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  1. #1
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    MSFN's Unattended XP CD

    Anybody had any experience with MSFN's Unattended XP CD?

    "Have you ever wanted a Windows CD that would install Windows by automatically putting in your name, product key, timezone and regional settings? And have it merged with the latest Service Pack to save time? Followed by silently installing all your favourite applications along with DirectX 9.0c, .Net Framework 1.1 and then all the required hotfixes, updated drivers, registry tweaks, and a readily patched UXTheme.dll without any user interaction whatsoever? Then this guide will show you how you can do just that!"

    Sounds pretty niffty on paper. Comments?

    Alan

  2. #2
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    Re: MSFN's Unattended XP CD

    I tried this recently on an XP Home system reinstall, although didn't go as far as the author suggested. I merely created a streamlined install CD with SP2, created an answers file and removed a few of the Windows applications, (paint, games etc - nothing controversial). One of the good things it allows, (which, to be fair, any unattended install with a correctly written answers file will do, although I couldn't get the syntax right previously) is allow the Documents & Settings folder to be created on another disk. This makes backups a doddle and safeguards your data if the OS gets screwed. (Why MS didn't make this easier to do from the get go I've never understood).

    The option of folding in all of the patches and updates since SP2 was released was attractive but I lost patience with the time required to download everything. I stopped short of adding Office, .NET, DirectX etc, but, theoretically, you can create a bespoke bootable DVD for each machine you have, (with minor changes for CD-Key, machine name, prime UserID etc), that will install and leave you with a complete, usable, bespoke system.

    It took a couple of passes through NTLite before I got an installation CD that worked, (they give good advice when suggesting burning to a CD-RW first), but, on the whole, I was pleased with the results.
    Regards,

    Steve

    "A good friend will help you move; a really good friend will help you move a body"

  3. #3
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    Re: MSFN's Unattended XP CD

    Thanks for the feedback Steve. I only have 98SE installed at the moment, but it seems (at least in principle) that it would be possible to do something like this from any working Windows O/S. Some of the tools he mentions may be O/S specific perhaps? e.g. nLite supports Windows 2000, XP x86/x64 and 2003 x86. There are "manual" alternatives though, that don't seem to require a specific O/S. Would it be viable for me to follow the general procedure for an XP Pro install disk, from 98, do you think?

    Alan

  4. #4
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    Re: MSFN's Unattended XP CD

    My first stab at this was entirely manual, following instructions for unattended installs found on the Microsoft support site. I was already using XP at the time, however. Logically, it shouldn't matter what file system your OS uses because, when the answers file is written and the whole thing is burned to make a bootlable CD, it takes on the file system of the CD-ROM. I found it to be an iterative process, however, (I had a spare machine to practise on, fortunately), so, if anything, the point about using CD-RW applies in spades if you choose this option.

    I may still have some links to useful sites giving tips and instructions for unattended installation on my home PC. I'll look tonight and post them here if I find any.
    Regards,

    Steve

    "A good friend will help you move; a really good friend will help you move a body"

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