We are back again and in today’s article we will continue our efforts in automating our Windows 7 deployment via Windows Deployment Services utilising the WAIK tool and the creation of our XML Answer files. In Part 2 of this series we focused on the creation of the WDSUnattend.xml file that is required to automate the Windows Pre Execution Boot for our WDS clients and took care of the partitioning of our disks. If you missed part 2 of this series, you can access it here. Today we continue our efforts in utilising the Windows System Image Manager (WSIM) to create our ImageUnattend.xml which will be specifically designed to automate the Out of Box Experience (OOBE) of our Windows 7 Enterprise install.
In our last article I introduced WSIM and the steps required to create an answer file. I also went into some detail regarding the 7 distinct sections that make up an answer file that reflect the 7 possible stages in the deployment of your operating system, in our case Windows 7. As you recall these stages are referred to as Passes and you may not necessarily need to utilise every single pass in an XML Answer File. Our WDSUnattend.xml file that we created in Part 2 primarily focused on the windowsPE pass however our ImageUnattend.xml that we are creating in this article will utilise the specialize and oobeSystem passes. So let’s begin!
Launch WSIM and select File / New Answer File. The first area that we will focus on is the specialize pass which we will provide details for the automation of the joining of the machine to the domain.
The minimum components and passes required for our ImageUnattend.xml are listed as follows;
As a refresher, I will go through the process of adding our first component (Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup) to our Answer File Pane and it’s required settings. Recall that I went through this process in some detail in part 2 of this series.
Right click on the required component and select Add Setting to Pass4 specialize.
This will then appear in the Answer File pane as follows;
We will make the following changes to the properties of the Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup component as per the below screen capture. You will notice that in the ComputerName section I have specified “*” as I am letting WDS do the naming under the AD DS tab of the properties of the WDS server.
In the below screen capture, I have specified a Client Naming Policy under the properties of our WDS server. The following format GK%03# will name my machines in the following format; GK001, GK002, GK003 etc.
I have listed the rest of the settings in text form for the components listed in the table above. These are as follows;
|4 specialize||Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup||ComputerName =*RegisteredOrganization =<Name>
|4 specialize||Microsoft-WindowsUnattendedJoin\Identification||DebugJoin = falseJoinDomain = <Domain Name>
UnsecureJoin = true
|7oobeSystem||Microsoft-Windows-International-Core||InputLocale = en-Au or en-USSystemLocale = en-Au or en-US
UILanguage = en-Au or en-US
UserLocale = en-Au or en-US
|7oobeSystem||Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup||RegisteredOrganization =<Name>RegisteredOwner =<Name>
TimeZone = <AU Eastern Standard Time>
|7oobeSystem||Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\OOBE||HideEULAPage =trueHideWirelessSetupInOOBE = true
ProtectYourPC = 1
SkipMachineOOBE = true (This setting has now been deprecated)
SkipUserOOBE = true (This setting has now been deprecated)
|7oobeSystem||Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\AdministratorPassword||Value = **************|
|7oobeSystem||Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountList||Action = AddListItemDomain = <Domain Name>|
|7oobeSystem||Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountList\DomainAccount||Action = AddListItemGroup =Administrators
Name =Domain Admins
|7oobeSystem||Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountList\LocalAccounts\LocalAccount||Action =AddListItemDisplayName =<Name of Local Admin Account> e.g. HelpDesk
Name = HelpDesk
|7oobeSystem||Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountList\LocalAccounts\LocalAccount\Password||Value = ********************|
In summary, the oobeSystem settings above (Windows Out of Box Experience) automates the initial configuration tasks that end users normally encounter when installing Windows 7 or Windows Vista.
The above settings are the required minimum settings to fully automate the Windows 7 Enterprise “install” image, however you can add other components such as setting a default theme (Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\Themes).
The complete Unattended Windows Setup Reference can be found in the WAIK help area and on the Microsoft TechNet Site here.
Once you have completed adding any further settings to your ImageUnattend.xml file you will need to validate your settings and then save the file as “ImageUnattend.xml”.
We will now navigate to your WDS server and launch the Windows Deployment Services Management Console. Expand Servers and then your Server Name and click on Install Images. Our Windows 7 Install Image should be listed as per the below screen capture. Recall that this was added in Part 1 of this series when we first configured our WDS Server.
Right Click on our Image and select properties. Under the General Tab, click on select file and browse for the ImageUnattend.xml file that we saved earlier.
We have now applied our WDSUnattend.xml which automates the WDS Pre-Execution Boot (part 2 of this series) and our ImageUnattend.xml which automates the OOBE of our Windows 7 “install” image.
Now is a good time to review your WDS Server settings within the Windows Deployment Services Management console by right clicking on the server and selecting properties. Under the AD DS tab you can specify your Client Naming Policy and specify your Computer Account Location. Also ensure that your WDSUnattend.xml file that we created in part 2 is applied to the Client tab – Unattend file settings area.
We are now ready to rock and roll and attempt to deploy our first Windows 7 Image via PXE boot. When your machine is starting up press the relevant Function key combination to access the network PXE boot which should then detect your WDS Server and then press F12 again to launch the Windows PE Boot Image.
Once the boot.wim has completed loading, you will receive the below screen capture, allowing you to select your Windows 7 Install Image. If you have multiple Install Images they will also be listed here.
That’s it! Your installation will now continue without any user input as this is taken care of by our ImageUnattend.xml file.
This concludes this part of the series. In our next and final article I will show you how to inject any necessary drivers that may have been missed by Windows. I have left this to the end as it is only until you deploy your first Image to your new or existing hardware that you will be aware of these missing drivers.
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Articles in this series
- Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 1/4 (Installation and Configuration of the WDS Role)
- Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 2/4 (Creation & Configuration of WDSUnattend.xml)
- Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 3/4 (Creation & Configuration of ImageUnattend.xml)
- Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 4/4 (Injecting Drivers)