Thursday, 28 August 2014

Adding Unattend.xml files to Windows 7/8 Install UEFI .imgPTN images in E2B

If you want to install Windows Vista/7/8 etc. in MBR\CSM mode, you can just copy the Windows Installer ISO to the correct E2B USB folder, and you can copy over your own Unattend.xml files to the same E2B folder. E2B will then allow you to pick any one of these XML files so that the Windows install uses the correct Product Key (which is required by Win8), or is semi-automated or even full-automated, depending on what is in your Unattend.xml file.

However, if you use MakePartImage to convert the Windows Installer ISO into a partition image (.imgPTN file) so that you can both  UEFI- and MBR\CSM-boot from it, you will not have any of the E2B features to choose your own XML file or automate the install.

I have therefore detailed some instructions here on how to add your own AutoUnattend.xml file to a partition image .imgPTN file.

If you are using an E2B Removable type of USB Flash drive, then you just need to copy the AutoUnattend.xml file to the root of the image. However, if your E2B USB drive is a Hard disk or 'Fixed disk' type, then this will not work because Windows only auto-detects a \AutoUnattend.xml file on removable media like Flash drives, floppy disks (remember those?) or DVDs.

Instead we need to tweak the files inside the \sources\boot.wim file.

If you follow the instructions, you can even offer the user a choice of XML files to use before Windows Setup runs.