Associate Unattend Files

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Windows Deployment Services allows you to automate the Windows Deployment Services client and the latter stages of Windows Setup. This two-stage approach is accomplished by using two unattend files:

  • Windows Deployment Services client unattend file. This file uses the Unattend.xml format, and it is stored on the Windows Deployment Services server in the \WDSClientUnattend folder. It is used to automate the Windows Deployment Services client user interface screens (such as entering credentials, choosing an install image, and configuring the disk).

  • Image unattend file. This file uses the Unattend.xml or Sysprep.inf format (depending upon the version of the operating system in the image). It is stored in a subfolder (either $OEM$ structure or \Unattend) in the per-image folder. It is used to automate the remaining phases of setup (for example, offline servicing, Sysprep specialize, and mini-setup).

To automate the installation, create the appropriate unattend file depending on whether you are configuring the Windows Deployment Services client or Windows Setup. We recommend that you use Windows System Image Manager, (included as part of the Windows AIK) to author the unattend files. Then copy the unattend file to the appropriate location, and assign it for use.

You can assign the unattend file at the server level or the client level. The server level assignment can be divided further by architecture, allowing you to have differing settings for x86-based and x64-based clients. Assignment at the client level overrides the server-level settings.

Note

Windows Deployment Services management tools support setting only install image unattend files for images of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. For images from previous operating systems, you must use your existing Sysprep.inf files and manually create an $OEM$ directory structure.

To configure an unattend installation, use the following procedures:

  • Configuring unattend installation for the Windows Deployment Services client

  • Configuring unattend for Windows Setup

Configuring unattend installation for the Windows Deployment Services client

To associate a client unattend file by architecture using the Windows interface

  1. Create a client unattend file. (See Sample Unattend Files)

  2. Copy the client unattend file to RemoteInstall\WDSClientUnattend.

  3. Open the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, and right-click the server that contains the Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 image that you want to associate the unattend file to, and then click Properties.

  4. On the Client tab, select Enable unattended installation, browse to the appropriate unattend file, and then click Open.

  5. Click OK to close the Properties page.

To associate a client unattend file by architecture using a command line

  1. Create a client unattend file. (See Sample Unattend Files)

  2. Click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

  3. Type the following where <filepath> is the path name and the file name of the client unattend file to associate with the image, and <arch> is the architecture of the client to automate (x86 or x64):

    WDSUTIL /Set-Server /WDSUnattend /Policy:enabled /File:<filepath> /Architecture:<arch>
    

Note

Help for WDSUTIL is available by typing WDSUTIL /? at a command prompt.

To associate a client unattend file per computer using a command line

  1. Create a client unattend file. (See Sample Unattend Files)

  2. Click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

  3. Type the following where <relative path>is the path from the REMINST share to the folder that contains the client unattend file:

    WDSUTIL /Set-Device /Device:<computername> /ID:<GUID or MAC address> /WDSClientUnattend:<relative path>
    

Configuring unattend for Windows Setup

To associate an image unattend file to an image by using the Windows interface

  1. Create an image unattend file. (See Sample Unattend Files)

  2. From the Windows Deployment Services MMC snap-in, click to expand the image group that contains the Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 image.

  3. Right-click the image that you want to associate the unattend file to, and click Properties.

  4. On the General tab, click Allow image to install in unattend mode.

  5. Click Select File, browse to select the unattend file, and then click OK twice.

To associate an image unattend file to an image using a command line

  1. Create an image unattend file. (See Sample Unattend Files)

  2. Click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

  3. Type the following, where <imagename> is the name of the image with which to associate the unattend file, <imagegroupname> is the name of the image group containing the image file, and <unattendfile> is the path and file name of the unattend file to associate with the image.

    WDSUTIL /Set-Image /Image:<imagename> /ImageType:install /ImageGroup:<imagegroupname> /UnattendFile:<unattendfile> 
    

Additional references