Windows 10 unattend.xml (sysprep answer file) challenge



  • Hi everyone,

    I’ve been a huge proponent and user of FOG for close to 10 years starting with Windows XP. My beef is that it seems Microsoft (what a surprise) has changed the core structure of unattend.xml with the version of sysprep for Win 10.

    I’m reaching out to those using FOG with Win 10 for some assistance. In prior versions of sysprep it used to be that one can auto-name (use * for machine name) the PC and auto-join it to the domain all within the xml. Now I read some craziness about having to run power shell scripts and how the naming step is AFTER the joining step in sysprep and stuff like that.

    Do you use sysprep with FOG for auto naming and auto joining your Win 10 PCs? If yes how did you solve that sysprep craziness?

    Thank you!



  • @Boyan-Biandov I also have basically re-used my Win7 unattend, though I did run it through the Win10 SIM to validate it. The only place I put it is in C:\Windows\Systems32\Sysprep folder. However, I have had the “Windows could not parse…” error and in looking at the setuperr.log in C:\Windows\Panther\UnattendGC folder (this one is different than the setuperr.log in C:\Windows\Panther, I don’t recall how though), it pointed me in the general direction of the <ProductKey>xxx</ProductKey> entry in “Specialize” pass. I ended up removing all product key entries and don’t have the error anymore. I have never really used audit mode, I just enter product key during installation and run “c:\Windows\System32\SLMGR.VBS” /ato" to re-activate after imaging (in setupcomplete.cmd). Good luck!

    Edit: Forgot to mention that it always seemed to me that the unattend in C:\Windows\Panther was a post-sysprep record with all the sensitive data removed from the file by Windows as it processed it. I never before ran into any instructions to put it both places so I never have. Now if someone could tell me how they make the Win10 Default User profile keep the pinned icons on the taskbar I’d be the happiest camper alive.



  • Hi,

    i also use the xml outside the sysprep folder:

    /unattend:c:\pathtoxml\unattend.xml
    

    Regards X23



  • @Psycholiquid I did see it in your script but I have NEVER put it in \panther just the \sysprep as you posted your command so maybe your habit saved you from facing my “challenges” lol


  • Testers

    @MRCUR I actually put it in both out of habit, if you look at my scripts, (I think I have them posted) I delete the xml from both locations. But again this is habit form doing it for so many years.


  • Testers

    @Boyan-Biandov Hmm, that’s really odd. The unattend file I posted is what I still use today on brand new installs of 10586 (the Nov update) and I place the file (named unattend.xml) in C:\Windows\system32\sysprep - that’s it, nowhere else. Below is the sysprep command I execute (I run this from C:\Windows\system32\sysprep):

    sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:unattend.xml
    


  • @MRCUR said in Windows 10 unattend.xml (sysprep answer file) challenge:

    @Boyan-Biandov That’s the directory that sysprep is actually run from & where logs are sent. I don’t believe the directory location is your issue.

    You’ve been super patient so I really want to thank you for that and I don’t mean to contradict every post, I mean it. So it was exactly that, I had to copy my xml file to BOTH locations and then everything worked. Either I’m nuts or nobody had tested the November build of Windows 10 Pro ISO (the one that comes with SP1 integrated so to speak; version 1511 build 10586.420) to discover all those regularities. The ISO is MAK license specific (not retail) straight off eOpen under an EA (same key, few thousand activation allowed). I’ve monkeyed with sysprep for a decades and this is the first I see crazy crap like this :)


  • Testers

    @Boyan-Biandov That’s the directory that sysprep is actually run from & where logs are sent. I don’t believe the directory location is your issue.



  • @Psycholiquid

    Thanks, driver I don’t know about but there’s definitely something that baffles me: why would it look for the xml in this directory? I’m stumped on this one…Do you all have to copy the xml file to both locations before running sysprep against one of the copies?

    2016-07-09 08:11:52, Error                        [oobeldr.exe] User input error was detected in unattend file. Error: [0x0]
    2016-07-09 08:11:52, Info                  IBS    UnattendErrorFromResults: Hit an unattend error; dumping any info we have about the failure...
    2016-07-09 08:11:52, Info                  IBS    UnattendDumpSetting: ------Unattend setting error / warning------
    2016-07-09 08:11:52, Info                  IBS    UnattendDumpSetting: Error code = 0x8030000b
    2016-07-09 08:11:52, Info                  IBS    UnattendDumpSetting: Pass = oobeSystem
    2016-07-09 08:11:52, Info                  IBS    UnattendDumpSetting: Component name = [Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup]
    2016-07-09 08:11:52, Info                  IBS    UnattendDumpSetting: --------------------------------------------
    2016-07-09 08:11:52, Info                  IBS    UnattendErrorFromResults: Error text = Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [C:\Windows\Panther\unattend.xml] for pass [oobeSystem]. The settings specified in the answer file cannot be applied. The error was detected while processing settings for component [Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup].
    

    0_1468078294086_fog3.png


  • Testers

    @Boyan-Biandov Your image has a driver it doesn’t like if you are getting that, for the most part I don’t really audit mode anymore. I do what I need to do in Windows and go straight to OOBE from there makes it cleaner and easier to deal with. I am still using the same XML I have posted here and it still works so you might want to check your drivers.

    Always keep in mind that you can get past that by hitting Shift F10 sometimes and running Explorer. Then you can check the Setup,log in the Panther folder to see what is happening.



  • @MRCUR Thanks for the XML, it does open up in SIM but produces this when tested in the real world:

    0_1468039541208_SIM.png



  • @Psycholiquid

    You did it with Audit-Mode?


  • Testers

    My sysprep on Windows 10 LTSB is around 3 mins max. But it is a very clean image.


  • Moderator

    @boeleke said in Windows 10 unattend.xml (sysprep answer file) challenge:

    Sysprep on w10 is taking so long… Longer then w7 , how is this with you guys?

    I know it does take quite a while, but I’ve never timed it. I will typically start sysprep and then go do something else while it runs. When I come back the vm is powered off. I can say the speed of sysprep is dependant on if you are running on a vm vs physical hardware (phy hardware has more drivers) and if you are deploying all of the bloat ware vs a clean image.



  • Hi there all,

    i tried a couple of times a sysprep on w10.
    Sysprep on w10 is taking so long… Longer then w7 , how is this with you guys?


  • Moderator

    @MRCUR said in Windows 10 unattend.xml (sysprep answer file) challenge:

    @Arrowhead-IT You have to be on the network selection screen in OOBE to get into audit mode. (I know this is completely non-obvious - it’s a very MS thing to do.)

    MS should watch themselves… If they keep making things more and more difficult, and Linux distros keep making things more and more easy… well then… You know. :-)


  • Moderator

    @Arrowhead-IT That’s because Audit mode is triggered by sysprep which only runs if the apps make it past the checks, it’s stupid, but hey.


  • Testers

    @Arrowhead-IT You have to be on the network selection screen in OOBE to get into audit mode. (I know this is completely non-obvious - it’s a very MS thing to do.)


  • Testers

    @MRCUR Oooh, cool. However it wouldn’t let me enter audit mode either until I found this script. I did read something about using audit mode to get rid of modern apps, but I had to remove them to get to audit mode.


  • Testers

    @Arrowhead-IT You can remove the “Modern” apps in audit mode so you don’t run into any issues. See here: https://forums.fogproject.org/topic/6720/image-windows-10-upgrade/5


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