Attempting to create an autounattend.xml file for work

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Image via CrunchBase

 

Starting with this website tutorial I’m attempting to create a working config file that will allow me to install new Windows 7 Professional installs without having to interact or click any buttons.

 

http://sergeyv.com/blog/archive/2009/12/17/unattended-install-of-windows-7.aspx

 

Seems pretty useful so far as Sergey provides an example autounattend file that I’m using as a template for my own. I particularly like his RunOnce registry additions. This makes it so much more useful than just simply being an answer file to the base OS install. True it is annoying that questions that come up through successive reboots during the specialize pass on a Windows 7 fresh install. But this autounattend file does a whole lot of default presetting behind that  scenes, and that’s what I want when I’m trying create a brand new WIM image for work. I’m going to borrow those most definitely.

 

I also discovered an interesting sub-section devoted to joining a new computer to a Domain. Ever heard of djoin.exe?

 

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Dd392267.aspx

 

Very interesting stuff where you can join the computer without first having to login to the domain controller and create a new account in the correct OU (which is what I do currently) and save a little time putting the Computer on the Domain. Sweet. I’m a hafta check this out further and get the syntax down just so… Looks like there’s also a switch to ‘reuse’ an existing account which would be really handy for computers that I rebuild and add back using the same machine name. That would save time too. Looks like it might be Win7/Server2008 specific and may not be available widely where I work. We have not moved our Domains to Server 2008 as far as I know.

 

djoin /provision /domain to be joined> /machine /savefile blob.txt

 

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd391977(v=WS.10).aspx (What’s new in Active Directory Domain Services in Windows Server 2008 R2: Offline Domain provisioning.

 

Also you want to be able to specify the path in AD where the computer account is going to be created. That requires knowing the full syntax of the LDAP:// path in AD

 

http://serverfault.com/questions/22866/how-can-i-determine-my-user-accounts-ou-in-a-windows-domain

 

There’s also a script you can download and run to get similar info that is Win 2000 era AD compliant: http://www.joeware.net/freetools/tools/adfind/index.htm

 

Random Thoughts just now: I could create a Generic WIM with a single folder added each time and Appended to the original WIM that included the Windows CAB file for that ‘make/model’ from Dell. Each folder then could have DPInst copied into it and run as a Synchronous command during OOBE pass for each time the WIM is applied with ImageX. Just need to remember which number to use for each model’s set of drivers. But the description field for each of those appended driver setups could be descriptive enough to make it user friendly. Or we could opt just to include the 960 drivers as a base set covering most bases and then provide links to the CAB files over \\fileshare\j\deviceDrivers\ and let DPInst recurse its way down the central store of drivers to do the cleanup phase.

 

OK, got a good autounattend.xml formulated. Should auto-activate and register the license key no problem-o. Can’t wait to try it out tomorrow when I get home on the test computer I got setup. It’s an Optiplex 960 and I’m going to persist all the Device Drivers after I run sysprep /generalize /shutdown /oobe and capture the WIM file. Got a ton of customizing yet to do on the Admin profile before it gets copied to the Default Profile on the sysprep step. So maybe this time round I’ll get it just right.

 

One big thing I have to remember is to set IE 8 to pass all logon information for the Trusted Sites Zone within the security settings. If I get that embedded into the thing once and for all I’ll have a halfway decent image that mirrors what we’re using now in Ghost. Next steps once this initial setup from a Win7 setup disk is perfected is to tweak the Administrator’s profile then set copy profile=true when I run Sysprep /generalize /oobe /config:unattend.xml (that config file is another attempt to filter the settings of what gets kept and what is auto-run before the final OOBE phase on the Windows setup). That will be the last step in the process.

 

 

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Author: carpetbomberz

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