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Windows Imaging




Creating an Answer File for Windows Unattended Setup

Computer Imaging is an important part of Life Cycle Management. Creating and deploying Windows images requires running the System Preparation (Sysprep) tool. Sysprep removes system-specific data from Windows ensuring a successful restoration of the image, and creates a "generalized" Windows installation that will then be ready for configuration at next bootup. This article is a step-by-step guide on creating an answer file for Sysprep to completely automate the Windows 7 setup.


  1. Installing the Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows
  2. Creating a Sysprep unattended answer
  3. Windows 10 & Windows 7 Sysprep - Automated Install Settings#chkdsk
  4. Windows 10 & Windows 7 Sysprep - Automated Install Settings#sysprep


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installWinAutoIntallKit
installWinAutoIntallKit
Installing the Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows Screen shots of win 7


First we'll need to install the Windows Automated Installation Kit on your technician machine (Or skip to the next step if you will be using the website to create you unattended file):

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titleClick here to expand WAIK steps...


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createUnattendedFile
createUnattendedFile
Creating a Sysprep unattended answer file



At this point you can either

  • Use a 3rd party creation tool
  • Manually create the answer file
  • Skip this and have no answer file or an empty answer file (not recommended)


Tip
title3rd Party tool

Some have reported skipping creating a file manually and using no-ip.org tools:

Doing so will let you skip to Step 3: Check Disk


Expand
titleClick here to expand "Manual Answer File Creation..."


Now we will Launch Windows System Image Manager and begin creating our answer file. 
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Insert your Windows 7 DVD into your machine. In Windows System Image Manager, right click on “Select a Windows image or catalog file” under Windows Image and click “Select Windows image” . Navigate to the Source directory in the Windows 7 DVD, and highlight “install.wim” and click open.
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Right click on “Create or open an answer file” under Answer File and click “New Answer File…”

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First we will configure the language settings to disable this screen: Image Modified

In the Windows Image pane, select the component x86_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core_6.1.7601.17514_neutral, right-click and choose Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem.

Tip
More info from Microsoft: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766400%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

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Using the Answer File Properties and Settings panes and configure the following settings: 

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languagebash
InputLocale = en-US

...

 
SystemLocale = en-US

...

 
UILanguage = en-US

...

 
UserLocale = en-US 


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Next we will configure a local account and the computer name to disable these screens during setup:

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In the Windows Image pane, select the component x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_6.1.7601.17514_neutral, right-click on UserAccounts/LocalAccounts/LocalAccount and choose Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem.

Tip
More info from Microsoft: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766279%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

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Using the Answer File Properties and Settings panes, configure the following settings:

  • Description
  • DisplayName
  • Group
  • Name
  • Password


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In the Windows Image pane, select the component x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_6.1.7601.17514_neutral, right-click and choose Add Setting to Pass 4 specialize.

Tip
More info from Microsoft: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766375%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

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Using the Answer File Properties and Settings panes, configure the following settings: 


waik15Image Modified Now we will configure settings to bypass the EULA, Protect Computer dialog, and Computer location dialogs screens:

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In the Windows Image pane, select the component x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_6.1.7601.17514_neutral, right-click on OOBE and choose Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem.

Tip
More info from Microsoft: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766165%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

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Using the Answer File Properties and Settings panes, configure the following settings:

...

  • HideEULAPage
  • HideWirelessSetupInOOBE (If applicable)
  • NetworkLocation
  • ProtectYourPC
Tip

...

for Values see: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749278%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

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All done! Save your answer file and you are ready to Sysprep your master image.

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Info

It is recommended that you save this file. You can use it later for other images that need prepared


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chkdsk
chkdsk
Check Disk


Please make sure that before you Sysprep your Image, that you

...

check the disk. A reboot will be required.

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languagebash
chkdsk /R 
shutdown -r -t 0

...

...


Use a administrator command prompt to run the commands and reboot

...


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sysprep
sysprep
System Prepare with Sysprep


Once  chkdsk  has completed and the machine is back in Windows, run a command prompt as administrator and type the following command to Sysprep your machine: 

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languagebash
C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:PATH TO SYSPREP ANSWER FILE XML

...


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Sysyprep will prepare the machine to be copied and shutdown.

You are now ready to upload your Master Image to the FileWave Imaging Appliance.

Tip

To continue this workflow and capture this as a Master Image see... Windows Network Imaging - PXE