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How to start the unattended installation of XP on the first partition and continue on the next one

Posted on 2010-09-02
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Hello,

As you already know,usually the first partition of the disk is not the same where Windows really is. If you have Windows 7 the first partition probably is a 100 MB System Hidden Partition or it could be a rescue partition of small dimensions. What I want to do is to start the unattended installation of Windows XP by copying its boot files on the first partition and to continue the installation on the next partition. I read that the unattended installation of XP can start if you place a file called autounattend.txt on the root of the drive where the installation files are saved. And I see any problem by copying it on that first hidden partition. I would like to know if I can use the [GuiRunOnce] label to start the installation of XP on the first partition and then to continue it on the next one. Thanks.
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Question by:marietto2008
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by:helpnet
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I am guessing one you sort out what you want, you would image it for reuse.

There is a lot of useful information on unattended installs at http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/view/web/1/

I would be more inclined to put the installation files on the second partititon (D:\) and the OS on the first.  I think with XP, you cannot install from a hidden partition, and if the partition is not hidden, it will see the first partition as C:\, and installing windows on d:\windows is not a pretty look if you later hide the partition, things will probably break.    I would create a boot CD, that runs the installation from d: drive.  The answer file created by the WinXP deployment tool is unattend.txt (not autounattend.txt) You need to  rename the unattend.txt answer file to winnt.sif and place it in the directory with installation file for it to work. (I believe it will also pull it off a floppy disk, but not many machines have those these days).

I think GuiRunOnce Section is meant to be for running an application or batch file from within windows once the install is just about complete at the first login, so no, you cannot launch setup from here.
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MojoTech earned 500 total points
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There is no way that I know of to start an install on one partition and to continue it on another whether unattended or not as all the syetem files need to be in the same place.
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by:helpnet
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Alternatively, if all you want is a place to have the installation files at hand, create a first partition smaller than the complete size of the disk and install Windows XP using a CD. The registry will recognise d:\i386 as the source of the installation files (where d: is the CDrom letter)

When Windows XP has finished installing create the second partition format it and set drive letter as d: (and CD as E:).  Copy the installation files from the cd to d:\i386, along with drivers etc you need for your computer that are not on the WinXP CD.
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by:marietto2008
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Let me understand better the last comment :

Sometime I have already the first partition,sometimes not. When I haven't it I have no problem,because I can copy the Windows XP installation files on the first partition,because it is the same that contains the boot files and the physical installation. But when I have the first hidden system partition of 100 MB or less,what shoud I do ? If I copy the Windows XP installation files on the second partition,when I restart the computer,the registry will detect cdrom\i386 as the source of installation files,but it will not detect the unattend.txt file and I can't do an unattended installation...
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I think I need to understand more about what it is that you are actually trying to achieve.  Do you want computers with a hidden partition, do you know how to get rid of hidden partitions?  Unless you explicitly have a use for a hidden partition on a Windows XP machine, I do not see a lot of benefit in having/leaving it there.

if you put AutoPartition=0 then setup will ask you on which partition you wish to install Windows onto and advises you what to do if your partition already contains an OS.  IF it is set to 1 the partition is automatically selected.

Repartition=No
Specifies whether to delete all partitions on the first drive of the client computer and to reformat the drive with the NTFS file system automatically.

UnattendSwitch="yes"
manually choose a partition during text-mode setup with full control on choice of filesystem, add this entry to your winnt.sif file.

I don't think there is an unattended option to install on the second visible partition.


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