Win 7 - WINNT for unattended setup??


Gew

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Hi guys!

I hope someone here could help me out. I'm sort of an XP fanboy. I was so annoyed by the standard folders eg. "Documents and settings" and "Program Files" so I found my way of creating a customized install disc. I simply extracted my whole install disc into a folder, used notepad to create a file called WINNT.SIF in the i386 subdirectory, where I entered the following:

Code:
[Unattended]
TargetPath=\W
ProgramFilesDir="\Prg"
CommonProgramFilesDir="\Prg\~C"

[GuiUnattended]
ProfilesDir="%SystemDrive%\Usr\"
I then extracted the boot header and simply used Nero to create a new bootable project, and voila, the new, customized XP install disc was made. Now the installation put default directories the way I want them to. It's awsome.

Now, yesterday, I decided to "step up the game" and try Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 7 (I've completely skipped the "Vista era", never ever had it installed, barely taken a look at it, darn shitty excuse for an OS). So, the OS looks pretty descent, but the folders does not appear the way I want them to.

So, if some enthusiast could please tell me the simplest way to proceed here? I guess copying that old WINNT.SIF into an extracted copy of the W7 install is out the question.

I've looked around (Google), but I found the documentation not fully satisfying. It seems like there is mostly advanced guides for whole-network-domain-installations, using some ~gigabyte large util pack called "WAIK" or whatever. Seems like a real mess. I would like just being able to push a text document someplace, and have it instruct the install to use different standard paths. I've heard about the following four filenames of interest:

autounattend.txt
autounattend.xml
unattend.txt
unattend.xml

Which of these ones are correct? It is said that I shall put the file in the root of the installation tree. Is this correct? Will the installation disc automatically detect either of these files and act according to its values? Some articles says that you need to go through some sort of boot disk and start the installation manually by eg. "win32install.exe /u:textfilewithsettings.txt" , or something like that. Seems like a mess, please tell me that this is not the case.

Gah, it seems like my wish is harder to achieve in Windows 7 than in my favored old Windoze XP, pity, awrgh. Or(!), it's just me not having my facts straight -- yet :)

Hopefully some enthusiast here could shed some light on this one.

NOW, after having downloaded WAIK documentation, I believe I've found the correct lines for half of my desired settings. It goes like this:

Code:
<FolderLocations>
   <ProfilesDirectory>%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Usr</ProfilesDirectory>
   <ProgramData>%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Prg</ProgramData>
</FolderLocations>
Juding from this documentation (unattend.chm), it seems like the possibility to change installation directory (from default \Windows\) is deprecated since Vista. I guess I'll have to suffice. After all, "Program Files" and "Document and settings" is the ones I've found most disturbing. However, also the possibility of changing the "Common files" directory seems to be deprecated, at least I can't find any information in unattend.chm! :/

I would be glad if someone could validate/confirm/dismiss this fact.

Oh, finally..
Would it be okey if I just put the XML data above in eg. unattend.txt, or am I missing any required XML headers? If someone who knows things for a fact could drop the correct ".xml answer file" it would be just awsome.

Ty in advance! :)
 
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catilley1092

Win 7/Linux Mint Lover
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Gew, welcome to the forum! I know that with XP Pro, you could do unattended installs, but have never seen the first piece of documentation that you can do the same with Windows 7. If it were possible, and that's a big if, it would probably be with the Enterprise edition. In theory, it would seem to be easier than with XP Pro, but haven't seen anything yet. You may want to take a look at Windows 7 Enterprise site, to see what's possible. If you couldn't do it there, some files would have to be modified, and that may be possibly breaking the EULA that you agreed to when installing 7. You can't modify the software to suit your needs, it's distributed "as is", meaning that you are merely purchasing a license to use the software the way it's intended. The OS is never truly yours, the license that you are granted (by purchase) is yours. But you would think that for industrial and large corporations (as well as schools and hospitals), there would be what you're looking for. To have to install computer by computer would be a huge task. I hope that you find an answer to your issue.
 
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Gew

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Thank you for the answer! :)

It seems like only a matter of getting it right though, it is fully possible. Recent information tells me that you could actually just put autounattend.xml on a SD card / USB memory, and your original Windoze installation disc will automatically detect and parse it. If this is true, I only need to get my answer file right. This is what I've come up with so far:

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
<settings pass="oobeSystem">
<component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup"
publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral"   versionScope="nonSxS"
processorArchitecture="x86">
<FolderLocations>
<ProfilesDirectory>%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Usr<ProfilesDirectory
<ProgramData>%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Prg</ProgramData>
</FolderLocations>
</component>
</settings>
</unattend>
So, now I lay this question out for all you experienced enthusiasts out there. If I put the code above in an UTF-8 encoded text document called autounattend.xml, and lay it in the root folder of my FAT32-formated USB stick, and then boot up with my OEM W7 install disc, will setup automatically detect and parse my answer file?


I'm thankful for all answers,
Regards~
G.
 

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