The simplest method for installing Windows® onto new hardware is to start directly from the Windows product DVD with an answer file called Autounattend.xml. This method provides flexibility when network access is not available or when you are building only a few computers. This is the same method used to build an initial image in an image-based deployment scenario, commonly referred to as a master installation.
The answer file enables you to automate all or parts of Windows Setup. You can create an answer file by using Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM). For more information, see Work with Answer Files.
To complete this walkthrough, you need the following:
- An answer file stored on removable media,
such as a floppy disk or a USB flash drive (UFD). The answer file
must be called Autounattend.xml, and it must be located at the root
of the media.
- A Windows product DVD.
Install Windows from the Windows product DVD
- Turn on the new computer.
- Insert both the removable media containing your answer file and
the Windows product DVD into the new computer.
When using a USB flash drive, insert the drive directly into the primary set of USB ports for the computer. For a desktop computer, this is typically in the back of the computer.
- Restart the computer by pressing the CTRL+ALT+DEL keys.
This example assumes that the hard drive is blank.
- Windows Setup (Setup.exe) begins automatically.
By default, Windows Setup searches all removable media for an answer file called Autounattend.xml.
- After Setup completes, validate that all customizations were
applied, and then reseal the computer, using the sysprep
command with the /generalize option.
To automatically run the Sysprep tool after the
installation, set the Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\Reseal component
setting in your Autounattend.xml where
true, Mode =OOBE
To run the Sysprep tool manually from a running
operating system, at a command prompt, type
c:\windows\system32\sysprep.exe /oobe /shutdown
As an OEM, you are required to reseal the new installation by using the System Preparation (Sysprep) tool. The Sysprep tool removes all system-specific information and resets the computer so that the next time the computer restarts, your customers can accept the Microsoft Software License Terms and add user-specific information.
This walkthrough illustrates a basic unattended installation with no user input. You can manually add more customizations to the newly installed operating system. If this is a master installation or an installation used for image deployment, shut down the computer and capture an image of the installation by using the ImageX tool or any third-party imaging software.
For more information about deploying an image, see Capture and Apply Windows Images.