Choosing Winnt32.exe Parameters

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

You can start Setup by using the Winnt32.exe command line tool from Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, and the Windows Server 2003 family. You cannot run Winnt32.exe on an Itanium-based computer from the extensible firmware interface (EFI), and no Winnt32.efi is available.

Winnt32.exe has the following syntax:

winnt32 [/checkupgradeonly] [/cmd:command_line] [/cmdcons] [/copydir:{i386|ia64}\folder_name] [/copysource:folder_name] [/debug[level]:[filename]] [/dudisable] [/duprepare:pathname] [/dushare:pathname] [/emsport:{com1|com2|usebiossettings|off}] [/emsbaudrate:baudrate] [/m:folder_name] [/makelocalsource] [/noreboot] [/s:sourcepath] [/syspart:drive_letter:] [/tempdrive:drive_letter:] [/udf:id [,UDB_file]] [/unattend[num]:[answer_file]]

Use the following parameter descriptions to determine which parameters to use for your unattended installation. For a worksheet to assist you in recording these parameters, see "Unattended Installation Worksheet" (ACIUI_1.doc) on the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit companion CD (or see "Unattended Installation Worksheet" on the Web at


Checks your computer for upgrade and installation compatibility with Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003.

If you use this option with /unattend, no user input is required. Otherwise, the results are displayed, and you can save them with a specified file name. The default file name is Upgrade.txt in the systemroot folder.


Instructs Setup to execute a specific command before beginning the final stage of the setup process. This occurs after your computer has restarted and after the Setup program has collected the necessary configuration information, but before the setup process finishes.


Installs the Recovery Console as a startup option on a functioning x86-based computer. The Recovery Console is a command-line interface from which you can perform tasks such as starting and stopping services and accessing the local drive (including drives formatted with NTFS). You can use the Recovery Console only after Setup finishes.


Creates one or more folders in the folder where the Windows files are installed.


Creates one or more temporary folders in the folder where the Windows files are installed.


Creates a debug log at the level specified, for example, /debug4:Debug.log. The default log file is %SYSTEMROOT%\Winnt32.log, and the default debug level is 2. The log levels are: 0, representing severe errors; 1, representing errors; 2, representing warnings; 3 representing information; and 4, representing detailed information for debugging. Each level includes the levels under it.


Prevents Dynamic Update from running. Without Dynamic Update, Setup runs only with the original Setup files. This option disables Dynamic Update even if you set DUDisable equal to No in the [Unattended] section of your answer file.


Prepares a distribution share so that it can be used with Dynamic Update files downloaded from the Windows Update Web site. This distribution share can then be used for installing Windows for multiple clients.


Specifies a distribution share on which you previously downloaded Dynamic Update files (updated files for use with Setup) from the Windows Update Web site, and on which you previously ran **/duprepare:**pathname. When run on a client, specifies that the client installation uses the updated files on the distribution share specified in pathname.


Enables or disables Emergency Management Services during setup and after a member of the Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems has been installed. With Emergency Management Services, you can remotely manage a server in emergency situations that normally require a local keyboard, mouse, and monitor, such as when the network is unavailable or the server does not function properly. Emergency Management Services has specific hardware requirements, and is available only for products in the Windows Server 2003 family. For more information about Emergency Management Services, see "Planning for Remote Server Management" in Planning Server Deployments of this kit.


For x86-based computers, this parameter specifies the baud rate for Emergency Management Services. (The option is not applicable for Itanium-based computers.) Must be used with /emsport:com1 or /emsport:com2 or else /emsbaudrate is ignored.


Specifies that Setup copies replacement files from an alternative location. Instructs Setup to look in the alternative location first, and, if files are present, to use them instead of the files from the default location.


Instructs Setup to copy all installation source files to your local hard disk. Use /makelocalsource when installing from a CD to provide installation files when the CD is not available later in the installation.


Instructs Setup not to restart the computer after the file-copy stage of Setup finishes, so that you can execute another command.


Specifies the location of the Windows files. To simultaneously copy files from multiple servers, type the **/s:**sourcepath option multiple times (up to a maximum of eight).


On an x86-based computer, this parameter specifies that you can copy Setup startup files to a hard disk, mark the disk as active, and then install the disk onto another computer. When you start the computer onto which you have installed the disk, it automatically starts with the next phase of Setup. You must always use the /tempdrive parameter with the /syspart parameter.

You can start Winnt32.exe with the /syspart option on an x86-based computer running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, or Windows XP Professional. The computer cannot be running Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Millennium Edition.


Directs Setup to place temporary files on the specified partition. For a new installation, Windows is installed on the specified partition. For an upgrade, the /tempdrive option affects the placement of temporary files only; the operating system is upgraded in the partition from which you run Winnt32.exe.


Indicates an identifier (id) that Setup uses to specify how a uniqueness database file (.udf) modifies an answer file (see the /unattend option).

If you start from the Windows Server 2003 operating system CD and run an unattended setup, you cannot use the /udf command-line option for Winnt32.exe.


Upgrades your previous version of Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, or Windows 2000 in unattended mode (without user input). Setup downloads the Dynamic Update files from Windows Update and includes these files in the installation. All user settings are taken from the previous installation, so no user intervention is required during setup.


Performs a fresh installation of Windows in unattended mode using the specified answer file. Setup downloads the Dynamic Update files from the Windows Update Web site and includes these files in the installation. The specified answer_file provides Setup with your custom specifications.

For more information about Winnt32.exe parameters, see "Winnt32.exe Command Line Options" in the Microsoft Windows Corporate Deployment Tools User’s Guide (Deploy.chm). Deploy.chm is included in the file in the Support folder on the Windows Server 2003 operating system CD.