Building A Simple Answer File for Automate the Installation using System Image Manager


A simple answer file includes basic Windows Setup configuration and minimum Windows Welcome customizations. This example does not import any special drivers, applications, or packages. At the end of this walkthrough, you can run Windows Setup with this answer file to create an unattended installation.

Step 1: To complete this walkthrough, you need the following:

  • Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) installed on a computer. (Windows AIK Feature)
  • An authorized copy of the Windows Vista/7 product DVD.
  • Removable media, such as a floppy disk or a USB flash drive (UFD).
  1. On your technician computer, insert the Windows Vista product DVD into the local DVD-ROM drive.
  2. On the desktop of the technician computer, navigate to the \Sources directory on your DVD-ROM drive. Copy the Install.wim file from the Windows product DVD to a location on the computer.
  3. Open Windows SIM. On the desktop of the computer, click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Windows OPK (or Windows AIK), and then clickWindows System Image Manager.
  4. On the File menu, click Select Windows Image.
  5. In the Select a Windows Image dialog box, navigate to the location where you saved the Install.wim file, and then click Open.
  6. On the File menu, click New Answer File.

Step:2 In this step, you define basic disk configuration and Windows Welcome settings.

  1. In the Windows Image pane of Windows SIM, expand the Components node to display available settings.
  2. On the expanded list of components, add the following components to your answer file by right-clicking the component and then by selecting the appropriate configuration pass. This action will add the component to your answer file in the specified configuration pass. A configuration pass is a phase of Windows installation. Different parts of the Windows Vista operating system are installed in different configuration passes. You can specify settings to be applied in one or more configuration passes.
Component Configuration Pass
Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\CreatePartitions\ CreatePartition windowsPE
Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\ModifyPartitions\ ModifyPartition windowsPE
Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo windowsPE
Microsoft-Windows-Setup \UserData windowsPE
Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE windowsPE
Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE\SetupUILanguage windowsPE
Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup \OEMInformation specialize
Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup \OOBE oobeSystem
Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\Reseal oobeSystem
Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\Autologon auditSystem

All the settings you added must appear in the Answer File pane. Select and configure each setting as specified below.

Component Value
Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE InputLocale = <Input Locale>SystemLocale = <System Locale>UILanguage = <UI Language>

UserLocale = <User Locale>

Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE\SetupUILanguage UILanguage = <UI Language>
Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration WillShowUI = OnError
Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk DiskID = 0WillWipeDisk = true
Microsoft-Windows-Setup\DiskConfiguration\Disk\CreatePartitions\CreatePartition Extend = falseOrder = 1Size = 15000 (Note: you can adjust Size accordingly; this example uses 15 gigabytes.

Type = Primary

Microsoft-Windows-Setup \DiskConfiguration\Disk\ModifyPartitions\ModifyPartition Active = trueExtend = falseFormat = NTFS

Label = OS_Install

Letter = C

Order = 1

PartitionID = 1

Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\ WillShowUI = OnError
Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallTo DiskID = 0PartitionID = 1
Microsoft-Windows-Setup \UserData AcceptEula = true
Microsoft-Windows-Setup \UserData\ProductKey Key = <product key>WillShowUI = OnError
Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup \OEMInformation Manufacturer = <company name>HelpCustomized = falseSupportPhone = <support number>

SupportURL = <support URL>

SupportHours = <support hours>

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\OOBE ProtectYourPC = 1NetworkLocation = Work
Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\Reseal ForceShutdownNow = falseMode = Audit
Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\AutoLogon Enabled = trueLogonCount = 5Username = Administrator

 Validate the answer file

In this step, you validate the settings in your answer file and then save them to a file.

  1. In Windows SIM, click Tools, and then click Validate Answer File.
    The setting values in the answer file are compared with the available settings in the Windows image.
  2. If the answer file validates successfully, a “success” message appears in the Messages pane. Otherwise, error messages appear in the same location.
  3. If an error occurs, double-click the error in the Messages pane to navigate to the incorrect setting. Change the setting to fix the error, and then revalidate.
  4. On the File menu, click Save Answer File. Save the answer file as Autounattend.xml.
  5. Copy Autounattend.xml to the root of a floppy disk or UFD.

Video Walkthrough

Have a Look at Microsoft Springboard Series Video

How to Build Simple Answer File

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