Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 3/4

Posted by on Sep 22, 2009 in Windows, Windows 2008 R2, Windows 7

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;

ComponentConfiguration pass
1Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setupspecialize
2Microsoft-Windows-UnattendedJoin\Identificationspecialize
3Microsoft-Windows-International-CoreoobeSystem
4Microsoft-Windows-Shell-SetupoobeSystem
5Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\OOBEoobeSystem
6Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccountsoobeSystem
7Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\AdministratoroobeSystem
8Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountsoobeSystem
9Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\LocalAccountsoobeSystem

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.

Answer File

This will then appear in the Answer File pane as follows;

Answer File

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.

Answer File

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.

WDS

I have listed the rest of the settings in text form for the components listed in the table above.  These are as follows;

4 specializeMicrosoft-Windows-Shell-SetupComputerName =*RegisteredOrganization =<Name>

RegisteredOwner =<Name>

4 specializeMicrosoft-WindowsUnattendedJoin\IdentificationDebugJoin = falseJoinDomain = <Domain Name>

UnsecureJoin = true

7oobeSystemMicrosoft-Windows-International-CoreInputLocale = en-Au or en-USSystemLocale = en-Au or en-US

UILanguage = en-Au or en-US

UserLocale = en-Au or en-US

7oobeSystemMicrosoft-Windows-Shell-SetupRegisteredOrganization =<Name>RegisteredOwner =<Name>

ShowWindowsLive =false

TimeZone = <AU Eastern Standard Time>

7oobeSystemMicrosoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\OOBEHideEULAPage =trueHideWirelessSetupInOOBE = true

NetworkLocation =Work

ProtectYourPC = 1

SkipMachineOOBE = true (This setting has now been deprecated)

SkipUserOOBE = true (This setting has now been deprecated)

7oobeSystemMicrosoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\AdministratorPasswordValue = **************
7oobeSystemMicrosoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountListAction = AddListItemDomain = <Domain Name>
7oobeSystemMicrosoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountList\DomainAccountAction = AddListItemGroup =Administrators

Name =Domain Admins

7oobeSystemMicrosoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountList\LocalAccounts\LocalAccountAction =AddListItemDisplayName =<Name of Local Admin Account> e.g. HelpDesk

Group =Administrators

Name = HelpDesk

7oobeSystemMicrosoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\UserAccounts\DomainAccountList\LocalAccounts\LocalAccount\PasswordValue = ********************

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.

Answer File

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.

Image Properties

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.

AD DS Client Naming Policy

Client Enable Unattended Installation

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.

Capture77

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.

Capture78

Click Next.

Capture79

Capture80

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.

As always, if you would like to be notified of future articles, you can do so by subscribing via RSS, or have articles directly sent to your email by subscribing on the right navigation bar.

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Articles in this series

  1. Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 1/4 (Installation and Configuration of the WDS Role)
  2. Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 2/4 (Creation & Configuration of WDSUnattend.xml)
  3. Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 3/4 (Creation & Configuration of ImageUnattend.xml)
  4. Windows Deployment Services, WAIK & Windows 7 – Part 4/4 (Injecting Drivers)

10 Comments

  1. wds is the best technology of installing windows remotely ………..

  2. Hi, just wanted to know two things:
    1) Will these steps be applicable on a Windows 2008 R2 ?
    2) How do I add my custom network card drivers to the ImageUnattend.xml file ?

    Any help will really be appreciated..

    Thanks alot..

    PS: Really good and informative tutorial.. 🙂

  3. Right after I press F12 to PXE boot the Windows PE boot image loads as expected. However, before I can go any further it asks me to specify an input locale and then I have to authenticate to the WDS server. Any thoughts on this?

  4. Excellent guide. very much appreciated!

  5. I encountered the exact same problem. Not sure why it asks as it was already specified in the answers file. I also encountered some partition stuff, pretty straight forward I guess.

  6. Great guide but i would love to know how to fix these issues! Thanks for the detailed article.

  7. There are two places for an answer file in WDS. The settings specified in the answer file that you attach to an installation image come AFTER the things like language, partitioning, etc. You have to create a second answer file that specifies these settings. If you right click on your server in WDS and go to properties, then the client tab you can specify the answer file for these settings there.

  8. did what was required to do as per the guide above, i am still getting formatting disk option.

  9. I’m getting it too, but guidance was really helpful

  10. I have the same problem.. Did you ever get it sorted?

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