Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE--January 29, 2007

Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE--January 29, 2007

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FAQs
Q. How do I use the Windows System Image Manager to create an answer file?
Q. How do I specify an answer file for the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) portion of a Windows Deployment Services installation? Q. How do I specify an answer file to automate the installation of an OS via Windows Deployment Services? Q. How do I avoid having to press F12 during the boot to the Windows Deployment Services Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) installation interface.

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==== FAQs ====
by John Savill, FAQ Editor, [email protected]

Q. How do I use the Windows System Image Manager to create an answer file?

A. The Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) contains a new tool, the Windows System Image Manager, which lets you create the XML answer file that stores custom settings and automates OS installations. The Windows System Image Manager lets you open a Windows Image by selecting "Select Windows Image" from the File menu, then selecting the Windows Imaging Format (WIM) file to open. (e.g., the install.wim from the Windows Vista source media). If the WIM file contains multiple images, then you must select the image to open from the WIM file (e.g., Windows Vista BUSINESS).

After opening an image, you can open an answer file or create one by selecting the option from the File menu. When you open an answer file, you'll notice the Components section, which is divided into seven configuration passes:
- windowsPE - performs basic Windows Setup options such as product key and disk configuration
- offlineServicing - allows updates to a Windows image
- generalize - sysprep /generalize removes system-specific information as part of a sysprep pass
- specialize - allows configuration of system-specific information such as network, international, and domain
- auditSystem - only used in audit mode
- auditUser - only used in audit mode
- oobeSystem - applies Windows settings in last phase just before Windows Welcome

You'll typically use the windowsPE, specialize, and oobeSystem component areas. Each area relates to a different part of the OS installation. To add settings to a configuration pass, expand the Components section of the Windows Image and right-click the setting, which will show a list of valid passes for which the setting can be used, as the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/wsimwimcomp1.gif shows. For example, the SetupUILanguage that's part of x86_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE is used to configure the language used during the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) installation and so is usable only during the windowsPE pass. The Unattended Windows Setup Reference that comes with the WAIK gives details about every setting.

--------------------

Q. How do I specify an answer file for the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) portion of a Windows Deployment Services installation?

A. Usually during a Windows Deployment Services installation, the end user must enter certain credentials to access Windows Deployment Services and select an image to install. To bypass this step, you can create an unattended XML file that specifies credentials, language, and an image selection and configure it to be used by Windows Deployment Services by performing the following steps:
1. Right-click the Windows Deployment Services server in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Windows Deployment Services Management snap-in and select Properties.
2. Select the Client tab.
3. Check the "Enable unattended installation" check box and click Browse, as the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/wdsunattendconfig.gif shows.
4. Select the answer file and click Open.
5. Click Apply, then click OK.

The figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/wimxmlunattendwds.jpg shows some easy settings to automate the image selection process.

-------------------- Q. How do I specify an answer file to automate the installation of an OS via Windows Deployment Services?

A. You can specify an answer file for each image known to Windows Deployment Services. To select the answer file, perform these steps:
1. Right-click the image and select Properties, as the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/wdsimageprop1.jpg shows.
2. On the General tab, select the "Allow image to install in unattended mode" and click the Select File button to select the XML file.
3. A new dialog box will open. Click Browse and select the XML, then click Open.
4. Click OK.

The specified XML file is copied to the \Images\Windows Vista\install\Unattend sub-folder of the RemoteInstall main folder. Therefore if you update the XML file in its original location you must re-specify the XML file so it gets copied to the correct location for use during actual installation.

-------------------- Q. How do I avoid having to press F12 during the boot to the Windows Deployment Services Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) installation interface.

A. Like its predecessor Remote Installation Services (RIS), Windows Deployment Services requires network boot clients to press F12 before entering the Windows PXE deployment environment. To remove the requirement to press F12, perform these steps:
1. Right-click the Windows Deployment Services server in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Windows Deployment Services Management snap-in and select Properties.
2. Select the Boot tab.
3. For the architecture required, click the Browse button and select the ".n12" version of the boot ROM, as the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/wdspxenof12.jpg shows. For example, instead of pxeboot.com, select pxeboot.n12
4. Click OK. --------------------

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