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Windows 7: creating an "answer " file for OS re-install

04 Jul 2011   #1

win 7 ult. x64
creating an "answer " file for OS re-install

I have had numerous issues with malware and am trying to get a system re-installed. I have win 7 ult. x64 OEM and my motherboard allows the install of the OS with an answer file. I have downloaded the iso files and burned it to dvd. I am trying to make a technician computer to make the file so I can put it on flash stick for the new install. Posted below is the instructions that intel gave for the creation of said file. Can someone help me as it is not easily done or I don't have the experience. I am trying this as a different approach to an install, hopefully making my system more secure / error free.

Thanks in advance..

can someone help me with this ( see below )

The simplest method for installing Windows? onto new hardware is to 
start directly from the Windows product DVD with an answer file called 
Autounattend.xml. Boot the computer with the Windows Setup media in the 
DVD drive and the configuration set available on an external drive. 
By default, Windows Setup searches all removable media for an answer 
file called Autounattend.xml. Autounattend.xml must be located at the 
root of the removable media. 
The answer file enables you to automate all or parts of Windows Setup 
Includeing adding INF files. You can create an answer file by using Windows 
System Image Manager (Windows SIM). 
Microsoft* published a Wndows Automated Installation Kit(WAIK) 
(Must be the windows 7 version) which facilitates creation of answer files 
and image creation for unattended installs of Windows 7 with tools such as Windows SIM 
To create a configuration set you will need: 
Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) installed on a technician computer. 
An authorized copy of a Windows Vista? product DVD. 
Chipset device driver .inf files. 
Access to a network share or removable media with sufficient storage space. 
1. Create a New Answer File 
(In this step, you define basic disk configuration and other settings that are required 
for an unattended installation.) 
A. On your technician computer, insert the Windows 7 product DVD into the local 
DVD-ROM drive. 
B. On the desktop of the technician computer, navigate to the \Sources directory 
on your DVD-ROM drive. Copy the Install.wim file from the Windows product DVD 
to a location on the computer. 
C. Open Windows SIM. On the desktop of the computer, click Start, point to 
Programs, point to Microsoft Windows OPK (or Windows AIK), and then click 
Windows System Image Manager. 
D. On the File menu, click Select Windows Image. 
E. In the Select a Windows Image dialog box, navigate to the location where 
you saved the Install.wim file, and then click Open. 
A warning will appear that a .clg file does not exist. 
Click OK to create a .clg file. 
If there is more than one Windows image in the .wim file, you are prompted 
to select the Windows image to open. 
F. On the File menu, click New Answer File. 
2. Create a Distribution Share 
(In this step, you create a distribution-share folder on your technician computer. 
The distribution share will store out-of-box drivers, applications, and any resource 
files needed for your custom installation.) 
A. In Windows SIM, in the Distribution Share pane, click Select a Distribution 
B. Right-click to select Create Distribution Share. 
C. The Create a Distribution Share dialog box appears. 
D. Click New Folder, and then type a name for the folder. For example 
E. In the Distribution Share pane, the distribution share folder opens. 
Windows SIM automatically creates the following folder structure. 
C:\MyDistributionShare\$OEM$ Folders 
3. Add Drivers and Applications to Distribution Share 
A. In Windows SIM, on the Tools menu, select Explore Distribution Share. 
B. The Distribution Share window opens. 
C. Copy your device driver files (.inf) to the Out-of-Box Drivers folder. 
1. Create subdirectories for each driver. For example, 
create directories "Chipset" and "Video" in the Out-of-Box Drivers 
D. Close the distribution share folder. 
4. Add a Device Driver to the Answer File 
(In this step, you add an out-of-box drivers (.inf) path to your answer file.) 
A. In Windows SIM, on the Insert menu, click Driver Path, and then click Pass 1 
B. The Browse for Folder dialog box appears. 
C. Select the driver path to add to the answer file, and then click OK. 
For example, "C:\MyDistributionShare\Out-of-Box Drivers\Chipset" 
5. Validate the Answer File 
(In this step, you validate the settings in your answer file and then save them to a file.) 
A. In Windows SIM, click Tools, and then click Validate Answer File. 
B. If the answer file validates successfully, a "success" message appears in the 
Messages pane; otherwise, error messages appear in the same location. 
C. If an error occurs, in the Messages pane, double-click the error to navigate 
to the incorrect setting. Change the setting to fix the error, and then 
revalidate the answer file. 
D. On the File menu, click Save Answer File. Save the file as Unattend.xml. 
6. Create a Configuration Set 
(In this step, you create a configuration set that will gather all of the resource files 
that you specified in your answer file into one location.) 
A. In Windows SIM, on the Tools menu, select Create Configuration Set. 
B. The Create Configuration Set window opens. 
C. Specify a destination location where you intend to publish the configuration set 
D. Select a removable dirve such as a USB flash drive (UFD), and then click OK. 
7. Deploying a Configuration Set Without a Network 
A. Turn on the new computer. 
B. Insert both the removable media containing your configuration set and the 
Windows 7 product DVD into the new computer. 
Note: When using a USB flash drive, insert the drive directly into the 
primary set of USB ports for the computer. For a desktop computer, 
this is typically in the back of the computer. 
C. Restart the computer by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL. 
Note: This example assumes that the hard drive is blank. 
E. Windows Setup (Setup.exe) begins automatically. 
F. By default, Windows Setup searches all removable media for an answer file 
called Autounattend.xml. Autounattend.xml must be located at the root of the 
removable media. 
G. After Setup completes, validate that all customizations were applied, and then 
reseal the computer by using the generalize option 
For more information about Windows Server 2008 answer 
files and unattended installations, please refer to the 
Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) User's Guide

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

The purpose of having an answer file is to automate installation customizations E.g. it can format and partition hard disks, specify IE configuration etc. Its useful if one wants a particular configuration and also for large scale rollouts.

But your problem seems different- you're being bugged by malware and you want to reinstall windows. You just need to backup user data (scan it for malware), wipe the hard disk, then boot from the dvd, format and partition, install drivers and apps, tweak then create an image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #3

win 7 ult. x64

I understand that the inf files for the chipset can be used for the install. I am wondering if it would be to my advantage to create this file for windows to use as it install the OS as stated in the text file posted earlier, or just install the OS and then run the chipset install. I understand it can be done both ways but would it be a more stable or secure system install using the chipset inf files with the install?
Thanks as I am no expert
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Jul 2011   #4

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

Nope, I dont know of any advantage, security or stability or otherwise that accrues from installing the chipset driver along with windows. Keep things simple- just install the OS followed by the chipset driver and other drivers. Of course make sure everything you install is malware free.

Since you complained of malware, secure wipe the hard drive before starting.

Secure Erase / Wipe : Definition and Methods
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #5

win 7 ult. x64

I appreciate your responses!!!!!

Also, if you owned three laptop computers, would you get rid of the section of the manufactures "protected" area that seem to load itself on a new hard drive. I purchased a new 2.5inch sata drive for one of my laptops ( dell studio 1555 ) and put the hard drive in and installed windows. Immediatly after rebooting, the system stalled while scripts were being run ( I believe dell was installing its utilities and such ).
My question, do I need this installed, it there a way to avoid this from installing and or the pro's and con's of this happening?
Thanks again!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #6

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

Are you using dell disks to install windows? Those would install dell utilities also that may or may not be useful, depending on what one does on the computer. There are 2 ways to handle this:

1) Find out what each dell utility/app does and uninstall what you dont need. You can use PC decrapifier though personally I just do it manually.

2) The "protected area" is the oem recovery partition that is an image of the factory install. Recovery can be launched from this either by tapping F11 or another key combo at boot or by booting from the recovery disks. If you're not completely comfortable with tinkering with partitions and installing windows, I suggest you leave this as it is. In case something goes wrong, you can just recover to factory state.

Thing with dell is (i have a studio 1645) they sometimes place the boot files on the recovery partition so if you just jump and somehow delete it (it wont let you though easily cos the boot files are there), you'll be left wondering how to boot.

3) The clean solution is to format the hard disk, then clean install windows from a generic dvd (not the oem provided) and install everything to one's liking. Activation can be done with the sticker key.

But as I said, a cautious approach would be to just gradually remove the crapware one by one and let the recovery partition be. If you need help with the dell bloat, let us know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #7

win 7 ult. x64

You are HUGE!
I will cut some of the BLOAT out as I am not to happy with the way the system is operating. ( I do not like the install of code that doens't allow user informed consent ). I am currently creating ( image and repair disk ), as this system seams to be working fine ( so far ) and will contact this forum on the install of the studio laptop.

You have a wonderful 4th and make sure you still all your digits after playing with the noise makers!

will return for futher instructions after wiping the new sata drive that I installed in the dell laptop.

Once again thanks, you all here are ALL THAT!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #8

win 7 ult. x64

I am back to finally complete the last of 5 systems. I am working on a dell inspiron 1505 and the dell website lists several drivers. Two of the drivers when downloaded are listed by IE9 as " the publisher of this program couldn't be verified " and are listed with a red X in a shield. All the other files listed by my service tag number dowloaded ok ( without the error or notification of no being verified ).

Is this normal as I tried to contact dell and since the laptop is out of warranty, I am only offered to purchase a one time support call service or extend the warranty. ( Really makes me want to purchase another from said company).

Should I trust the downloaded drivers or should I contact dell and ask them why this is only occuring with these two drivers. ( one is the bios and the other is the chipset driver ).

I can use the original set that came with the system, but with all the updates for the OS is it not better / reccommended to use the latest drivers for all hardware and the updates?

Dell is being difficult as I am not sure why I must purchase a warranty just to download the required files with out the errors.

Any help would be appreciated
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #9

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

Well, i find it hard to believe that dell driver files on their website could be infected, more like an IE9 bug (among others!). Just go ahead and download. Only thing is are you actually planning to flash the bios? Bios flashing is somewhat different from your regular driver install and can occasionally terribly wrong if not done properly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #10

win 7 ult. x64

Good morning sir,

I would like to do it all as I have had issues with a persistant malware problem and am wondering if it is affecting the bios on the other systems and have done it to them and now they are up and running again.

I just don't understand why it is just the two files and the rest downloaded without the issue. Dell doesn't apparently care / is hard to contact anyone other than sales, fee based support, or support for a system that is still under warranty.

Would you suggest to purchase win 7 or stay with the current OS of xp mce sp3? It seems that 7 has more compatability for more systems and configurations.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 creating an "answer " file for OS re-install

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