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Creating a Windows XP auto-install disc Part 1

#1 User is online marko

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    Posted 29 October 2008 - 02:46 PM

    I thought I'd start the ball rolling with my own article on how to go about creating a windows xp disc that will automatically install itself for you, rather than the usual pants on enter this here, click that, wait, wait, wait, enter some more, choose that option, enter again blah blah. This article will let you create what we call an "answer file" which you can integrate into your CD which will, well, answer the setup questions for you and so freeing you up to do other things like drink beer, drink beer and drink beer :lol:.

    OK, first things first, what we need to do is take your XP disc and copy the entire contents of it to your hard drive. Make a folder first, say in your "C:" drive and call it something like XPCD then copy the entire contents of the CD into that folder. Once you've done that you should now see some files and folders such as "cmpnents", "DOCS", I386" and so on. Open up the folder "I386" and inside that folder create a simple text file called "WINNT.txt". Open the file up and copy and paste the following into it ...

    [Data]
            AutoPartition=1
            UnattendedInstall="Yes"
            AutomaticUpdates=yes
            MsDosInitiated=No
    
    [Unattended]
            UnattendMode=DefaultHide
            OemSkipEula=Yes
            TargetPath=\WINDOWS
            Repartition=Yes
            UnattendSwitch="yes"
            WaitForReboot="No"
            KeyboardLayout="United Kingdom"
            Hibernation=No
            OemPreinstall=Yes
            DriverSigningPolicy=Ignore
            NonDriverSigningPolicy=Ignore
            
    [GuiUnattended]
            AdminPassword=*
            EncryptedAdminPassword=NO
            OEMSkipRegional=1
            OEMSkipWelcome=1
            TimeZone=85
    
    [TapiLocation]
            CountryCode=44
            Dialing=Tone
            AreaCode=0000
    
    [UserData]
            ProductKey=XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
            FullName="Authorised User"
            OrgName="N/A"
            ComputerName=MYPC
    
    [RegionalSettings]
            LanguageGroup=1
            SystemLocale=00000809
            UserLocale=00000809
            InputLocale=0809:00000809
    
    [Networking]
            InstallDefaultComponents=No
    
    [Identification]
            JoinWorkgroup = XPBUILD
    
    [Components]
            hypertrm=off
            iis_asp=off
            iis_internetdataconnector=off
            iis_serversideincludes=off
            iis_webadmin=off
            iis_webdav=off
            licenseserver=off
            msmsgs=off
            msnexplr=off
            oeaccess=off
            templates=off
            zonegames=off

    Now remember, because I'm from the UK I use the options for the UK such as my regional settings although you would obviously wish to use the settings appropriate to your own country. MSFN have a great section all about unattended windows installations and you can find more about the options for the above file HERE.

    The above file will automatically format your computers hard drive so please use it with caution!. If you want to be prompted at the setup stage for which partition to use or format change the "AutoPartition=1" to "AutoPartition=0".
    The load of XXXX in the file represent your own windows xp licence key which should be affixed to the computer itself or somewhere in the pack you received when you bought your PC.

    The above file will also create an admin user with no password and so will automatically log you on after it's finished. The "Components" section can be used to tell the setup that you want certain services or components switched off by default. The reason you would do this is to avoid unecessary services running on startup and slowing down the PC, although again this is purely up to your own individual taste's and further examples can be found on the MSFN link above. If you don't want any of the components removed simply delete the entire "Components" section and everything under it's heading.

    So, now you've created your WINNT.txt file it's time to save it. Once you've saved it we now actually need to rename it to "WINNT.sif". The icon itself should change when you do this, although if it doesn't you may need to turn on "extensions" to see the ".txt" bit of the file. To do this, with your I386 folder still open, navigate up to the explorer toolbar and hit "Tools" then "Folder Options". Then, hit the "View" tab and look for where it says "Hide extensions for known file types" and make sure this is UNTICKED. Press OK all the way back out and now look at your "WINNT.txt" file. Rename it if it didn't go to plan the last time and make sure it reads "WINNT.sif" and nothing else after it. So now you have your "WINNT.sif" file and it should be in the "I386" folder, right?

    OK, time to get all those files back onto a disc. The easiest way to do this is to simply start up your burning software and drag all the files inside your "XPCD" folder into your burner. Burn the disc and try it out. If all went well you should have an XP disc that installs itself, although this is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unattended setups such as this. You can go even further and have programs automatically install themselves after the initial xp setup is done as well as integrate driverpacks which will install drivers for most hardware although alas I fear it is beyond the scope of this article so I will leave that for another article but remember to check out MSFN's pages as you will find all that and more there.

    Part 2 - Integrating drivers to your XP disc

    Happy installing :lol:
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    #2 Guest_Guest_*

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    Posted 11 November 2008 - 12:43 PM

    wow thanx for this, i tried one time before using msfn but couldnt really follow it but this was easy!
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    #3 User is online marko

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      Posted 11 November 2008 - 12:51 PM

      Glad it helped :lol: I'm working on getting another part up about integrating drivers into the CD now, should hopefully have that done by the end of the day !!
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      #4 User is offline soumalya

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        Posted 03 July 2009 - 09:30 AM

        Sir


        thanks for this info. I tried as u said. 1. I copied all the files from windows xp cd 2. I create WINNT.sif. the copy all these files in cd and burn as data disc. but when I start booting from cd its not working.

        then i create bootable cda nd its start bootinf from cd rom and the it asks{DR-DOS A:\>.

        help me to solve please.


        Thanks in advance


        Soumalya
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        #5 User is online marko

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          Posted 03 July 2009 - 01:37 PM

          Soumalya, hi and welcome to the site - I can't be sure but I think the method of burning is maybe wrong. An alternative way of burning the files to disc is using an ISO creator to first collate the files into an ISO file and then use the correct option on your burner to burn an ISO file. You can use any of the ISO creators on our site, but here's one for your convenience: https://freewarebb.com/Free-ISO-Creator-28-file5701.html

          Once you have created your ISO file, it's simply a matter of burning that image to disc using your burning software, and most burning software have an option to burn ISO's. Remember also to make sure the "AUTORUN.INF" file is present as this is what will 'autoboot' the disc. If it's not there, create one and put the following inside it

          Quote

          [AutoRun]
          open=setup.exe
          icon=setup.exe,0


          Hope that helps :P
          Marko
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          #6 User is offline soumalya

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            Posted 04 July 2009 - 04:58 AM

            View Postmarko, on Jul 3 2009, 01:37 PM, said:

            Soumalya, hi and welcome to the site - I can't be sure but I think the method of burning is maybe wrong. An alternative way of burning the files to disc is using an ISO creator to first collate the files into an ISO file and then use the correct option on your burner to burn an ISO file. You can use any of the ISO creators on our site, but here's one for your convenience: https://freewarebb.com/Free-ISO-Creator-28-file5701.html

            Once you have created your ISO file, it's simply a matter of burning that image to disc using your burning software, and most burning software have an option to burn ISO's. Remember also to make sure the "AUTORUN.INF" file is present as this is what will 'autoboot' the disc. If it's not there, create one and put the following inside it



            Hope that helps :P
            Marko


            Sir

            Thanks for your reply.

            is there anyway to install client from server directory without using any media on client amchine . I have dhcp and ads server on in one server.
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            #7 User is online marko

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              Posted 04 July 2009 - 06:24 AM

              If you have DNS running on your server too you could install the client using RIS (Remote Install Service), I've only ever messed with this briefly in the past but here's an in-depth article on how to do just this ...
              http://www.learnthat.com/Certification/lea...70-Free/page/8/
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              #8 User is offline soumalya

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                Posted 04 July 2009 - 10:30 AM

                Thanks again.

                let me start as your link.

                I wiil get back to you.
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                #9 User is offline soumalya

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                  Posted 06 July 2009 - 03:10 AM

                  Sir

                  its working from server but it takes full disk to create c drive. I cant make partition line c and d drive.

                  help me please.
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                  #10 User is online marko

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                    Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:38 AM

                    soumalya, usually it's a case of specifying parameters within the sysprep.ini file, such as "ExtendOemPartition = 10000 ( in MB)" and then "Repartition = No" and "UseWholeDisk = No" although it really is impractical for us to try and explain this in any great detail here as there is possibly more involved and it has been some time since I dealt with RIS so it's entirely possible things have changed. If you do a search on google for "Microsoft RIS partition" you will find sites dealing specifically with RIS installations who are able to provide the answers to your questions much easier. Hope that helps :P
                    Marko
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                    Posted 03 September 2009 - 10:35 PM

                    I'm not into Vista and still insist on using xp for my 3 home computers which I used to reinstall every month, basically I keep all my data seperate and like to keep all 3 computers as standard as I can but it was a pain rebuilding them but I used your guide marko and I cant believe how easy it is now to do this. Basically I just made 3 copies and I run them all at the same time, leve them for about an hour and jobs done - brilliant! Thanks again
                    Stef
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