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An answer file (or unattended file) can be used to modify the Windows settings in your image during installation. You can also create settings in the image that trigger the script to run after the user first creates an account and selects their default language.

To learn about Windows customization, see the Windows 10 version 1607 OEM Policy Document (OPD).

In the example, we will add a setting to explain how to automatically boot into a maintenance mode called audit mode. This mode allows you to perform other tests and capture changes. We will use the audit mode in the next few experiments.

Although you can set many Windows settings in audit mode, some settings can only be set using an answer file or a Windows image and configuration designer (ICD), such as adding manufacturer's support information. For a complete list of answer file settings (also known as unattended settings), see Unattended Windows Setup Reference.

Enterprises can use Group Policy to control other settings. For more information, see Group Policy.

We will add more methods for adding settings later in Lab 10: Adding Desktop Applications and Settings Using Orphaned Provisioning Packages (SPP).

You can specify which configuration stages to add new settings in:

1 windowsPE: These settings are used by the Windows installer. If you are modifying an existing image, you can usually ignore these settings.

4 specialize: Most settings should be added here. These settings can be triggered at the same time in audit mode and OOBE. If you need to make multiple updates or test setups, generalize the device again and then add another batch of settings to the Specialize configuration stage.

6 auditUser: Run immediately after starting audit mode.

This is the appropriate time to run the system test script - we will add Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\\RunAsynchronousCommand as an example. For more information, see Add Custom Scripts to Windows Installer.

7 oobeSystem: Use with caution. Most of these settings are run after the user completes OOBE. The one exception is the Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\\Reseal\\Mode=Audit setting, which we will use to bypass OOBE and put the computer into audit mode.

If your script depends on knowing which language a user selects during OOBE, add it to the oobeSystem stage.

For more information, see Windows Setup Configuration Phase.

Note If the user resets the computer using the built-in recovery tool, these settings may be lost. To learn how to ensure that these settings are kept on the device during a reset, see Sample script: Keeping Windows Settings with Recovery.

Step 1: Create a Catalog File

Start the Windows System Image Manager.

Click File \u0026gt; Select Windows Image.

In Select Windows Image, browse for and select the image file (D:\\install.wim). Next, select a version of Windows (for example, Windows 10 Professional) and click OK. Click Yes to create the catalog file. Windows SIM creates the file from the image file and saves it in the same folder as the image file. This process may take several minutes.

The catalog file is displayed in the Windows Image pane. Windows SIM lists the configurable components and packages in this image.

Troubleshooting: If Windows SIM did not create a catalog file, try the following steps:

To create a catalog file for 32-bit or ARM-based devices, use 32-bit devices.

Make sure that the Windows base image file (\\Sources\\Install.wim) is in a folder that has read and write permissions, such as a USB flash drive or hard drive.

Step 2: Create an answer file

Click File \u0026gt; New Answer File.

The new answer file will appear in the answer file window.

Note If you open an existing answer file, you may be prompted to associate the answer file with the image. Click Yes.

Step 3: Add New Answer File Settings

Add OEM information:

In the Windows Image pane, expand Components, right-click amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_(version), and select Add Settings to Stage 4 specialize.

In the answer file pane, select Components\\4 specialize\\amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_neutral\\OEMInformation.

In the Settings section of the OEMInformation Properties pane, select:


Create a 32-bit color with a maximum size of 120x120 pixels, save it as a C:\\AnswerFiles\\Fabrikam.bmp file on your local computer, or use the example from USB-B:.

We will perform several steps to copy the logo to the windows 10 usb backup image image.

Set the device to automatically boot into audit mode:

In the Windows Image pane, expand Components, right-click amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Deployment_(version), and select Add Settings to Stage 7 oobeSystem.

In the answer file pane, select Components\\7 oobeSystem\\amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Deployment_neutral\\Reseal.

In the Settings section of the Reseal Properties pane, select Mode=.

Prepare a script to run after the audit mode starts.

In the Windows Image pane, right-click amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Deployment_(Version) and select Add Settings to Phase 6 auditUser.

In the Answer File pane, expand Components\\6 auditUser\\amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Deployment_neutral\\RunAsynchronous. Right-click the RunAsynchronousCommand property and click Insert New AsynchronousCommand.

In the Settings section of the AsynchronousCommand Properties pane, add the following values:

(Identify the order in which the commands run, starting with 1.)

Add a registry key. In this example, we added a registry key for the OEM manati Windows Store program. Use to add, the same process as adding a script.

For Windows 10 client systems, you can use the OEM App Store ID alone, or use it with the Store Content Modifier (SCM) to identify the OEM store's OEM brand. By adding SCM, you can target customer systems at a more granular level. For example, you may choose to treat commercial devices differently from consumer devices by inserting the consumer and commercial brand's unique SCM into these devices.

Add RunAsynchronousCommand for each registry entry to add. (Right-click the RunAsynchronousCommand property and click Insert New AsynchronousCommand.)

Activate Windows by adding a product key:. Please refer to the Kit Guide Win 10 Default Manufacturing Key OEM PDF to find the default product key for OA3.0 and non-OA3.0 keys:


Faster initial startup by maintaining driver configuration while capturing the image:,.

Set Internet Explorer default search engine: Create the RunAsynchronous command as shown above to add the registry key:

Set Internet Explorer search scope: see scope


Save drive space by reducing or closing the hibernation file. Hibernation files help reduce the time that the system starts up or returns from a power-saving state to a normal state. Create the RunAsynchronous command as shown below. For more information, see Compression Operating Systems, Single Instance Storage, and Image Optimization: RAM, Pagefile.sys, and Hiberfil.sys


Step 4: Save the answer file

Save the answer file, for example spokesmen C:\\AnswerFiles\\BootToAudit-x64.xml.

Note Windows SIM does not allow saving answer files to the mounted image folder.

Step 5: Create a script

Copy the following sample script into Notepad and save it as C:\\AnswerFiles\\SampleCommand.cmd.

Step 6: Mount the image

Use the steps in Lab 3: Adding Device Drivers (.inf-style) to mount the image. Short version:

Open a command line as an administrator (Start \u0026gt; Type Deployment \u0026gt; Right-click Deployment \u0026 Imaging Tools Environment \u0026gt; Run as administrator).

Make file backup ()

Mount the image (, then)

Step 7: Add an answer file

Copy the answer file to the \\Windows\\Panther folder of the image and rename it unattend.xml. If the folder does not exist, create it. If you have an existing answer file, replace it as needed or use the Windows System Image Manager to edit/combine the settings.

Step 8: Unmount the image

Close all applications that may access files from this image.

Submit changes and uninstall the Windows image:

Where C is the drive letter of the drive that contains the image.

This process may take several minutes.

Step 9: Apply the image to a new computer Using the steps in Lab 2: Deploying Windows using a script, copy the image to a storage USB disk, apply a Windows image and recovery image, and boot the image. Short version:

Copy the image file to the storage drive. Use a Windows PE U disk to boot the reference device to Windows PE. Find the storage drive's drive letter (). Apply the image:. Disconnect the drive and restart it ( ).

Step 10: Verify Settings and Scripts

If your audit mode settings are valid, the computer should automatically launch into audit mode. After entering audit mode, your script should start automatically.

In File Explorer, check to see if the file C:\\Fabrikam\\DxDiag-TestLogFiles.txt exists. The SampleCommand.cmd sample script works if it exists.

Keep the computer up to audit mode to continue with the following experiment:

Next Steps: Lab 8: Adding a Brand and License Agreement (OOBE.xml)

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