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Configure an Unattended Installation

Updated: January 29, 2007

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows Deployment Services enables you to automate the user interface screens of the Windows Deployment Services client and the later stages of Windows Setup. You use the following two unattend files to automate either or both of these processes:

  • Windows Deployment Services client unattend file. To automate the Windows Deployment Services client user interface screens (for example, for entering credentials, choosing an install image, and configuring the disk), create an Unattend.xml file and save it to the \WDSClientUnattend folder on the Windows Deployment Services server. For instructions, see Configuring unattended installation for the Windows Deployment Services client.

  • Image unattend file. To automate the remaining phases of Setup (for example, offline servicing, Sysprep specialize, and mini-setup), you create an image unattend file and associate it with an image. In most cases, you create another Unattend.xml file. For Windows images prior to Windows Vista, you must use your existing Sysprep.inf files and save the file to the $OEM$ structure of the image. For instructions, see Configuring unattended for Windows Setup.

We recommend that you use Windows System Image Manager (included as part of the Windows AIK) to author the Unattend.xml files. For more information, see Performing Unattended Installations (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=89226).

Configuring unattended installation for the Windows Deployment Services client

You can use the following procedures to associate a client unattend file for an entire architecture or for a specific prestaged computer. Assigning the file for an entire architecture allows you to have differing settings for x86-based and x64-based clients. Assignment at the client level overrides the architecture setting.

To associate a client unattend file by architecture using the Windows interface
  1. Create an Unattend.xml. (See Sample Unattend Files at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=122642.)

  2. Copy the client unattend file to RemoteInstall\WDSClientUnattend.

  3. Open the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in and right-click the server that contains the image that you want to associate the unattend file with, and then click Properties.

  4. On the Client tab, select Enable unattended installation, browse to the appropriate unattend file, and then click Open.

  5. Click OK to close the Properties page.

To associate a client unattend file by architecture using a command line
  1. Create an Unattend.xml. (See Sample Unattend Files at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=122642.)

  2. Copy the client unattend file to RemoteInstall\WDSClientUnattend.

  3. Click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

  4. Type the following (the file path must be relative from the RemoteInstall folder):

    WDSUTIL /Set-Server /WDSUnattend /Policy:enabled /File:wdsclientunattend\Unattend.xml /Architecture:{x86|ia64|x64}
    
    noteNote
    Help for WDSUTIL is available by typing WDSUTIL /? at a command prompt.

To associate a client unattend file per computer using a command line
  1. Create an Unattend.xml. (See Sample Unattend Files at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=122642.)

  2. Copy the unattend file to RemoteInstall\WDSClientUnattend.

  3. Click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

  4. Type the following (the file path must be relative from the RemoteInstall folder):

    WDSUTIL /Set-Device /Device:<computername> /ID:<GUID or MAC address> /WDSClientUnattend:wdsclientunattend\Unattend.xml
    

Configuring unattended installation for Windows Setup

You automate the remaining phases of Setup with an image unattend file—either Unattend.xml or Sysprep.inf, depending on the operating system of the image.

  • Unattend.xml. For most images (Windows Vista with SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2) author an Unattend.xml by using Windows SIM, save it to a known location, and then associate the file with an image using the following procedures.

  • Sysprep.inf. For Windows images prior to Windows Vista, author Sysprep.inf by using Setup Manager and then save these files to the $OEM$ structure of the image (for example, D:\RemoteInstall\Images\Windows XP\winxpsp2\$OEM$\$1\sysprep\sysprep.inf). Now when you deploy the image, Setup will automatically locate and use the Sysprep.inf file.

To associate an Unattend.xml file to an image by using the Windows interface
  1. Create an Unattend.xml file. (See Sample Unattend Files at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=122642.)

  2. From the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, click to expand the image group that contains the image.

  3. Right-click the image that you want to associate the unattend file to, and click Properties.

  4. On the General tab, click Allow image to install in unattend mode.

  5. Click Select File, browse to select the unattend file, and then click OK twice.

To associate an Unattend.xml file to an image using a command line
  1. Create an Unattend.xml file and save it to a known location. (See Sample Unattend Files at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=122642.)

  2. Click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

  3. Type the following, where <imagename> is the name of the image to associate the unattend file with, <imagegroupname> is the name of the image group that contains the image, and <unattendfile> is the path and file name of the unattend file:

    WDSUTIL /Set-Image /Image:<imagename> /ImageType:install /ImageGroup:<imagegroupname> /UnattendFile:<unattendfile> 
    

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