Unattended installations rely on an answer file to provide setup information that is usually provided through manual user input. Answer files can be created manually using a text editor or by using the Setup Manager Wizard (SMW).
SMW is located on the Windows XP Professional CD in the \SUPPORT\TOOLS folder in a file called DEPLOY.CAB. Extract these to a folder on your hard drive. SMW allows for creation of a shared Distribution Folder and OEM Branding. If you had a CD in drive D:\ and an unattended installation answer file named salesans.txt in C:\, you could start your install with this command: D:\i386\winnt32 /s:d:\i386 /unattend:c:\salesans.txt
There are five levels of user interaction during unattended installs:
- Provide Defaults: Administrator supplies default answers and user only has to accept defaults or make changes where necessary.
- Fully Automated: used mainly for Win2000 Professional desktop installs. No user interaction is required.
- Hide Pages: users can only interact with setup where Administrator did not provide default information. Display of all other dialogs is suppressed.
- Read Only: similar to above, but will display information to user without allowing interaction to pages where Administrator has provided default information.
- GUI Attended: user has some interaction with the setup program. Text mode is automated; user must respond to screens in the setup wizard.
When performing an unattended installation using the XP Product CD, you must name your answer file winnt.sif and place it in the root directory of a floppy disk inserted into drive A: of your computer. Setup will automatically locate this file and process.
The sysdiff tool for installing software applications during unattended installations is not supported in Windows XP. You will need to use Group Policy to deploy software or a software management tool such as Systems Management Server.
You can enter the CD product key manually under the [UserData] section of the answer file: ProductID="XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX"
You can activate a retail version of Win XP under the [Unattended] section of the answer file: AutoActive=Yes
A record of the actions you have taken to carry out an automated installation of Windows XP can contribute towards your log book for this unit. You must keep copies of any setup files or scripts created.
Next: Creating UDF Files