Tom-9114 avatar image
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Tom-9114 asked Tom-9114 edited

How To Auto-Setup Windows 10 on New PCs with Win 10 Pro Preinstalled?

At my I.T. job we regularly get new computers to burn-in. The computers come with Windows 10 Pro preinstalled and it is my job to go through the Windows 10 Pro setup that shows up when first starting up the computer.

This guide exists:

And there is an autounattend.xml file creator here:

However, the one bit that confuses me is in the instructions (from the first link above) it states:

"You can automate Windows installation by using an answer file:
1. Use a USB flash drive
2. Use an existing answer file or create your own with Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM).
3. Save the file as Autounattend.xml on the root of a USB flash drive.
4. On a new PC, insert a Windows installation USB flash drive, as well as the flash drive that contains Autounattend.xml and then boot the PC. When no other answer file is selected, Windows Setup searches for this file.

Please pay attention to #4: "insert a Windows installation USB flash drive".. I'm confused if this means these instructions can only be used on computers that do not have Windows 10 installed yet. So, can I follow this guide for my situation or do I need to figure out another way? If another way, could you please link me to a guide?

Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Edit: Please note I did try to plug in a USB drive to a laptop I had to setup Windows for. I just put the autounattend.xml file on the USB drive and plugged it in when it showed the Windows setup screen (without the Windows install ISO because it had already been installed). This did not work.

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1 Answer

Dgorter avatar image
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Dgorter answered Tom-9114 edited

The unattended file is used during the setup process, not after setup is completed.
You may want to look into using Autopilot


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Hi Darrell,

Thanks for your response. I must've missed it so apologies for the late reply.

I think you misunderstood. When computers come to me Windows is installed but not setup. Each computer asks me what language I want to use, whether I want to setup a second keyboard language, whether I want to create a Microsoft account or a local user account, whether I want location services on, targeted ads, etc.

This is the portion I'm trying to automate and from my understanding that is what the Unattended file is used for. I'm just wondering whether I can make it work for my scenario (of computers that have Windows installed by the manufacturers but not setup yet).

I will note Autopilot is interesting and I appreciate you linking me it. However, I am still interested in the Unattended file method.


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