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Walkthrough: Build an Answer File for UEFI-based Computers

Published: October 22, 2009

Updated: July 8, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

noteNote
This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

This walkthrough describes how to build a simple answer file for Itanium-based computers. Because Itanium-based computers are installed to Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) disks, additional partitions are required during installation.

This walkthrough describes how to create a simple answer file that performs a complete unattended installation of Windows®. This example does not import any special drivers, applications, or packages. At the end of this walkthrough, you can run Windows Setup with this answer file to complete an unattended installation.

For more information about disk partition requirements, see Understanding Disk Partitions.

Prerequisites

To complete this walkthrough, you need the following:

  • Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) installed on a technician computer. For more information, see Building a Technician Computer.

  • An authorized copy of the Windows Server® 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems product DVD.

  • Removable media, such as a floppy disk or USB flash drive (UFD).

  • An Itanium-based computer with a UEFI-based hard disk.

Step 1: Create a new answer file

In this step, you create a new, blank answer file. A catalog file (.clg) is a binary file that contains the state of all the settings and packages in a Windows image.

  1. On your technician computer, insert the Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems product DVD into the DVD-ROM drive.

  2. On the desktop of the technician computer, navigate to the \Sources folder on your DVD-ROM drive. Copy the catalog file (.clg) that corresponds to the Windows edition you want to create an answer file for to a location on the computer.

  3. 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.

  4. On the File menu, click Select Windows Image.

  5. In the Select a Windows Image window, in Files of type, click Catalog files (.clg).

  6. In Select a Windows Image, navigate to the location where you saved the catalog file (.clg), and then click Open.

    The Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems component list appears in the Windows Image pane.

  7. On the File menu, click New Answer File.

Step 2: Add Windows settings to the answer file

In this step, you add the settings to your answer file to enable an unattended installation.

  1. In the Windows Image pane of Windows SIM, expand the Components node to display available settings.

    64-bit versions of Windows contain multiple architecture types of the same component. For Itanium-based computers, use the ia64 versions of the components in the Windows image.

  2. On the expanded list of components, add the following components to your answer file by right-clicking the component and then selecting the appropriate configuration pass.

    This action adds the component to your answer file in the specified configuration pass. A configuration pass is a phase of a Windows installation. Different parts of the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system are installed in different configuration passes. You can specify settings to be applied in one or more configuration passes.

     

    Component Configuration Pass

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\CreatePartitions\CreatePartition

    windowsPE

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo

    windowsPE

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup\UserData

    windowsPE

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE

    windowsPE

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\OEMInformation

    specialize

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\AutoLogon

    specialize

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\AdministratorPassword

    oobeSystem

    noteNote
    Expand the component list until you see the lowest setting listed above, and then add that setting to your answer file. This shortcut will add the setting and all parent settings to your answer file in one step.

Step 3: Configure the Windows settings in the answer file

In this step, you configure the Windows settings in the answer file for Itanium-based computers.

  1. In the answer file pane, in the Microsoft-Windows-Setup component, click Disk.

  2. In the Disk node, configure the following settings:

     

    Setting Value

    Microsoft-Windows-Setup/DiskConfiguration/Disk

    DiskID=0

    WillWipeDisk=true

  3. In the Microsoft-Windows-Setup component, right-click CreatePartitions, and then select Insert New CreatePartition. Repeat this step two more times so that there are three CreatePartition entries in your answer file.

  4. In the CreatePartition nodes, configure the following settings:

     

    Setting Value

    Microsoft-Windows-Setup/DiskConfiguration/Disk/CreatePartitions/CreatePartition

    Order=1

    Size=400

    Type=EFI

    Microsoft-Windows-Setup/DiskConfiguration/Disk/CreatePartitions/CreatePartition

    Order=2

    Size=128

    Type=MSR

    Microsoft-Windows-Setup/DiskConfiguration/Disk/CreatePartitions/CreatePartition

    Extend=true

    Order=3

    Type=Primary

    The first CreatePartition setting creates the UEFI System Partition. The second CreatePartion creates the MSR, and the third CreatePartition setting creates the partition for Windows. Because the value for Extend is true, the remainder of the disk is used for the Windows partition.

  5. Select and configure all other settings in the answer file as specified:

     

    Component Value

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE

    InputLocale = <Input Locale>

    SystemLocale = <System Locale>

    UILanguage = <UI Language>

    UserLocale = <User Locale>

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE\SetupUILanguage

    UILanguage = <UI Language>

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage

    WillShowUI = OnError

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo

    DiskID = 0

    PartitionID = 3

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup\UserData

    AcceptEula = true

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup\UserData\ProductKey

    Key = <product key>

    WillShowUI = OnError

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\OEMInformation

    Manufacturer = <company name>

    HelpCustomized = false

    SupportPhone = <support number>

    SupportURL = <support URL>

    SupportHours = <support hours>

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\AutoLogon

    Enabled = true

    LogonCount = 5

    Username = Administrator

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\AutoLogon\Password

    Value = <admin password>

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup

    ComputerName = <computer name>

    ia64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts

    AdministratorPassword = <admin password>

These settings outline a basic unattended installation; no user input is required during Windows Setup. You can perform additional customizations and configurations, install Server Roles, or additional drivers. When complete, OEMs and System Builders are required to run the sysprep command with the /oobe option, which will prompt the end user to read the Microsoft Software License Terms.

For more information about Sysprep.exe, see the Sysprep Technical Reference.

For more information about using product keys in answer files, see Work with Product Keys and Activation.

Step 4: Validate the answer file

In this step, you validate the settings in your answer file and then save them to a file.

  1. In Windows SIM, click Tools, and then click Validate Answer File.

    The setting values in the answer file are compared with the available settings in the Windows image.

    noteNote
    This sample answer file contains a blank administrator password. Blank administrator passwords are potential security risks.

  2. If the answer file validates successfully, a “success” message appears in the Messages pane. Otherwise, error messages appear in the same location.

  3. If an error occurs, double-click the error in the Messages pane to navigate to the incorrect setting. Change the setting to fix the error, and then revalidate.

  4. On the File menu, click Save Answer File, and then save the answer file as Autounattend.xml.

  5. Copy Autounattend.xml to the root of a floppy disk or UFD.

Next Step

You now have a basic answer file that automates Windows Setup for Itanium-based computers. To test your answer file, use the DVD-boot method to install Windows Server 2008 R2 with an answer file. For more information, see Walkthrough: Deploy Windows by Booting from a DVD.

Sample

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    <settings pass="windowsPE">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Setup" processorArchitecture="ia64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <DiskConfiguration>
                <Disk wcm:action="add">
                    <CreatePartitions>
                        <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
                            <Order>1</Order>
                            <Size>400</Size>
                            <Type>EFI</Type>
                        </CreatePartition>
                        <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
                            <Order>2</Order>
                            <Size>128</Size>
                            <Type>MSR</Type>
                        </CreatePartition>
                        <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
                            <Order>3</Order>
                            <Extend>true</Extend>
                            <Type>Primary</Type>
                        </CreatePartition>
                    </CreatePartitions>
                    <DiskID>0</DiskID>
                    <WillWipeDisk>true</WillWipeDisk>
                </Disk>
            </DiskConfiguration>
            <ImageInstall>
                <OSImage>
                    <InstallTo>
                        <DiskID>0</DiskID>
                        <PartitionID>3</PartitionID>
                    </InstallTo>
                    <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI>
                </OSImage>
            </ImageInstall>
            <UserData>
                <ProductKey>
                    <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI>
                    <Key>12345-12345-12345-12345-12345</Key>
                </ProductKey>
                <AcceptEula>true</AcceptEula>
            </UserData>
        </component>
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE" processorArchitecture="ia64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <SetupUILanguage>
                <UILanguage>en-US</UILanguage>
            </SetupUILanguage>
            <InputLocale>en-US</InputLocale>
            <SystemLocale>en-US</SystemLocale>
            <UILanguage>en-US</UILanguage>
            <UserLocale>en-US</UserLocale>
        </component>
    </settings>
    <settings pass="specialize">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="ia64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <OEMInformation>
                <Manufacturer>Fabrikam</Manufacturer>
                <HelpCustomized>false</HelpCustomized>
                <SupportPhone>212-555-7890</SupportPhone>
                <SupportURL>http://www.fabrikam.com</SupportURL>
                <SupportHours>Support Hours</SupportHours>
            </OEMInformation>
            <AutoLogon>
                <Password>
                    <Value>StrongPassword</Value>
                    <PlainText>true</PlainText>
                </Password>
                <Enabled>true</Enabled>
                <LogonCount>5</LogonCount>
                <Username>Administrator</Username>
            </AutoLogon>
            <ComputerName>ComputerName</ComputerName>
        </component>
    </settings>
    <settings pass="oobeSystem">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="ia64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <UserAccounts>
                <AdministratorPassword>
                    <Value>StrongPassword</Value>
                    <PlainText>true</PlainText>
                </AdministratorPassword>
            </UserAccounts>
        </component>
    </settings>
</unattend>

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