Export (0) Print
Expand All

How Configuration Passes Work

Configuration passes are phases of Windows Setup during which you apply settings to an unattended installation answer file.

The following table describes the different configuration passes.

 

Configuration Pass Description

windowsPE

Configures Windows PE options and basic Windows Setup options. These options can include setting the product key and configuring a disk.

If you require drivers for Windows PE to access the local hard disk drive or a network, use this configuration pass to add drivers to the Windows PE driver store and to reflect boot-critical drivers required by Windows PE.

offlineServicing

Applies updates to a Windows image. Also applies packages, including software fixes, language packs, and other security updates.

During this pass, you can add drivers to a Windows image before that image is installed and processes out-of-box device drivers during Windows Setup.

specialize

Creates and applies system-specific information. For example, you can configure network settings, international settings, and domain information.

generalize

Enables you to minimally configure the sysprep /generalize command, as well as configure other Windows settings that must persist on your reference image.

The sysprep /generalize command removes system-specific information. For example, the unique security ID (SID) and other hardware-specific settings are removed from the image.

The generalize pass runs only if you run the sysprep /generalize command.

auditSystem

Processes unattended Setup settings while Windows is running in system context, before a user logs onto the computer in Audit mode. The auditSystem pass runs only if you boot to Audit mode.

auditUser

Processes unattended Setup settings after a user logs onto the computer in Audit mode. The auditUser pass runs only if you boot to Audit mode.

oobeSystem

Applies settings to Windows before Windows Welcome starts.

The following diagram shows the relationship between the configuration passes and the valid configuration passes for different executable files.

74b3a1d6-dfce-4262-8afe-14198e2fbb38
noteNote
Not all configuration passes run in a given installation of Windows. Some passes, such as auditSystem and auditUser, run only if you boot to Audit mode.

Configuring Device Drivers

To add out-of-box, boot-critical drivers during an unattended installation, you must ensure that the boot-critical driver is available on preinstallation media. Boot-critical drivers should be added during the windowsPE configuration pass. All drivers are staged in the driver store, but only boot-critical drivers are reflected or installed in the offline Windows image as well as in the Windows PE image. Non-boot-critical drivers can be added to the offlineServicing configuration pass. This ensures that boot-critical drivers are available and when the computer boots, the driver loads.

For more information, see Manage Device Drivers for Windows.

Configuring International Settings

International settings are available in multiple configuration passes to enable you to customize the Windows image based on customer requirements and different deployment scenarios.

For example, if you build a computer in the United States (which would be an en-US international setting), you might perform all your tests in English. However, if you intend to deliver the computer to France and need Windows to boot in French, you can add the fr-FR language pack if the language pack is not already installed, and then configure the Microsoft-Windows-International-Core component to apply fr-FR settings during the specialize configuration pass. When a customer starts the computer, the specialize pass runs and Windows starts in French.

By default, Windows Welcome displays a Regional Settings user interface (UI) page for the end user to select default language, locale, and input settings. You can preconfigure the settings on this UI page by specifying language and locale settings in the oobeSystem configuration pass in the Microsoft-Windows-International-Core component. If settings are set in oobeSystem, the Regional Settings page is skipped.

For more information, see Manage Language Packs for Windows.

Configuration Passes Example Scenarios

The following sections describe sample scenarios and explain when configuration passes run.

Build a Reference Image Scenario

In this scenario, you create a single Windows reference image that you can reuse throughout your environment. This scenario involves the following steps:

  1. You start with a Windows product DVD and an answer file.
  2. You start the computer with the Windows product DVD.
  3. Windows Setup starts and the windowsPE and offlineServicing passes run.
  4. After the Windows image is copied to the hard disk, the system restarts and Windows Setup runs the specialize pass.
  5. After Windows Setup completes, the oobeSystem configuration pass runs and Windows Welcome starts.
  6. You can make additional modifications to the system; for example, you can install applications, device drivers, or other configurations.
  7. When you complete your modifications, you run the sysprep /generalize /audit/reboot command. This command runs the generalize pass and then removes any system-specific data. Also, this configures Windows to run in Audit mode on the next boot (by running the auditSystem and auditUser configuration passes).

This image then becomes your reference image that you can save to install on computers of the same configuration.

Build-to-Order Scenario

In this scenario, you create a unique Windows installation based on customer-requested applications or updates. This scenario involves the following steps:

  1. You use a Windows reference image to install a new computer. See the previous scenario for more information.
  2. During Windows Setup, the windowsPE, offlineServicing, and specialize passes run.
  3. After Windows is installed, Audit mode boots. The sysprep /generalize /audit command that was used to create the reference image specifies the /audit option. This option instructs Windows to start in Audit mode the next time the computer starts. In Audit mode, the auditSystem and auditUser configuration passes run.
    In Audit mode, you can install applications and other updates based on a customer's order. You can also test the computer and verify that all components are working properly.
  4. After you update the Windows installation, you run the sysprep /oobe /shutdown command. The next time the computer starts, Windows Welcome runs and the oobeSystem configuration pass runs.

The following diagram shows the processes of the build-to-order scenario.

8adb04d0-7132-443a-973d-20a82c62b35d

Build to Plan Scenario

In this scenario, you create a single Windows reference image to install computers that use the same hardware configuration. This scenario comprises the following steps:

  1. You start with a Windows product DVD and an answer file.
  2. You start the computer with the Windows product DVD.
  3. Windows Setup starts and the windowsPE and offlineServicing passes run.
  4. After the Windows image is copied to the hard disk, the system restarts and Windows Setup runs the specialize pass.
  5. After Windows Setup completes, the oobeSystem configuration pass runs and Windows Welcome starts.
  6. After Windows is installed, run the sysprep /audit command to boot to Audit mode. Audit mode enables you to add applications and device drivers, and to make other customizations. You can also test the computer and verify that all components are working properly.
  7. In Audit mode, the auditSystem and auditUser configuration passes run.
  8. After you update the Windows installation, run the sysprep /oobe /generalize command. The /generalize option removes system-specific data from the Windows installation, including event logs, unique security IDs (SIDs), and other unique information. The generalize configuration pass runs. After the unique system information is removed, the computer shuts down.
    The /oobe option instructs Windows to run Windows Welcome and the oobeSystem configuration pass the next time the computer starts.
  9. After the computer shuts down, you can boot to Windows PE or another operating system on the computer.
  10. You then capture the Windows installation with ImageX.

The following diagram shows the processes of the build-to-plan scenario.

7f035cb6-a422-4a49-834a-261764592c3a
Was this page helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback

Community Additions

ADD
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft