Friday, 4 April 2014

New XP unattended install feature for E2B v1.32

The next release version of E2B 1.32 will have a new feature which will allow the user to select or automatically use an unattend.txt answer file (or winnt.sif file) with the XP Install ISO that is picked by him/her. This was previously only possible using the WinPE method of install, but now you can do it using the 2-Step DPMS install method too.

You can either have one specific unattend.txt file for each XP ISO file which will be automatically used, or you can configure E2B so that it prompts you to manually select an unattend file from a list of files. This means you can auto-install to a hard drive, however if you specify any extra driver files or other files in the unattend answer file for XP Setup to copy, this probably won't work (unless you add them into the ISO).

E2B will copy your answer file to the F6 virtual floppy disks and rename it to winnt.sif so that it is automatically picked up during the start of XP Setup. Due to the way this works, the DOS floppy can only contain 8.3 filenames and so the .sif files must be of 8.3 format too. However, the file that the user picks from a list is actually a batch file with a .AUTO file extension and this file can be of any filename length.

For full details, see here.

I will place a TEST version in the Downloads area as usual.

P.S. Rev2 - You can now also run a .cmd file from the USB E2B drive automatically after installation. This .cmd file can call another .cmd file on yourUSb drive to complete the installation by 'xcopying' over a large folder from your USB drive to your target system and then running a script to install drivers and applications. You must write the copy code cmd file and add the installation folder yourself.

Note: Although you should re-boot back to the E2B drive after Step1 and select Step 2, I have found that this is not always necessary and you can allow the system to boot from the hard disk after Step 1.