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Clarification of a Scripted Installation

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As I posted previously, I come from the school of W2k3 scripted unattended installations. We like the flexibility of changing on the fly.

Now, What should I be focusing on with Either Vista or Server 2008 for scripted unattended installations via a network share.

In the past I created the $oem$ and $$ and $1 directories and put all the information in there.

I have been reading about configuration sets, but I am not quite sure I 100% understand this.

I basically have network shares that usually store our source files globally, so how can I do this with Windows 2008?

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This involves windows PE, and imagex to make an installed image and capturing the image then storing it on the network share and using PE on the destination computer to map to the NETSHARE and load the destination computer.

$oem$ folders are still supported but Microsoft recomends imagex to add data to the install.wim file.

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Thanks for replying to me...

Now can you help me understand if I am using let's say Altiris to deploy images via scripted installation and not image based. So I am lauching

setup.exe /unattend:unattend.xml

what should I be looking at most to allow for the most flexibility of adding new hardware.

I want to try not to update the install.wim file itself, but be able to add flexibility.

For example, with our old windows 2003 builds we dynamically find out our mass storage drivers based on hardware and then dynamically write the unattend.txt file on the fly and launch the installation.

I don't see this as a viable solution for w2k8.

All your help is much appreciated.

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with inf drivers simplest method is just mount the image, inject the drivers

next week a new line of PC's and needs a few more drivers

mount the image, inject the drivers

by storing them on the base image it works with all as long as the size don't exceed then you ok

really don't know about that Altiris

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I appreciate your advice. I am a believer of leaving the base WIM intact b/c by creating a process that injects drivers into the WIM file doesn't quite allow for the flexibility.

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I have just started down the Vista path myself but am familar with the .wim structure.

What you can look at is creating your driver injection into a wim file containing multiple index's i.e. appended drivers.wim. As I have done with my XP installs.

Since Vista is .WIM based and basically a sysprep'd image when you lay down the install.wim you can also then by index lay down the driver.wim pertaining to the PC that you are trying to install on.

As long as you are using WinPE to boot you can use a WMI script to determine the PC and then apply the correct drivers.wim index.

Here is a script I use to determine the PC based on Manufacturer System ID.


On Error Resume Next

Dim objWMIService, colItems, objItem, sLen

Const wbemFlagReturnImmediately = &h10

Const wbemFlagForwardOnly = &h20

Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:\\.\root\CIMV2")

Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery("SELECT * FROM Win32_BaseBoard", "WQL", _

wbemFlagReturnImmediately + wbemFlagForwardOnly)


' Getting the SYSID of the PC


For Each objItem In colItems


' Remove "h" from SYSID string as some PCs have an h and some don't


If Ucase(Mid(SYSID,sLen,1)) = "H" Then


End If




If you don't care about the 'h' character then change the scripting to just grab the SYSID.

I hope this helps,


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$oem$ folders are still supported but Microsoft recomends imagex to add data to the install.wim file.

I haven't seen that documentation, but i personally am not a fan of injecting into the install.wim file. To me that doesn't allow the flexibility of a true scripted installation...

I am toying with the idea of using imagex and capture the associated drivers per hardware platform in WinPE and haveing a generic driver folder in the audit pass for PNP drivers.

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"Use Data Images Rather Than $OEM$"

"The recommended way to add data such as additional drivers or applications is to create a data image and to set the DataImage settings in Microsoft-Windows-Setup for that image. For details on creating a data image, see Create a Data Image.

"Although $OEM$ is still supported, it is no longer the preferred method".

"Do not overwrite existing files in the OSImage settings. DataImage is used only to add files. You can use DataImage to add data to an existing partition outside the OSImage."

(Taken from Unattended Windows Setup Reference)

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Exactly... Maybe my terminology is off, but that is exactly what I was stating before. I am moving towards DataImages. From what i read from your post, it sounds like you are taking the install.wim file and injecting stuff into them.

$oem$ folders are still supported but Microsoft recomends imagex to add data to the install.wim file

That is not my understanding of DataImage. My understanding of Dataimage is you create a custom WIM file and associate it in your unattend.xml file. Once the system comes up, the files get extracted to the root of the systemdrive. In my opinion, it doesn't touch the actual source, install.wim.

Now the tricky part is how to dynamically create a dataimage and then associate it in your unattend.xml file.

How does that sound?

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  • 4 weeks later...

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