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Win XP Pro: Customizing the "Windows Welcome" for deployments

Posted on 2002-06-06
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I'm working on building a windows Xp image for my company.  We're using the sysprep tool to make things easier.  The Windows Welcome (I believe that's the name for the tool) comes up and has you key in your computer name, password, etc... I need to change the behavior of that tool, if possible.

Basically, there's three key elements that are a problem here.

1) It asks for the license key.  We're using a site key, not a key based on individual PC's.  We were told by our license folks that this CD didn't require a key, but it does.  They are at a loss, and I'm not holding my breath.  We need a way to specify the key ahead of time, and if possible, just skip that input all together.

2) It asks if you want to log on to a domain.  I don't want it to ask, I want it to default to yes, with our domain name configured in.  If we could make it not even ask for the domain, that'd be perfect.  Failing that, I would at least like to change the "Domain" name to our proper domain, and not "Domain."

3) It asks the user to specify a user name (or two, or ten) that will be using this computer.  Since we use a domain here, this box is extraneous and only will cause problems.  We need to skip this part.

4) It asks you if you want to register.  We don't.  This is XP Pro Corporate.  I completely fail to see why it would ask a corporate install to register.  I assume this is because the Welcome tool isn't version specific.  Is there a way to skip this?

Basically, in summary, my question to you all is....... can you modify the windows welcome tool?  :)

Thanks.

If this turns out to be four seperate questions, I can break them off into individual question's if need be.
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Question by:EDStech
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by:dew_associates
ID: 7060027
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by:EDStech
ID: 7060090
Actually, I just clarified with them, we have the volume license edition, which does need the site license key.  They had gotten the wrong info somewhere, and had passed this wrong info on to me.  So it is the coporate version, but it's the corporate volume license version.  :)

I'll check the links once I return from lunch, thank you.
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by:EDStech
ID: 7060348
After reviewing all the kb articles, I still am not much closer to an answer than I was previously.

The XP unattended.txt format differs from the NT/2K formats that I'm able to find on MS's website.  I can find no good articles referring to the XP format.  Specifically, there's several tags mentioned by the sysprep article that claims to be supported by the XP unattended.txt that are NOT listed at all in any of the NT/2K articles.  

Also, none of those articles address the modification of the Windows Welcome program, only potential ways to get around using it all together.  We do want to use it, if possible...

Please keep the info coming.

Thanks.
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by:dew_associates
ID: 7060397
Okay, then let's deal with the issues as you have presented them:

1) It asks for the license key.  We're using a site key, not a key based on individual PC's.  We were told by our license folks that this CD didn't require a key, but it does.  They are at a loss, and I'm not holding my breath.  We need a way to specify the key ahead of time, and if possible, just skip that input all together.

>>There are several questions here. First, have you cleared up the problem with the vendor, and if so, what was the result? Have they issued a master CD key that will work with the software provided?

>>Next, would be how you plan to deploy XP. Is this a situation where you're doing one box at a time with the original media, or are you installing from an administrative share, image or are you using the Windows Installer (MSI) package to handle this?

Note: The MSI package can handle the username, companyname, CDKey issues!

2) It asks if you want to log on to a domain.  I don't want it to ask, I want it to default to yes, with our domain name configured in.  If we could make it not even ask for the domain, that'd be perfect.

Failing that, I would at least like to change the "Domain" name to our proper domain, and not "Domain."

>>If you read the articles provided, you have already noted how to accomplish this, which means that you will be not only including the proper domain name, but the network IP and subnet info.

3) It asks the user to specify a user name (or two, or ten) that will be using this computer.  Since
we use a domain here, this box is extraneous and only will cause problems.  We need to skip this part.

>>You can't merely skip this, although you can create default users. See #1 above.

4) It asks you if you want to register.  We don't.  This is XP Pro Corporate.  I completely fail to
see why it would ask a corporate install to register.  I assume this is because the Welcome tool isn't
version specific.  Is there a way to skip this?

>>No, you cannot skip this, as the software "MUST BE" registered to the hardware, however this is accomplished easily as outlined in the articles I noted earlier.

Basically, in summary, my question to you all is....... can you modify the windows welcome tool?  :)

As you see, the welcome tools becomes moot when you use the scripts as outlined in the articles. Of course, you may have to do a little in depth reading, and may even have to do some reading between the lines, but the info is all there.

Also, you may want to call the provider and request a copy of the OEM installation kit, which would make life easier.
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by:EDStech
ID: 7060490
">>There are several questions here. First, have you cleared up the problem with the vendor, and if so,
what was the result? Have they issued a master CD key that will work with the software provided?"

Yeah, there was no vendor problem, the problem was our licensing guys being confused as to what they had.  We were told this was the corporate (no key) version.  They were mistaken.  It's the volume license version, and we have the master key.  Everything is all happy and resolved now.  (Oh the joys of corporate bureaucracy and inter-departmental communication.)

">>Next, would be how you plan to deploy XP. Is this a situation where you're doing one box at a time
with the original media, or are you installing from an administrative share, image or are you using
the Windows Installer (MSI) package to handle this?"

We're using an image, if at all possible.  We have a lot of software we need installed on each desktop (office, notes, etc) so an image has always been the best method in the past.

">>If you read the articles provided, you have already noted how to accomplish this, which means that
you will be not only including the proper domain name, but the network IP and subnet info."

Depending on how sysprep handles the 'JoinDomain' tag, this may work fine.  However, specifying the account and password to use with the 'CreateComputerAccount' tag is not an option (Security policy) so Windows Welcome will still need to prompt the user for a valid username and password.. which, hopefully, it may do.

">>You can't merely skip this, although you can create default users. See #1 above."

We don't want the users logging onto the machine locally, so creating local accounts for them is simply paving the way for them to do something we dislike.  Granted, there's no valid/easy way to lock them out completely, but the harder we can make it, the better.  (Locking them out entirely has been tried, I'm sure you can see why this is such a bad idea, we found out the hard way.. heh.)

"No, you cannot skip this, as the software "MUST BE" registered to the hardware, however this is accomplished
easily as outlined in the articles I noted earlier."

I think you're misunderstanding this part... It's not the hardware registration/activation (Corporate versions don't require this, of course) but rather the license registration with Microsoft.  As a volume license holder, we're not registering the individual machines with Microsoft.  Many of these machines won't even have external internet access right off the bat.

"As you see, the welcome tools becomes moot when you use the scripts as outlined in the articles. Of
course, you may have to do a little in depth reading, and may even have to do some reading between the
lines, but the info is all there."

So the short answer is that Windows Welcome can't do what I need done, which is basically user-defined customization of the Welcome "process" itself.

"Also, you may want to call the provider and request a copy of the OEM installation kit, which would
make life easier."

I have the OPK, but it isn't designed for use with image installs.  Sysprep is, and Sysprep so far seems to be just fine, it's Windows Welcome component I'm seeking to change.  I'll add the default items into the unattended script and just make do without, but the Welcome had some nifty aspects we rather were looking forward to using.

Thank you.
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dew_associates earned 100 total points
ID: 7061052
Okay, let's go through what's left then.

>>"We're using an image, if at all possible."

There's two forms of imaging, one utilizing a true image as in one created with Powerquests Drive Image or Power Deploy, or Ghost, and another by creating the install scripts created with sysprep and accompanying tools. Which are you referring to?

Actually, the best all around method is to use an administrative share on a server if you have a large rollout to do.

BTW, here are some other articles you may find informative.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/itsolutions/howto/winxphow.asp

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/techinfo/deployment/implementing/default.asp

http://www.microsoft.com/WindowsXP/pro/techinfo/deployment/activation/default.asp

>>"However, specifying the account and password to use with the 'CreateComputerAccount' tag is not an option (Security policy) so Windows Welcome will still need to prompt the user for a valid username and password.. which, hopefully, it may do."

As long as you do not specify a username entry, then the user will be asked for this during the first logon. Bear in mind though that your policies will need to be up and running on the servers before a login is attempted on the network.

>>So the short answer is that Windows Welcome can't do what I need done, which is basically user-defined
customization of the Welcome "process" itself.

If I understand this statement correctly, you can't have it both ways in the rollout. You can't omit user-specific entries for the image and then create and use user-specific entries. Internet access, as an example, isn't necessary for the hardware registration portion of the installation. You can read more about this in the above articles.

>>"Sysprep so far seems to be just fine, it's Windows Welcome component I'm seeking to change."

Here, check these items out.

http://search.microsoft.com/default.asp?qu=%22windows+welcome%22&boolean=ALL&nq=NEW&so=RECCNT&p=1&ig=01&ig=02&ig=03&ig=04&i=00&i=01&i=02&i=03&i=04&i=05&i=06&i=07&i=08&i=09&i=10&i=11&i=12&i=13&i=14&i=15&i=16&i=17&i=18&i=19&i=20&i=21&i=22&i=23&i=24&i=25&i=26&i=27&i=28&i=29&i=30&i=31&i=32&i=33&i=34&i=35&i=36&i=37&i=38&i=39&siteid=us/itresources
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by:dew_associates
ID: 7062533
Ed, here's another thought for you.

You may want to look at the Windows XP Setup Manager, which is located on the Windows XP CD-ROM in D:.CAB by default: Extract the contents of this file and you'll find a number of useful tools and help files; the one we're interested in is named setupmgr.exe. This is a very simple wizard application that will walk you through the process of creating an answer file called winnt.sif that can be used to guide Windows XP Setup through the unattended installation.

There's one thing that Setup Manager doesn't add: Your product key. However, you can add this to the unattend.txt file manually. Simply open the file in Notepad and add the following line under the [UserData] section:

ProductID=xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx

Then, just copy winnt.sif to a floppy, put your Windows XP CD-ROM in the CD drive, and reboot: When the CD auto-boots, it will look for the unattend.txt file in A: automatically, and use it to answer the Setup questions if it's there.
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by:EDStech
ID: 7071463
I'm sorry for taking so long to get back to this Q, I could have sworn I accepted the answer at the same time I accepted my other one.. oops.

Using the Windows Welcome wasn't working, but Mini Setup works like a charm.  As I understand from the MS docs here, Windows Welcome is not effected at all by sysprep.inf but the mini setup is.  Using the sysprep.inf and mini setup, I can customize mini setup to ignore the parts I don't want the user seeing and offer default values for those that I do.  Works like a charm.

I begin to fear that my ordeal isn't over, however, as someone just informed me that the Powers That Be don't want to force everyone to join the domain after all, that some people will need local user logon access to their machine.  I argued against this, for obvious reason, but in the end, they're the powers, and I'm not.  Mini Setup doesn't seem to offer any local user account creation options.  Doh.

Oh well, that's another question.  Thanks again.
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by:dew_associates
ID: 7071544
Actually it does Ed, just cull out any reference to domain issues.
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by:EDStech
ID: 7071567
I'll give it a shot, thank you.  
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