows 7 Pro x86
 
 

Thank you, I got it!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #18
computergal

Windows 7 Pro x86
 
 

One last question if you would be so kind as to help. I created my answer file thinking it was for the initial Windows 7 install right before I customize my image. But I am seeing that it is really necessary while Sysprep runs. Would I use that same answer file? Do I need to put it in the Sysprep folder? I have named it autounattend.xml because I am doing disk partitioning. Windows 7 installs without asking me anything, but in order for Sysprep to use it, do I need to change anything?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #19
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Honestly, I am not sure I understand your question.

There's not much Sysprep can do without an answer file. It can generalize a Windows image to prepare it for hardware independent deployment but that's it.

The purpose of image deployment is to install Windows to a computer as the creator of the image wants. This includes partitioning, customizing default use profile, IE favorites, preinstalled software, drivers and updates and so on. All this must be told to Sysprep, the method to tell it is called unattended answer file. I often talk about script because that's what it is, a script containing batch of commands written in XML.

Answer file is needed on your reference computer, the one you are using to create the image. The Sysprep GUI cannot handle answer files so you need to use Command Prompt or PowerShell to run Sysprep command and add an Unattend switch, together with other required switches.

Following command would run Sysprep, generalize and prepare the image for an OOBE boot, quit when ready to allow image capture, getting its instructions from an answer file called MyAnswerFile.xml which is located on root of the drive X:
Code:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /quit /unattend:X:\MyAnswerFile.xml
When Sysprep has finished you can capture the install.wim file, or you can shutdown the computer and use WinPE and external imaging tool to capture a system image. This image does no longer need nor does it contain the answer file used for Sysprep.

I have one suggestion for you: Make a pot of coffee or get a few beers (I prefer the latter ), sit down, relax and read this tutorial through once: Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep. Check the included videos, too, at least the shorter one.

The tut is made for private users but the process is about the same even with you, preparing 150 computers as you have told us. The difference is that the tut uses a third party imaging tool to capture a system image whereas you are using the more traditional method, ImageX to create and capture your own install.wim file and deploy using it. Other than that the tut will give you a bit more in-depth idea of Sysprep and Audit Mode.

Notice that I only suggest you using the tutorial as a reference in familiarizing yourself a bit more with the process; you should not use it as step by step guide because as I mentioned before, your case differs from that of a normal private user preparing a customized system image for his / her own use.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #20
computergal

Windows 7 Pro x86
 
 

Thank you for the information. Your tutorial was very easy to read and understand. It sounds like I will need to use WinPE to capture and save the finished image, and I have made a disk. I am going to have to figure out the correct syntax for the WinPE commands but I think I am getting this figured out. I was under the impression that I needed to copy my unattend.xml file to C: drive, but you are saying that is not correct. Since I am using a driver path (trying to insert a few .inf drivers) in the WindowsPE pass, will I need to copy my entire distribution share over since that is where I have the actual drivers?
Thank you for all your help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Really need help with Windows 7 unattend.xml file for Windows 7 deploy




Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search




Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
The Unattend answer file contains an invalid product key
I am responsible for building, updating, converting, building a sysprepped Windows 7 Pro master and deploy it on my company's computers. The final result is a build that includes full recovery capability, as most of these computers are used outside the office, some in remote locations. To...
Software
WDS Unattend.xml answer file help needed
I have been trying to transition over to using WDS for my main method of Windows 7 image deployment in our Server 2008 R2 domain environment. I am having trouble with getting the answer file to work properly. I have read through multiple threads, posts, and guides including the guide on this site ...
Installation & Setup
Os file deploy error
Hello everyone, I need a desperate help. This morning I decided to format my laptop (an asus x53s) after many blue crashes caused by Ntoskrnl.exe. I used the recovery system inside the pc but after some mins I got a gray page with a big red error word. I restarted the pc, used the boot to set DVD...
Installation & Setup
Windows cannot parse the unattend answer file's <DiskConfiguration>...
Hi there. I'm trying to do a clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate on a Sony Vaio AR41s via a DVD that I burned (slowest speed, was very careful about that) but upon starting the installation I get the error message: Windows cannot parse the unattend answer file's <DiskConfiguration> setting ...
Installation & Setup
Windows could not apply the unattend answer file's
I am getting this error when I am install Windows 7: Windows could not format a partition on disk 0 - error code 0x80004005 during a new install of Windows 7. I have tried both Home Premium x64 and Enterprise x64. Both falling into the same error: I've removed all partition using gparted,...
Installation & Setup
Get ready to deploy Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R
More...
News


Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 17:01.

Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App