WDS is not using the ImageUnattended.xml file when it deploys vista images.

Posted on 2007-11-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-07-17
Steps Taken
1.  I copied the install.wim file from my Windows Vista Business VLK CD.
2.  I used the WAIK Windows System Image Manager (WSIM) to create an answer file that automatically enters the cd key as well as a user name.
3.  I added the install.wim image to my Vista images group using WDS snap in.
4.  I accessed the properties of the new image and enabled the "Allow image to install in unattended mode" checkbox and then browsed to the ImageUnattended.xml file I created in step 2.

When I press F12 on one of the client machines it boots to Windows PE as expected and allows me to select which image I would like to install from the list.  I select the Vista Business image and it installs normally.  I am promted for a user name and password during installation and they CD key that is used is one generated internally by Vista as a temporary key.  

I am unsure what steps needs to be taken for WDS to copy the ImageUnattended.xml file to the Vista client during installation.

I have attached a copy of my XML file that is referenced on the Install Images unattended dialog box.  
I only want to have the CD key entered for now and I will adjust other settings once WDS starts working.   I also am looking for a "Lite Touch" install.   I do not mind having to select the image from a list in Windows PE or Selecting the installation language to get the install started.  Once the install starts though I would like it to run unattended.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    <settings pass="windowsPE">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Setup" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
    <cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="wim:D:\remoteinstall\Images\Vista\install.wim#Windows Vista BUSINESS" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />

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Question by:skykingjwc
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

ID: 20317084
If "ImageUnattended.xml" is the name of the file, you need to rename it to simply "Unattended.xml".


Author Comment

ID: 20319343
Renamed to Unattended.xml and restarted WDS service.  Still not working.

Author Comment

ID: 20319352
Also the WDS service wants the file to be named ImageUnattended.xml and will rename any file you choose as your answer file to ImageUnattended.xml
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

ID: 20319359
Interesting....the fact that it's renaming it means it's getting used.

I wonder if the format of the file isn't quite right.

Author Comment

ID: 20319717
This is partially working now.  I downloaded a sample XML file from here.

It seems like everything is working now accept the product key.  WDS keeps givng out random Keys to the vista installations.
What in the world?
LVL 51

Expert Comment

ID: 20319860

Formatting in an XML file is significant, are you sure the key section is as expected?

Author Comment

ID: 20321864
I figured it out.  There is another ProductKey property in x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_neutral.  I added this to the Step4 Specialize pass in Windows System image Manager.  Now it is taking the key.

I have no idea why it wouldnt work in the Step1 windowsPE pass as the Microsoft documentation shows recommends that the Product Key be intered in the WindowsPe pass.

I wierd that the MS docs were wrong,  no way does that happen all the time.  :)

Thanks for the help though.

Accepted Solution

skykingjwc earned 0 total points
ID: 20321883
Also upon further review and forum reading, it appears that WDS will assign a random temporary key if ones is not specified.  This explains why I was getting a different key each time I installed Vista from WDS.

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