Friday 17 January 2020

E2B v1.B9b (with bugfix for unattend answer file error when installing Windows)

Alexander reported a problem with E2B v1.B8.

When using an E2B USB Flash drive (removable type), after the Windows Setup 'copy files' stage had completed and the system reboots, if you allow it to boot directly from the internal hard drive, you will see an error message:

'Windows Setup encountered an internal error while loading or searching for an unattend answer file.'

It turns out this was due to a change I made in E2B v1.B8.

The problem was that I filled the \Unattend.xml file (which is not needed for Win 7/8/10 NT6 installs) with 0x00 bytes instead of 0x20 bytes (spaces). It seems Windows Setup does not like an XML file with non-ASCII bytes, including 00 bytes.

The issue should be fixed in E2B v1.B9b Beta or later versions.

I did not discover this during testing for two of reasons:

1. If you reboot back to the E2B menu after the 'copy files' phase, then E2B will re-write the \Unattend.xml file with the correct contents. I habitually did this and then used F7 to reboot from the hard disk for the second stage so I didn't see the issue.

2. The \Unattend.xml file is only read by Setup if the USB drive is a 'Removable' type. Because I mostly test under a VM or using a USB SSD, Setup did not read the 'bad' \Unattend.xml file and so I saw no error!


  1. Oh bother. I didn't check the blog first, and I'm updating from 1.B8 to 1.B8A, having thought that would be new enough.

    I see another update in my future... :-)

  2. Oops: the beta's aren't installer packaged. Is it possible to do an upgrade to that?

    My carry drive is a 128G, I probably don't have room on my desktop machine to back it up prior to clean install...

    1. Betas are in zip form. Just unpack and run \Make_E2B.exe and click on Update E2B button.

    2. There is no difference between 1.B8A and 1.B9g unless you are using it to make a new USB drive.

  3. I like the second answer even better. I updated my drive to 1.B8A but hadn't retried the Win 10 install (which failed with the Internal Error).

    Thanks for the clarification. Still lovin' the tool.

  4. And indeed, 1.B8A did not fail the install. Though I may have picked the wrong 10 to install, as it won't take my 7 Pro key. Oops.

    Have you written a thing on your version numbering protocol?


    2. Install Win10 Pro using generic Win10 Pro key.
      Then try activating using Win7 Pro key (must be Retail key not OEM).
      Else buy a Win10 Pro key from eBay for $5!