How to Create an Answer File for Running Unattended Exchange Setup


After you have installed your first Exchange 2003 server, you may be able to install subsequent Exchange servers in unattended mode. An unattended setup of an Exchange 2003 server proceeds and completes without any prompts or dialog boxes. Furthermore, an unattended setup creates an answer file that stores information about a sample configuration. The file can then be used to set up Exchange 2003 on multiple servers. An answer file contains the deployment parameters and sample configurations so that you can specify what type of installation you want to perform. These configurations are normally set when you perform a manual Exchange 2003 installation on one of your servers.

Before You Begin

You can run unattended setup for the following procedures:

  • Installing the second to nth Exchange 2003 server in your organization.

  • Installing Exchange 2003 System Management Tools.

  • Running DomainPrep.

You cannot run unattended setup for the following procedures:

  • Installing the first Exchange Server 2003 server in your organization.

  • Installing Exchange Server 2003 in a Windows server cluster.

  • Installing Exchange Server 2003 in a mixed-mode environment (for example, Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2003).


    You can run unattended setup for service packs in mixed mode.

  • Performing any maintenance tasks (for example, adding or removing programs, re-installing Exchange, or upgrading from Exchange 2000).


To create an answer file for running unattended setup

  1. On a server that meets the prerequisites for an Exchange Server 2003 installation, insert the Exchange CD into your CD-ROM drive.

  2. From a command prompt, type E:\setup\i386\setup /createunattend D:\myanswerfile.ini, where E is your CD-ROM drive, D is your system drive, and myanswerfile.ini represents the answer file you want to use for your subsequent installations.


    The Exchange 2003 Setup.exe command-line parameters are not validated at the command line. Any misspelling of the setup.exe /createunattend switch results in the launch of a manual setup. You cannot verify if you are running a manual setup or a setup in unattended mode until you click Next on the Summary page. At this point, in a manual setup, Exchange 2003 installation begins and cannot be cancelled. Therefore, ensure that command-line switches are spelled correctly before attempting to create and use an answer file for an unattended installation of Exchange 2003.

  3. On the Welcome to the Microsoft Exchange Installation Wizard page, click Next.

  4. On the License Agreement page, read the agreement. If you agree to the terms, click I agree, and then click Next.

  5. On the Product Identification page, type your 25-digit product key, and then click Next.

  6. On the Component Selection page, in the Action column, use the drop-down arrows to specify the appropriate action for each component, and then click Next.


    You can create an answer file for installing an Exchange 2003 server, for installing Exchange 2003 System Management Tools only, and for running DomainPrep.

  7. On the Installation Summary page, confirm that your Exchange installation choices are correct, and then click Next.

  8. On the Completing the Microsoft Exchange Wizard page, click Finish.

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