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Changed Answer File Settings from Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Updated: August 1, 2012

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2

This topic describes Windows® 8 and Windows Server® 2012 answer-file settings that have changed since Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

These settings are new in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012:


New setting Description


Specifies whether Windows waits for Windows Store apps registration to complete before showing the Windows Start screen.

(Windows Server 2012 only)


Specifies settings to describe an online backup service in the Windows Server Backup menus.


Specifies settings for encrypted hard disk drives.


Specifies Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) information to customize the Help and Support page.


Optimizes BitLocker for PCs with hardware architectures such as System on a Chip (SoC).


Specifies whether Windows activates encryption on blank drives that are capable of hardware-based encryption.


Specifies the name of the OEM for the group or groups of app tiles that you pin to the Start screen.


Hides the Administrator password screen.

This setting applies only to the Windows Server® editions.


Hides the OEM registration page.


Specifies whether the user will be required to sign-in during OOBE.


Enables the OEM to specify app information.


Specifies the position of up to 24 app tiles on the Start screen, and one app badge on the Lock screen.

This component and all of its associated settings are new.

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\TaskbarLinks: Link3, Link4, and Link5

Specifies shortcuts to display on the taskbar. Up to six shortcuts to programs can now be specified.


Specifies the system default Windows background color scheme appearing on first boot, and on LogonUI if no user is selected.


Specifies the OEM brand for the Windows Store.


Specifies the number of minutes that Windows waits before it times out when it tries to join the computer to a domain.


Specifies a unique identifier that signals that the files that are installed on the computer have already been scanned and don't require additional scans by Windows Defender.

These settings in the Microsoft-Windows-IE-InternetExplorer component are new in Windows Internet Explorer 9:


New Internet Explorer setting Description


Specifies whether a search provider can skip the results page and instead return the top search result that the search engine returns.


Specifies the URL of the webpage that shows the TopResult search results.

For information about how to deploy Windows 7 together with Internet Explorer 9 settings, see Internet Explorer 9 Preinstallation Techniques.

These Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 settings have changed from Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2:


Changed setting Description of setting Description of change

Microsoft-Windows-IE-InternetExplorer: CommandLabelDisplay, FavoritesOnTop, LockToolbars, ShowCompatibilityViewButton, ShowLeftAddressToolbar, SmallCommandBarIcons, SuggestedSitesEnabled, and Window_Title_CN.

Multiple settings

Applies to Internet Explorer for the desktop only.


Specifies whether to reset the Windows licensing state when you generalize a computer.

For most deployment scenarios, this setting is no longer needed. In Windows 8, the Windows licensing state can be reset repeatedly.

In Windows 7 and Windows Vista®, this setting is typically used to preserve the state of the Windows activation clock, which can be reset only 3 times. For more information, see Work with Product Keys and Activation.


Contains display settings for a video adapter during the Windows installation process.

For most deployment scenarios, this setting is no longer needed.

By default, on BIOS-based computers, Windows PE uses a display resolution of 1024 x 768 (or the maximum available size for smaller monitors).

On UEFI-based computers, Windows PE typically ignores this setting and uses display values from the firmware.


Specifies what size to show text and other items on the desktop.

This does not affect the Start screen or Windows Store apps.


Specifies whether the OEM customizes Help.

This setting is now used with Microsoft-Windows-HelpAndSupport\HelpAndSupport to customize the Help and Support page.


Specifies the computer name used to access the computer from the network.

The computer name is no longer appended with a string ("-PC").


Specifies the color of window borders and taskbar on the desktop.

The new predefined color values are: Automatic, and Color 1 through Color 15. The default value is Automatic.

The following Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 settings are not supported in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, and may be removed in a future release. The following table includes status of the setting, and recommendations for new settings to use when applicable:


Deprecated setting from Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Status or recommendation for Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012


It is no longer necessary to enter this product key.


There is no Welcome page in Internet Explorer 10 through Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8.

Microsoft-Windows-IE-InternetExplorer: EnableLinksBar, ShowCommandBar, ShowMenuBar, and ShowStatusBar.

Users can still make these bars appear in Internet Explorer for the desktop.


Internet Explorer 9 through Internet Explorer 11 do not include an IEAK-based sign-up process.


This setting is not supported.


By default, the Initial Configurations Tasks application doesn't appear. Use Microsoft-Windows-ServerManager-SvrMgrNc instead.


For information about the Windows Anytime Upgrade program, see Windows Anytime Upgrade.


For information about setting the default file associations, see Default Application Association Servicing Command-Line Options.


In Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, we do not recommend using deskbands to the desktop taskbar.

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup: OEMWelcomeCenter and OEMWelcomeCenterLinks

The OEM First Run application is not available.


Get Windows Live Essentials doesn't appear on the Start menu.


The Start menu list of most frequently used programs is not available.


Gadgets are not available.

Microsoft-Windows-TabletPC-Platform-Input-Core: TouchUI and TouchUISize

The touch pointer is not available.

We recommend these replacements for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 settings that have been removed from Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012:


Removed setting from Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Recommendation for Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012


To skip the First Run wizard and the welcome page when Internet Explorer starts for the first time, use the DisableFirstRunWizard and DisableWelcomePage settings.


Replace with Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP\SkipRearm.

It's no longer necessary to use this setting to manage the Windows activation clock, because new activation tools have replaced the activation clock. For more information, see Work with Product Keys and Activation.

You can still use this setting to prevent activation, for example, while configuring volume licenses.


For information about the Windows Anytime Upgrade program, see Windows Anytime Upgrade.


For information about the Windows Anytime Upgrade program, see Windows Anytime Upgrade.


For information about how to upgrade to a higher edition of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, see the "Change the Windows Image to a Higher Edition" topic in the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) Technical Reference.


Use Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP-UX\SkipAutoActivation.


The classic Windows XP Start panel is unavailable.


This component is used in Windows Server 2012, but is not available in Windows 8.

See Also

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