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Windows 7: W7 - WINNT.SIF for unattended ???

29 Apr 2010   #1
Gew

 
W7 - WINNT.SIF for unattended ???

Hi guys!

I hope someone here could help me out. I'm sort of an XP fanboy. I was so annoyed by the standard folders eg. "Documents and settings" and "Program Files" so I found my way of creating a customized install disc. I simply extracted my whole install disc into a folder, used notepad to create a file called WINNT.SIF in the i386 subdirectory, where I entered the following:

Code:
[Unattended]
TargetPath=\W
ProgramFilesDir="\Prg"
CommonProgramFilesDir="\Prg\~C"

[GuiUnattended]
ProfilesDir="%SystemDrive%\Usr\"
I then extracted the boot header and simply used Nero to create a new bootable project, and voila, the new, customized XP install disc was made. Now the installation put default directories the way I want them to. It's awsome.

Now, yesterday, I decided to "step up the game" and try Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 7 (I've completely skipped the "Vista era", never ever had it installed, barely taken a look at it, darn shitty excuse for an OS). So, the OS looks pretty descent, but the folders does not appear the way I want them to.

So, if some enthusiast could please tell me the simplest way to proceed here? I guess copying that old WINNT.SIF into an extracted copy of the Windows 7 install is out the question.

I've looked around (Google), but I found the documentation not fully satisfying. It seems like there is mostly advanced guides for whole-network-domain-installations, using some ~gigabyte large util pack called "WAIK" or whatever. Seems like a real mess. I would like just being able to push a text document someplace, and have it instruct the install to use different standard paths. I've heard about the following four filenames of interest:

autounattend.txt
autounattend.xml
unattend.txt
unattend.xml


Which of these ones are correct? It is said that I shall put the file in the root of the installation tree. Is this correct? Will the installation disc automatically detect either of these files and act according to its values? Some articles says that you need to go through some sort of boot disk and start the installation manually by eg. "win32install.exe /u:textfilewithsettings.txt" , or something like that. Seems like a mess, please tell me that this is not the case.

Gah, it seems like my wish is harder to achieve in Windows 7 than in my favored old Windows XP, pity, awrgh. Or(!), it's just me not having my facts straight -- yet

Hopefully some enthusiast here could shed some light on this one.

NOW, after having downloaded WAIK documentation, I believe I've found the correct lines for half of my desired settings. It goes like this:

Code:
<FolderLocations>
   <ProfilesDirectory>%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Usr</ProfilesDirectory>
   <ProgramData>%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Prg</ProgramData>
</FolderLocations>
Juding from this documentation (unattend.chm), it seems like the possibility to change installation directory (from default \Windows\) is deprecated since Vista. I guess I'll have to suffice. After all, "Program Files" and "Document and settings" is the ones I've found most disturbing. However, also the possibility of changing the "Common files" directory seems to be deprecated, at least I can't find any information in unattend.chm! :/

I would be glad if someone could validate/confirm/dismiss this fact.

Oh, finally..
Would it be okey if I just put the XML data above in eg. unattend.txt, or am I missing any required XML headers? If someone who knows things for a fact could drop the correct ".xml answer file" it would be just awsome.

Ty in advance!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

29 Apr 2010   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

You are better off not doing this at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2010   #3
Gew

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
You are better off not doing this at all.
And why is this?

It seems like only a matter of getting it right. Recent information tells me that you could actually just put autounattend.xml on a SD card / USB memory, and your original Windows installation disc will automatically detect and parse it. If this is true, I only need to get my answer file right. This is what I've come up with so far:

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
<settings pass="oobeSystem">
<component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup"
publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral"  versionScope="nonSxS"
processorArchitecture="x86">
<FolderLocations>
<ProfilesDirectory>%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Usr<ProfilesDirectory
<ProgramData>%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Prg</ProgramData>
</FolderLocations>
</component>
</settings>
</unattend>
So, now I lay this question out for all you experienced enthusiasts out there. If I put the code above in an UTF-8 encoded text document called autounattend.xml, and lay it in the root folder of my FAT32-formated USB stick, and then boot up with my OEM Windows 7 install disc, will setup automatically detect and parse my answer file?


I'm thankful for all answers,
Regards~
G.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


30 Apr 2010   #4

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

Because you are only going to end up pulling your hair out. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Vista and Sever are imaged based (like Norton Ghost) installations. And you cannot change "Program Files" name, "<ProgramData>" option is actually changing "C:\ProgramData"

Trying this is just going to frustrate you to no end. Because this is not Windows XP.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2010   #5
Gew

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Because you are only going to end up pulling your hair out. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Vista and Sever are imaged based (like Norton Ghost) installations. And you cannot change "Program Files" name, "<ProgramData>" option is actually changing "C:\ProgramData"

Trying this is just going to frustrate you to no end. Because this is not Windows XP.
Thanks for your reply.

Well, as I've come to understand, this thing with autounattend.xml being automatically parsed (from within root of any actual drive recognized) by DVD installation disc is a pure fact. Also, I've received confirmation that my answer file draft is correct/valid/legit.

However, after reading your post, it seems I can only changed \User\, but not the \Program Files\. No fun at all, I'd say. If <ProgramData> is really referring to \ProgramData\ folder. I've read the unattend.chm (from WAIK documentation) but havn't find any other setting, to change/re-target the actual \Program Files\ folder. Is there any? ..beyond my knowledge?

Ty in adv~
Regards~
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2010   #6

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Hi, part of the issue here is that some of these folders are really just pointers so that older programs will be able to save data in the correct folders even though the location and folder name has changed. This may be what you are up against here.
Ted
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2010   #7

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

You might just want to try Windows 7 as is. The “Documents and Settings” is gone only a junction point exists. Much has been done to make things better; you may find that it is close to what you were doing anyway. Looks like you want a “usr” folder and you will get a “Users” so that is close. You could always make a junction point as “prg” that points to the “Program Files”.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 W7 - WINNT.SIF for unattended ???




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