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generate answer file for server 2012 r2 from configured instance

Is there any way to generate (extract) a Windows System Image Manager answer file from a configured instance of Server 2012 r2?  I've successfully cataloged image.wim and I've looked at a couple of sample answer files.  

It seems like a LONG way to get to a desired install state by manually selecting each individual configuration element.  Am I missing something?
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qrk314
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qrk314
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Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:
Hi,

Not unless it has not been deleted from c:\Windows\Panther.

I know you're trying to do build, but what exactly are you trying to do? What happened to the source answer file??

Mike
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qrk314Author Commented:
Thanks for responding to my question and please excuse my delay in replying.

There never was a source answer file.  The "C:\Windows\Panther" folder is news to me

I am hoping that there is a way to create a Windows answer file for a manually configured server instance similar to the way that 2012 Roles and Features configuration settings can be written to XML for "playback" with a Powershell Install-WindowsFeature command.

Put another way: "Is there a shortcut available to get from a manually configured Gold Image to an answer file?

I will be creating and refreshing 30 identical, multi-server test environments for a software development company.
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Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:
Hi,

I don't know of any way, short of pen and paper if you original answer file was not saved. If you automate the deployment it gets built and put in the panther DIR but will be deleted at the end.

The good news is once you have the settings you can automate it for the 30 servers using MDT. If you need to know more about that, let me know; if have other answers on EE that have info on the basics.

Mike
PS: I answered this once already so this might be duplicated..
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qrk314Author Commented:
Thanks, Mike.  It's difficult to prove a negative, but your reply (plus the lack of other discussions on this idea) convinces me that my idea of generating a fully realized answer file from a known-state example OS just doesn't exist.  

Microsoft provides tools to generate SQL scripts from existing DB's (CREATE, ALTER, etc.) and "Roles and Features" xml files to playback with "Install-WindowsFeatures" cmdlet.  A tool like SIM seemed likely to have this kind of smarts.  Oh well.

I have recently come across Derek Seaman's article on starting an answer file: http://www.derekseaman.com/2012/07/windows-server-2012-unattended.html 

A very helpful starting point, especially regarding disk setup.
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Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:
You're welcome. It would be nice but I think generally create the answer file with SIM or use something like SCCM/MDT instead, so it's done for you.

Thanks for the link
Mike
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