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Possible creating an unattended in removable drive


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Hi,

I know this forum only talks about the unattended CD. I have a little dilema in which we have 10 computers of our clients doesn't have a CD Drive and but have an external USB Hard Drive connected. How does one create an unattended installation for Windows XP if it is possible. What are the modification do I need to do on my working unattended CD setup? Thanks.

-Kenneth

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You must determine if the computer supports booting from a USB device. If not, then your out of luck. Check the BIOS under the Boot options.

If it does then setting up a boot partition and creating an unattended install should not be difficult. I have a USB hard drive and will play around to see how it works. (My BIOS supports booting from a USB device).

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Thanks tcsdoc and aaronxp for replies.

6 of the systems can be booted from the USB Hard Drive. The other 4 systems cannot but have a floppy drive. There is always a workaround. My ideas is to boot it off from a floppy drive and then run Windows Setup unattended from the USB Hard Drive. Can this be done?

Another reason that I would like to install it from a removable or external drive is so that I can easily modify the unattended files without going through thte compiling and burning of a cd. I personally have a nice external drive but not bootable thought.

If anyone can shed some lighton this... I really appreciated. Thanks.

Why does Microsoft make life so hard? I mean what is the main difference between btw CD and Non-CD unattended setup beside it is bootable and not bootable.

-Kenneth

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I don't yet know if it will work using a computer with a bios that allows booting from a usb device, but i would think so.

However the first problem i see you having with your floppy drive is the usb drivers, when you start windows from a floppy the setup is not going to be able to read the usb drive as there arent any drivers loaded. maybe they can be added at the f6 part of the install if you have them that is.

let us know as this is one of my next projects, only i want to use a usb pendrive for the media. :)

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Here's my recommendation. You put that drive in as a secondary in another system. Using a network boot disk you boot to the network and connect to that drive. You can then launch the setup from there. Or, you can use RIS. Someone else mentioned it earlier, but I believe that they were under the impression that you HAVE to use RIS for a network install, and this is not true. One of my job functions is administering a RIS server and it's images. This is the best option for multiple installations, but I don't know if 10 PCs is enough to justify it. Good Luck!

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ok here goes my response it is totally diffrent soloution to any listed here and is probobly not at all related but you will get yourr results.

on the computer with cd drive totally format, then from dos or winpe copy the i386 folder and run setup from dos ie C:\i386\winnt.exe dont forget to run smartdrv first after all the files have been copied to the temporary folders and before the GUI of setup starts ghost an image to the USB HD because ghost supports usb devices, then simply use your ghost floppy and usb device to ghost your remaining machines the machines will then carry on with setup you will be able to setup your network and install your programs.

Hope this is of some help and makes sense to people other than myself.

Jono

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The only problem i can see with that is the HAL, Is it not created/set during the txt setup stage.

If so then unless you are installing to the same exact harware (in which case u may as well use a full ghost image) you could run into problems.

But you could use this method to copy all the files over to the hard disk and then start the install from the HD.

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yeah he will be better off running setup from HD since 6 of the machines can boot from USB (hence these 6 machines are diffrent than the 4 that cant :)) or y not create two ghosts one for each this way you save a lot more time still.

or sysprep one install to detect the diffrent hardware.

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I was just about going to ask if it is possible to just copy the Windows Setup CD /i386 folder to the an external hard drive and then boot it from a bootable disk or bootable zip drive. Finally run the smartdrv and then winnt.exe to start the Windows Setup. That would be the best option that I have. We have a dos usb driver that will work. So that will not be a problem.

Normally I don't care about automating this 10 computers but they have decided to use this as testing machine that will need to regularly reinstall it. That's why I wanted to know how to use the unattended installation from an external hard drive instead of a CD.

I'll let you guys what the result is. I'll be doing within 2 weeks from now.

-Kenneth

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I have a working unattended cd setup. If I want to make an unattended installation using an external hard drive or a secondary hard drive or partition, what modification do you need to do on the unattended cd setup to make it to work? Do I just need to copy exact same cd setup over the hard drive and then modify the winnt.bat. Assuming it is using the winnt.bat. etc... Any tips on this as how to get started on this one?

-Kenneth

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way i figure it copy the entire contents of cd to root of your USB HD if running from that or to root of where your copy it, then it should run fine since winnt.sif is there just run winnt.exe from a dos prompt which you booted to via your floppy make sure you run SMARTDRV 1st.

i am yet to test this method but i am confident it will work failing that.

(DRIVE):\i386\winnt.exe /s:(DRIVE):\ /u:(Drive)\i386\winnt.sif

should start a unnattended installation from dos but i do not know if your extra OEM folder structure is copied but i see no reason y not.

Hope this is usefull to you.

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