Walkthrough: Build a Simple Answer File

This walkthrough describes how to build a simple answer file. A simple answer file includes basic Windows Setup configuration and minimum Windows Welcome customizations. This example does not import any special drivers, applications, or packages. At the end of this walkthrough, you can run Windows Setup with this answer file to create an unattended installation.

Prerequisites

To complete this walkthrough, you need the following:

  • Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) installed on a technician computer. For more information, see Building a Technician Computer.
  • An authorized copy of the Windows Vista product DVD.
  • Removable media, such as a floppy disk or a USB flash drive (UFD).

Step 1: Create a new answer file

In this step, you build a catalog and a new blank answer file. A catalog file (.clg) is a binary file that contains the state of all the settings and the packages in a Windows image.

  1. On your technician computer, insert the Windows Vista product DVD into the local DVD-ROM drive.
  2. On the desktop of the technician computer, navigate to the \Sources directory on your DVD-ROM drive. Copy the Install.wim file from the Windows product DVD to a location on the computer.
  3. Open Windows SIM. On the desktop of the computer, click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Windows OPK (or Windows AIK), and then click Windows System Image Manager.
  4. On the File menu, click Select Windows Image.
  5. In the Select a Windows Image dialog box, navigate to the location where you saved the Install.wim file, and then click Open.

Note

A warning will appear that a .clg file does not exist. Click OK to create a .clg file. If there is more than one Windows image in the .wim file, you are prompted to select the Windows image to open.

  1. On the File menu, click New Answer File.

Step 2: Add and configure Windows settings

In this step, you define basic disk configuration and Windows Welcome settings.

  1. In the Windows Image pane of Windows SIM, expand the Components node to display available settings.

  2. On the expanded list of components, add the following components to your answer file by right-clicking the component and then by selecting the appropriate configuration pass. This action will add the component to your answer file in the specified configuration pass. A configuration pass is a phase of Windows installation. Different parts of the Windows Vista operating system are installed in different configuration passes. You can specify settings to be applied in one or more configuration passes.

Component Configuration Pass

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\CreatePartitions\ CreatePartition

windowsPE

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\ModifyPartitions\ ModifyPartition

windowsPE

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo

windowsPE

Microsoft-Windows-Setup \UserData

windowsPE

Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE

windowsPE

Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE\SetupUILanguage

windowsPE

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup \OEMInformation

specialize

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup \OOBE

oobeSystem

Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\Reseal

oobeSystem

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\Autologon

auditSystem

Note

Expand the component list until you see the lowest setting listed above, and then add that setting to your answer file. This shortcut will add the setting and all parent settings to your answer file in one step.

  1. All the settings you added must appear in the Answer File pane. Select and configure each setting as specified below.
Component Value

Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE

InputLocale = <Input Locale>

SystemLocale = <System Locale>

UILanguage = <UI Language>

UserLocale = <User Locale>

Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE\SetupUILanguage

UILanguage = <UI Language>

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration

WillShowUI = OnError

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk

DiskID = 0

WillWipeDisk = true

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\CreatePartitions\CreatePartition

Extend = false

Order = 1

Size = 15000 (Note: you can adjust Size accordingly; this example uses 15 gigabytes.

Type = Primary

Microsoft-Windows-Setup \DiskConfiguration\Disk\ModifyPartitions\ModifyPartition

Active = true

Extend = false

Format = NTFS

Label = OS_Install

Letter = C

Order = 1

PartitionID = 1

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\

WillShowUI = OnError

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo

DiskID = 0

PartitionID = 1

Microsoft-Windows-Setup \UserData

AcceptEula = true

Microsoft-Windows-Setup \UserData\ProductKey

Key = <product key>

WillShowUI = OnError

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup \OEMInformation

Manufacturer = <company name>

HelpCustomized = false

SupportPhone = <support number>

SupportURL = <support URL>

SupportHours = <support hours>

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\OOBE

ProtectYourPC = 1

NetworkLocation = Work

Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\Reseal

ForceShutdownNow = false

Mode = Audit

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\AutoLogon

Enabled = true

LogonCount = 5

Username = Administrator

Important

These settings outline a basic unattended installation; no user input is required during Windows Setup. When the installation is complete, the computer will reboot to audit mode. Windows Welcome does not run in Audit mode. For more information about audit mode, see Customize Windows in Audit Mode. In Audit mode, you can perform additional customizations and configurations. When complete, OEMs and system builders are required to run the sysprep /oobe command to enable Windows Welcome the next time the computer restarts. Windows Welcome prompts the end user to read the Microsoft Software License Terms and to configure the computer. For a complete summary of requirements, see the topics in the OEM Customization Guidelines. For information about Sysprep.exe, see Sysprep Technical Reference.

Step 3: Validate the answer file

In this step, you validate the settings in your answer file and then save them to a file.

  1. In Windows SIM, click Tools, and then click Validate Answer File.
    The setting values in the answer file are compared with the available settings in the Windows image.

Note

This sample answer file contains a blank administrator password. Blank administrator passwords are potential security risks.

  1. If the answer file validates successfully, a “success” message appears in the Messages pane. Otherwise, error messages appear in the same location.
  2. If an error occurs, double-click the error in the Messages pane to navigate to the incorrect setting. Change the setting to fix the error, and then revalidate.
  3. On the File menu, click Save Answer File. Save the answer file as Autounattend.xml.
  4. Copy Autounattend.xml to the root of a floppy disk or UFD.

Next Step

You now have a basic answer file that automates Windows Setup. To test your answer file, use the DVD-boot method to install Windows Vista with an answer file. For more information, see Walkthrough: Deploy Windows by Booting from a DVD. Once you have successfully installed the operating system, return to this section to learn more ways to customize your installation.

Sample

A sample of this answer file is available in the /Samples directory (C:\Program Files\Windows OPK\Samples).

See Also

Concepts

Customization Walkthroughs