Unattended Windows Installs (answer files, etc.)

You can specify your own unattend.xml file for Easy2Boot to use (Vista/WIn7/SVR2K8R2/Win8/Server2012) or unattend.txt files (XP).
 
Note:  If you delete all .xml files from the Vista/7/8/SVR2012 folders, then the default internal E2B unattend.xml will be automatically used and the user will not be prompted to select an xml file. The default .xml file does NOT perform an automated install or affect any install settings, it just loads the ISO as a virtual DVD so that Windows Setup can access files within the ISO.
 

Using the 'Install XP from an ISO using WinPE' Menu option

Add your answer file (unattend.txt or winnt.sif format) to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder.
Any name ending in .txt will work.
Use the 'Install XP from an ISO using WinPE' menu option and you will be able to select it from a list
You can automate the entire install by using an answer file in this way, or just some parts of the install.
 
There is an example XP_EeePC_Auto_UK.txt file already present. 
 
Tip: if you don't use this WinPE process to install XP ISOs at all, you can remove the menu entry for it by deleting the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP\WINPE_INST.TAG file.
 

Using the 'Install from ISO using Step 1/Step 2' (DPMS) Menu option

Place your answer file (unattend.txt or winnt.sif format) in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder and name it with a .SIF file extension (e.g. fred.sif)  - the filename for the .sif file must be in 8.3 format (no long filenames).
 
Note: There are example files in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder.
Just name your XP ISO Winxp_32_sp3.iso - it will use Winxp_32_sp3.ISO.AUTO and EeePC.SIF (and at the end of the Stage 2 install, it will run EeePC.sif.cmd.
 
Create a new text file with a .ISO.AUTO file extension in the same folder, with the following contents (fred.sif is an example name only):
 
XP_PRO_SP3.ISO.AUTO
!BAT
   set WINNT=fred.sif
 
If the .AUTO filename is exactly the same as the ISO that you picked, then it will automatically be selected (e.g. XP_PRO_SP3.ISO.AUTO is picked automatically if the ISO selected was XP_PRO_SP3.ISO).
 
If you want to be able to select a variety of different .AUTO files for the same ISO file, then use a \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file and add the line:
   set PICKAUTO=YES 
to it.
Note: The MyE2B.cfg file must start with !BAT on the first line.
 
You will then be prompted to select from all the .AUTO files that are in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder when you run Step 1 of the XP install. 
If you have only one .AUTO file for XP installs then that will be picked by default. These files do not have to end in .ISO.AUTO, just xxxxxxxxxx.AUTO will do.
 
Notes:
.SIF files must have a filename of 8 or less characters.
You do not need to use .SIF as the file extension, you can use .TXT but the filename must be 8.3 in format (no long filenames).
.SIF files and .AUTO files must be in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder (the path is hard-coded)
.AUTO filenames can be any length
If you want a specific unattend file to be used with a specific ISO, name the AUTO file with a matching xxxx.ISO.AUTO filename, i.e. ending in .ISO.AUTO.
If you have a matching AUTO file for the ISO that you selected AND you have set PICKAUTO then you will be asked to select from the AUTO files - if the user aborts the selection, no .SIF file will be used.
 

Example 1 - Auto-selection (one SIF file for one ISO)

\_ISO\WINDOWS\XP
  XP_PRO_32.ISO
  XP_PRO_32.ISO.AUTO   (contains set WINNT=EeePC.sif)
EeePC.SIF
  EeePC.SIF.CMD              (optional - see below)
 
Assuming PICKAUTO is not set, when installing XP_PRO_32.ISO the EeePC.sif file will be used.
 
Note: You can test this by naming your XP Pro Sp3 ISO file as Winxp_32_sp3.ISO, this will then use the sample Winxp_32_sp3.ISO.AUTO, EeePC.SIF, and EeePC.sif.cmd files which are already pesent in the download. At the end of the WIndows install process, the EeePC.sif.cmd file will be run which will list the files in the root of the E2B USB drive (do NOT remove the E2B USB drive until you have rebooted 4 times or the EeePC.sif.cmd file has run successfully).
 

Example 2 - User selection of an unattend file

\_ISO\WINDOWS\XP
  XP_PRO_32.ISO
  XP_PRO_32_EeePC.AUTO   (contains set WINNT=EeePC.sif)
EeePC.SIF
  EeePC.SIF.CMD                   (optional - see below) 
  XP_PRO_32_Dell530.AUTO   (contains set WINNT=D530.sif)
  D530.SIF
  D530.SIF.CMD                      (optional - see below)
 
If PICKAUTO=YES in the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file, then the user will be asked to choose either XP_PRO_32_EeePC.AUTO or XP_PRO_32_Dell530.AUTO.
If PICKAUTO is not set to any value, then no .SIF file will be used because there is no XP_PRO_32.ISO.AUTO file.
 

Running a script after GUI Mode Setup has rebooted

Just before the 'Remove FiraDisk driver (Y/N)?' message appears after the end of GUI mode setup reboot, it is possible to auto-run a .cmd file of your choice. 
That file could xcopy a large folder from the USB drive to the hard disk and then start an automated install of applications or drivers.
 
To do this, the file in the XP folder must be have the same name as your .SIF file but have a .SIF.CMD file extension.
 
The contents of the .SIF.CMD must be kept small (just a few lines as shown below) and should call another .cmd file which is also present on the USB drive (e.g. Install.cmd) - this second file (e.g. Install.cmd) can be as large as you like:
 
\_ISO\WINDOWS\XP\EeePC.SIF.CMD (keep as small as possible)
 :: %1 has the USB drive letter
 set USBDRV=%1: 
 call %USBDRV%\_ISO\MYDRIVERS\EeePC\Install.cmd
 
Of course, your USB drive will need to be still connected when the 3rd reboot after GUI Mode Setup has fiished.
The Install.cmd file on the \_ISO\MYDRIVERS\EeePC folder of the E2B USB drive (in this example) could then copy across a large folder from the USB drive to the target hard disk and then execute a script/batch file on the target hard disk. You will need to make the folders and batch file code inside the Install.cmd file yourself. The folder can be anywhere you like on the USB E2B drive.
 

Unattend.txt\Winnt.sif format

Answer files such as Unattend.txt and Winnt.sif files have the same format. You can set entries to automatically partition and install XP.
 
If using a .SIF file with the DPMS XP install process however, you must set
    OemPreinstall=No
in the .SIF file. If you use OemPreinstall=Yes  then you will get an error message about missing files at an early stage.
 
An example .SIF file is included in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder. Be sure to copy the OemInfFiles sections into your own .SIF files - otherwise you won't get the 'Remove FiraDisk driver' prompt at the end and the automated xxxxx.SIF.CMD process will not run.
 
 
 

Unattend.xml files for Vista\Win7\SVR2K8R2 installs

Add your own unattend.xml files into the appropriate folder and you can choose one when prompted. Any name ending in .xml will do.
If you want to specify a product key for Win7 installs, copy the Sample Win8 Pro.xml file to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\Win7 folder, rename it and change the product key to your own key.
 
Tip: A really easy way to generate a basic XML install file for Win7/8/8.1 online is here. The use the XMLtoE2B.exe conversion utility to add the LOADISO RunSynchronous code + other tweaks.
To make an XML file - read my blog page here.
 
IMPORTANT: You must also add the special E2B RunSynchronous entry to your .XML file (see below for details). If you don't, then the blue console LOADISO window will not run and the ISO will not be loaded - Windows Setup will then complain about a missing CD drive driver as it will not be able to see the DVD (ISO)! Note that you need two entries (x86 and amd64) if you want to use the xml file for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows install ISOs.
 
Loadiso.cmd will prompt you to repair the drive - if you don't want this prompt, change all occurences in the RunSynchronous XML portion from  LOADISO.CMD to LOADISONP.CMD (v1.68+).
 
If you don't want the 'Press a key to boot from CD/DVD' prompt, you must remake the Windows ISO and delete the \boot\bootfix.bin file (later versions of E2B will modify the ISO for you automatically!)
 
If you use a configuration set in your xml file, include the path to the drivers folder - see here for details of how to set a variable which can be used in an XML file.and place the drivers folder on the USB drive - e.g. \drivers\video, \drivers\audio, \drivers\net, etc.
 
If you want to use the drivers inside the ISO file, try using %USBDRIVE%\drivers\      (note there is a \ after %USBDRIVE%) or use %E2BDRIVE% for the driveletter of the USB drive that contains E2B (e.g. F:\drivers == %E2BDRIVE%\drivers). These are set when LOADISO runs.
 
Note: I have not personally tested the configset driver path setting. You may have to define the path. e.g. F:\drivers>/Path>  but the drive letter must match the USB drive that contains your drivers which will vary from system to system!

 

Unattend.xml files for Win8\SVR2012\Win10 installs

Some XML files are already included. The AutoWipe XML files will wipe your hard disk 0 without warning and are fully automated.
 
The SDI_CHOCO XML files are used with the SDI_CHOC feature (E2B v1.82+) to automatically install drivers and applications. See here for more details.
 
If you or your company use your own unattend.xml files to automate installs, then you can add them into the correct folder and they can be selected instead of the default ones.
 
If you have a Windows 8 or 10 unattend.xml, then you should also define a 5x5  (29 character) product key in your .xml file, otherwise Setup will report an error.
 
IMPORTANT: You must also include the special RunSynchronous entry that Easy2Boot requires to your .XML file. If you don't, then the blue console LOADISO window will not run and the ISO will not be loaded - Windows Setup will then complain about a missing driver as it will not ba able to see the DVD (ISO)!
 
See here for details of what can go in an xml file to automate the installs.
 
Note:  If you delete all .xml files from the Vista/7/8/SVR2012 folders so there is no choice to be made, then the default unattend.xml will be automatically used and the user will not be prompted to select an xml file.
 

Modifying User Unattend.xml files to work with Easy2Boot

Your xxxx.xml files must contain both x86 and amd64 RunSynchronous entries to run LOADISO.CMD if the same .xml file is to be use for both 32 and 64-bit ISOs.
 
The RunSynchronous entries for LOADISO or LOADISONP must go in the settings pass="windowsPE" section of the .XML file under component name="Microsoft-Windows-Setup".
For Win8 you will also need to specify a product key - see \_ISO\e2b\firadisk\aiWin8.xml for an example.
 
There is a YouTube video here (see 2nd half) on how to add the RunSynchronous section to your own XML file.
 

Note: You must balance the XML text - every  "" section must be closed with a  " ending section. See here for more details.

If you already have  a Microsoft-Windows-Setup component enty in your XML file, then add in the E2B RunSynchronous section (don't add another section of the same name).

Tip: in case of trouble, look in the log file X:\Windows\Panther\Setupact.log. The lines after

'Logging new OS to BB'
 
should report a AutoUnattend.xml file found.
 
2014-12-22 18:06:35, Info       [0x07002e] DIAG   Logging New OS to BB
2014-12-22 18:06:35, Info                  IBS    Unattend: Setup is running in WinPE; will wait for removable storage devices to initialize before unattend search
2014-12-22 18:06:35, Info                  IBS    Unattend: Removable storage devices initialized; waited 0ms (status 0x00000000)
2014-12-22 18:06:35, Info                         [setup.exe] UnattendSearchExplicitPath: Found unattend file at [D:\autounattend.xml]; examining for applicability.
2014-12-22 18:06:35, Info                         [setup.exe] UnattendSearchExplicitPath: Found usable unattend file for pass [windowsPE] at [D:\autounattend.xml].
2014-12-22 18:06:35, Info                  IBS    Callback_Unattend_InitEngine:Using unattend file found at [D:\autounattend.xml].
 

You may find the Unattend.XML generator here very useful - but you must add in the RunSynchronous code used by E2B afterwards (note that it needs to be added in twice, once for x86 and once for amd64 sections).

 
More details are available on my blog page here.
 
The Windows utility XMLtoE2B.exe will convert the output of the Windows Answer File Generator to the correct format for an automated install. 
It is available on request, to anyone who has made a donation of £10 or more. I will include a licence file to make it fully functional.
 

Note: This does not add the SDI_CHOCO RunSynchronous lines. You must add these in yourself.

 

Installing Windows 7/8/10 from an ISO

When you install from an ISO using an XML file, you may want to add files and folders to the default set of Windows files.

You can modify the \sources\install.wim file inside the ISO, however, you can instead copy files and folders from your USB drive to the Windows installation by adding the another XML section into the 'Specialize' pass of the XML file (i.e. after Setup has copied the Windows files and booted into Windows). See the blog for details.

An alternative is to use SDI_CHOCO to install drivers and applications automatically.





More Info