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Question on Unattend File and Windows System Image Manager

Posted on 2011-05-02
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I'm wondering about this issue as I haven't done extensive testing with it yet, but do you have to build an unattend file with windows system image manager on the same machine you are about to image?

As in, can you not use a pre-configured, unattend xml file built from a separate machine?  It seems like when i run sysprep and point to an existing unattend xml file, my sysprep fails.  Can someone confirm if the unattend has to be built on the machine you are imaging with windows system image manager or should any unattend be able to be used?

Thanx a Mil.
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Question by:sparky321
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Ivano Viola earned 1000 total points
ID: 35699658
No, you do not have to build an unattend file with windows system image manager on the same machine you are about to image. You can use any computer to build your unattend file. The most important thing about creating your unattend.xml file is that is needs to be created using the media which you use to install Windows 7 on your image computer. So if you were to create a new answer file it will prompt your for the wim image from your disk. This needs to be the wim image you used to install Windows 7 on your image computer (from your install disk).  

Here is a good article that will give you some tips on Windows 7 sysprep:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/A_3095-Windows-7-Sysprep.html

Hope this helps.
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Author Closing Comment

by:sparky321
ID: 35699769
ivanoviola:

Thanks, points awarded.  Microsoft really made it difficult for deployment with the unattend.  I remember in XP, the unattend file source didn't matter as long as it was correct.

My issue is this, we receive a machine with Windows 7 loaded, i simply change the volume licensing key to our organization through scripting and build that image machine to specs.  I would then run the sysprep built from another machine on the imaging machine.  Note: Windows 7 was already loaded on the imaging machine so didn't have to use another Windows 7 Disc (source disc where the unattend was built from the WIM source files) on the image machine.

Essentially, because I didn't use the Windows 7 disc to build this image machine, when i run the unattend built from another machine (with that windows 7 disc build files) it would fail?

That's amazing that Microsoft wouldn't allow that process to succeed as they are so many people out there trying to deploy windows 7 in the same fashion.
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Expert Comment

by:Ivano Viola
ID: 35699791
What you could try is take an image of the laptop using imagex. This will create the wim file needed. From there you can try creating an unattend.xml file from the captured wim file. That may work.
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Author Comment

by:sparky321
ID: 35699934
Hmmm, a little more than i wanted to get into due to using Acronis for imaging, but may be worth a try.
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Expert Comment

by:Ivano Viola
ID: 35700070
Here is a good link for creating a WinPE 3.1 boot disk that has gimagex (like imagex but has a nice gui).
http://theitbros.com/dism-tool-winpe-3-1-boot-environment
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