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Using unattend.xml to Install Windows 7 Pro 64Bit from a USB stick

Posted on 2011-02-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I hopefully "easy" Friday afternoon question.

Leaving aside that there is better deployment technologies out their like MDT2010, I am trying to create a USB install, there are plenty of good instructions out there such as http://benosullivan.co.uk/windows/how-to-image-and-deploy-windows-7-a-complete-guide/.

Have made my test image, a reimaged it to USB stick. Currently using a Windows 7 X64 OEM Media disk that comes with our Dell's. Did not use include the unattend.xml in the sysprep command, but have the unattend.xml in the root of the USB stick.

The install is basically totatly ignore the "settings pass="windowsPE"" part of the file so I have to accept the EULA, create the disk etc.

I have a good suspicion that if I use the same unattend via sysprep it will work but would prefer to use the unattend via the root of the USB stick.

Where have a made my typo in my unattend.xml?
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    <settings pass="windowsPE">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <UserData>
                <ProductKey>
                    <Key>XXX</Key>
                    <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI>
                </ProductKey>
                <Organization>XXX</Organization>
                <AcceptEula>true</AcceptEula>
                <FullName>The Computer User</FullName>
            </UserData>
            <DiskConfiguration>
                <Disk wcm:action="add">
                    <CreatePartitions>
                        <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
                            <Order>1</Order>
                            <Type>Primary</Type>
                            <Extend>true</Extend>
                        </CreatePartition>
                    </CreatePartitions>
                    <ModifyPartitions>
                        <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">
                            <Active>true</Active>
                            <Extend>false</Extend>
                            <Format>NTFS</Format>
                            <Label>WIN7_OS</Label>
                            <Letter>C</Letter>
                            <Order>1</Order>
                            <PartitionID>1</PartitionID>
                        </ModifyPartition>
                    </ModifyPartitions>
                    <DiskID>0</DiskID>
                    <WillWipeDisk>true</WillWipeDisk>
                </Disk>
                <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI>
            </DiskConfiguration>
            <ImageInstall>
                <OSImage>
                    <InstallFrom>
                        <MetaData wcm:action="add">
                            <Key>/IMAGE/NAME</Key>
                            <Value>Windows 7 PROFESSIONAL</Value>
                        </MetaData>
                    </InstallFrom>
                    <InstallToAvailablePartition>false</InstallToAvailablePartition>
                    <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI>
                    <InstallTo>
                        <DiskID>0</DiskID>
                        <PartitionID>1</PartitionID>
                    </InstallTo>
                </OSImage>
            </ImageInstall>
        </component>
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <InputLocale>en-GB</InputLocale>
            <UserLocale>en-GB</UserLocale>
            <UILanguage>en-GB</UILanguage>
            <SystemLocale>en-GB</SystemLocale>
            <SetupUILanguage>
                <UILanguage>EN-GB</UILanguage>
                <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI>
            </SetupUILanguage>
        </component>
    </settings>
    <settings pass="oobeSystem">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <OOBE>
                <HideEULAPage>true</HideEULAPage>
                <NetworkLocation>Work</NetworkLocation>
                <SkipMachineOOBE>true</SkipMachineOOBE>
                <SkipUserOOBE>true</SkipUserOOBE>
                <HideWirelessSetupInOOBE>true</HideWirelessSetupInOOBE>
            </OOBE>
            <UserAccounts>
                <AdministratorPassword>
                    <Value>XXX</Value>
                    <PlainText>false</PlainText>
                </AdministratorPassword>
            </UserAccounts>
            <AutoLogon>
                <Password>
                    <Value>XXX</Value>
                    <PlainText>false</PlainText>
                </Password>
                <Enabled>true</Enabled>
                <LogonCount>2</LogonCount>
                <Username>Administrator</Username>
            </AutoLogon>
            <RegisteredOwner>The Computer User</RegisteredOwner>
            <RegisteredOrganization>XXX</RegisteredOrganization>
        </component>
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-International-Core" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <InputLocale>0809:00000809</InputLocale>
            <UserLocale>en-GB</UserLocale>
            <UILanguage>en-GB</UILanguage>
            <SystemLocale>en-GB</SystemLocale>
        </component>
    </settings>
    <settings pass="specialize">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS">
            <ComputerName></ComputerName>
            <RegisteredOrganization>XXX</RegisteredOrganization>
            <RegisteredOwner>The Computer User</RegisteredOwner>
            <TimeZone>General Mean Time</TimeZone>
        </component>
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-International-Core" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="NonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <InputLocale>en-GB</InputLocale>
            <UserLocale>en-GB</UserLocale>
            <UILanguage>en-GB</UILanguage>
            <SystemLocale>en-GB</SystemLocale>
        </component>
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-UnattendedJoin" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS">
            <Identification>
                <Credentials>
                    <Domain>XXX</Domain>
                    <Password>XXX</Password>
                    <Username>XXX</Username>
                </Credentials>
                <JoinDomain>XXX.local</JoinDomain>
                <MachineObjectOU>OU=computers,OU=XXX,DC=XXX,DC=local</MachineObjectOU>
            </Identification>
        </component>
    </settings>
    <cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="catalog:f:/sources/install_XXX windows 7 x64 image.clg" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />
</unattend>

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Question by:Mark Gould
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Expert Comment

by:dailypcguy
ID: 34876079
I checked your xml here:
http://www.w3schools.com/dom/dom_validate.asp
and it returned no syntax errors.
Need to look around a bit more
there is a verify url link but I'm not sure how useful it is

I did read up on this a long time ago and found nearly all of the instructions I could find were buggy.

How did you make your image file, PE builder?
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Expert Comment

by:dailypcguy
ID: 34876103
You could also try using a SARDU usb to do these installs automatically.
http://www.sarducd.it/
this way you get multiple options depending upon which version of windows you want to install, and using linux it gets around the whole xml.unattend file altogether
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Author Comment

by:Mark Gould
ID: 34876411
I made by image file by literally following the instructions in http://benosullivan.co.uk/windows/how-to-image-and-deploy-windows-7-a-complete-guide/. In litterally built a machine, added my software, imaged it and copied the install.wim over to a copy of the source material.

I used the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK)  along with a fair amount of copying and pasting of code from other unattend.xml files off the internet.

Whilst the SARDU app looks interesting, at first glance it appears you still need an unattend.xml to configure Windows 7.

I don't have the bandwidth to really want to start using MDT 2010 to push images out. I also am not large enough justify doing that!

Be interested if you find any thing else
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Assisted Solution

by:jesaja
jesaja earned 250 total points
ID: 34878319
shouldn't it read autounattend.xml?
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dailypcguy earned 250 total points
ID: 34880075
@jesaja maybe it should. Why then is it named unattend.xml automatically by the unattend.xml xml generator? Clear as mud??
Checking the comments after the unattend.xml page i can see no-one has a problem with the file name,
"...added my software, imaged it and copied the install.wim over to a copy of the source material." There are some comments suggesting this file (*.wim) be either on the usb drive or on the HDD you intend to install to, (after formatting the drive).
When I trolled through the comments there was one that suggested an OEM branded copy of Windows like you mentioned (Dell) wouldn't work. You need to use a full retail copy according to what I've read. I'm fairly certain this is the root cause.

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Author Comment

by:Mark Gould
ID: 34882382
When I tried with an autounattend.xml it told me no images were available.

I suspect you are both right.  think the unattend.xml wuld work with the sysprep with any media and the autounattend.xml would work with non OEM media. I will test.

Meanwhile, and I hope I get this right, I will accept both your solutions with thanks

Mark
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