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Unattended Installation for Window XP By Marshall Cooper.

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1 Unattended Installation for Window XP By Marshall Cooper

2 What’s That An Unattended installation is a way to nearly fully automate a windows installation. Before you start you need 3 things: A computer with Windows already installed A Windows XP CD And a formatted floppy disk

3 Getting started First thing you need to do is put in your Windows XP CD and view the contents of the disk. Now open the “Support” folder and then the “Tools” folder. The file you’re looking for is a compressed file called “DEPLOY.CAB”. Before you go any further make a new folder on your desktop and extract the contents of this CAB file to that folder. You can name this folder whatever you like. Now open the folder that you just created. You should see the extracted files there. The one we want is setupmgr.exe. Just disregard all the other files except for the ref.chm which is a Windows XP Installation Reference. This is a help file that goes more into creating an answer file and explains more about the other files that are included in the folder that we just made. If you run into problems it might come in handy.

4 Step 1 Run the setupmgr.exe and the Welcome to the Windows Setup Manager screen will come up. This Wizard is going to take us through the options of creating the answer file so just click next. Then the Create or Modify the Answer File dialog box will open. Since this is going to be the first answer file, select “Create a new answer file” and click next. Once you have created an answer file successfully, you can edit it with the Setup Manager by selecting “Modify an existing answer file” and providing a path to it.

5 Step 2 Type of answer file to be used There are 3 types which are: Windows Unattended Installation - Unattended installations use setup scripts to answer installation questions and to automate the Setup process. This simplifies the installation of the operating system. Sysprep Install (System Preparation Tool) - Disk imaging, which is also known as cloning. This is a timesaving way to install Windows XP on multiple computers that use identical or similar hardware configurations. Remote Installation Services (RIS) - Enables you to perform a clean installation of Windows XP Professional on multiple computers throughout a network. You can simultaneously deploy the operating system on multiple clients from one or more remote locations. For now choose the “Windows Unattended Installation” option.

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7 Step 3 Windows Platform – This screen is where you would choose which version of Windows you are going to install.

8 Step 4 User Interaction during Windows Setup: Fully automated - This option will not prompt you for any information. Provide defaults - This option will fill in the info you supply but you will be able to change it if you choose to. Hide pages - This option does pretty much the same thing as the fully automated with the exception of letting you see the Setup Wizard. Read only - This option does pretty much the same thing as the “Provide defaults” option with the exception that you would not be able to change any of the settings. GUI attended - This option only allows the text portion of the Setup to be automated. Choose the “Fully automated” option unless you feel another option is better for you.

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10 Step 5 Distribution Folder - Select “No” if the installation files are from a CD like I’m describing. If you want to install from a network share, you would choose to create a distribution folder. The distribution folder option gives you the flexibility to add other files as well, such as drivers not found on the Windows XP CD.

11 Step 6 License Agreement - We can’t forget about the License Agreement. We have to check this now because we won’t be seeing it during the installation.

12 Step 7 Customize Software - Now it’s time to input your personal information. I’m sure most of you recognize this from previous Windows installs that you have done before.

13 Step 8 Display Settings - Everyone is different when choosing display settings but put in what you most commonly use here. If you’re not sure what your video card and monitor support, just choose the Windows default. If you try to over do it you may run into problems later. Remember that running a monitor at a refresh frequency that it does not support can damage the monitor. Once again, if you’re not sure just set it to Default.

14 Step 9 Time Zone - This one is simple enough. Put in the time zone that you live in.

15 Step 10 Product Key - This is a handy one. Put your Product Key in here. Saving it to the answer file will automatically put it in for you so you don’t lose the Product Key unless you lose the answer file.

16 Step 11 Computer Names - If you plan to use your name as a user on the computer it can’t be the same as the name here. You can also have the setup automatically generate the name by ticking the box at the bottom. If you plan to use the exact same setup on multiple computers then you would add their names here as well. If you’re willing to accept computer names that follow no pattern, you can allow Setup to create each computer’s name on the fly by appending seemingly random letters and numbers to the first few letters of your organization’s name.

17 Step 12 Administrator Password - If you don’t want someone to look at your answer file to figure out what it is tick the Encrypt password box. You can also specify the number of times it allows the computer to auto logon as the Administrator. I choose “1” because there are certain settings you can change that can only be done by being logged on as “Administrator”. *Note - Automatic Logon does not work if the local administrator password is encrypted in the answer file.

18 Step 13 Networking Components - By default the Setup Manager includes the Microsoft Networks Client, File and Printer Sharing, and TCP/IP. If you’d rather set this up later, leave it at the typical settings. To set it up now have TCP/IP highlighted and click on the “Properties” button.

19 Step 13 continued TCP/IP Settings –Here you can ether set it to automatic or configure it for however you wish. If you choose to configure TCP/IP properties in your answer file, you must create a unique answer file for each computer you are setting up on a network.

20 Step 14 Workgroups and Domains - Here you just need to add the name of the workgroup or server domain your computer is going to be on if any.

21 Advanced Settings Now were in the advanced settings section of the setup. I won’t go over Telephony (a.k.a Dial-up Settings), Regional Settings, Languages, Installation Folder, Browser and Shell Settings and Install Printers as the are all pretty strait forward or need a network already installed. This will skip Step 15 to 20.

22 Step 21 Run Once - The Run Once section has other commands you could use in the answer file. If you wanted to have the answer file create disk partitions for you then you would add the command here. You can add commands and make this as simple or advanced as you like.

23 Step 22 Additional Commands - This allows you to have setup install things that you would normally want to install right after Windows XP. If you desire to this then you may have needed to choose different options earlier the setup manager. Once you have finished here click finish.

24 Step 23 Save the Answer File - Now put in the formatted floppy disk into your floppy drive. Where it says “Location and file name”, type in a folder to save the file and name it winnt.sif. After that the Setup Complete screen will come up telling you that it has created 2 files which are: winnt.sif and winnt.bat You will need to put these onto the formatted floppy disk.

25 The Final Step First, you're going to need to change your boot order in the BIOS to boot from CD-ROM. After changing the boot order in BIOS, save your changes and reboot the computer. Now you can start the installation. Make sure your Installation CD is in your CD-ROM. If it is you'll be prompted to press any key to boot from CD-ROM. Press any key on your keyboard as soon as you see this message. Wait a few minutes while the installation begins to copy the setup files to your computer. If you decided to create your own partitions, you need to decide which partition of your hard drive you will install Windows XP on. Once you have figured out which partition XP will be installed on it's time to format it. Choose to format the partition to either FAT32 or NTFS. After you have select one of the options hit enter and Setup will begin to format the partition. Now just sit back and wait or go do something else. The only things you will be asked to do are register or activate Windows XP and setup user accounts. Everything else is done for you.

26 Conclusion Using this method of installing windows XP may take a little of your time at first but can be handy in future installations. You can also add the answer file strait to a Windows CD that way you don’t have to find the floppy disk or worry about it corrupting. I would recommend you try the floppy disk method first so you can play with all the different ways of automating the Windows XP setup. The End


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