Step 4 - Creating a Basic Unattended Setup

An answer file is a way to script the answers for a series of graphical user interface (GUI) dialog boxes. An answer file also tells Setup how to interact with the $OEM$ distribution folders and files you create, and supplies Setup with all of the information that the end user would provide during a typical Windows Setup.

With the XP SP2 Deployment Tools you downloaded, simply extract them to a folder, or double click on the Cab file. The only files you will need is setupmgr.exe and ref.chm:

Unattended XPCD

The Setup Manager (setupmgr.exe) is a wizard-based answer file creation utility, so you won't come across too much difficulty in using this application. To start you off, make the following choices:

Having done that, accept the Licence Agreement, then fill in all the boxes as you would during Windows XP Setup. If you come across a section that you don't understand, then ignore it. Windows XP will use whatever default option there is for that section.

When you've finished, it creates a file called unattend.txt. Since we are going to run Setup from a CD we need to rename this to WINNT.SIF. Be sure that the file DOES NOT end up as WINNT.SIF.TXT. It MUST NOT end in .TXT

» I want to manually control my partitioning and formatting options...

If you prefer to manually choose a partition during text-mode setup with full control on choice of file system, then make sure you have these lines set as they are under the [Data] and [Unattended] sections in winnt.sif:


If you want to automate this process with exact specifics on drive letters, partition sizes and file systems, you may want to consider using Bart's PE and diskpart.

» Where does the winnt.sif file go?

Copy winnt.sif to the I386 directory within the local setup source folder you created in Step 1.

» Additional Information

Refer to the Reference page, or read through ref.chm to see how you can add extra options to your winnt.sif file, such as asking Setup not to install Windows Messenger 4.7 and MSN Explorer 7.

Submitted by Unknown.
Last updated 2006-12-02 18:44:57 by Unknown