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Unattended installation using USB stick


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I created an unattended installation of XP (plus updates and apps) for my organisation some years back that we still use (with frequent updates of course!) using DVDs and CDs.

However, I would like to check out whether it can be done via a USB stick now they are cheaper and of larger capacity.

I cannot seem to find any definitive info on this, there are some ideas out there but nothing solid.

As it is to be used by users in the organisation it needs to be as simple as the disk version i.e. pop the disk in, boot PC, press a key, go for a cuppa, then come back to find it done.

Can this actually be done?

Cheers,

Phil.

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I am keen to know - have experimented but the only USB sticks I can make bootable are the Dell ones (M-TECH?) and the largest one I have is a 256MB which isn't large enough. I have a couple of Kingston 1GB sticks which I am trying to get to boot and perform an unattended install of XP. Anyone have any luck?

Thanks! :thumbup

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Check my FAQs too:

http://home.graffiti.net/jaclaz:graffiti.n...SB/USBfaqs.html

All sticks from Kingston should be bootable.

If the HP utility, for any reason does not work, you can try using either PetoUSB or Makebootfat:

http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=13784

Or any of the "workarounds" suggested on my page:

http://home.graffiti.net/jaclaz:graffiti.n...B/USBstick.html

jaclaz

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I created an unattended installation of XP (plus updates and apps) for my organisation some years back that we still use (with frequent updates of course!) using DVDs and CDs.

However, I would like to check out whether it can be done via a USB stick now they are cheaper and of larger capacity.

I cannot seem to find any definitive info on this, there are some ideas out there but nothing solid.

As it is to be used by users in the organisation it needs to be as simple as the disk version i.e. pop the disk in, boot PC, press a key, go for a cuppa, then come back to find it done.

Can this actually be done?

Cheers,

Phil.

Hi Phil.

This can be done by using the Vista version of WinPE.

Which would mean using an image of the HDD, rather than installing the OS.

And would also involve some scripts to automate the proccess.

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I'm just wondering if it wouldn't be easier for the OP to net/pxe-boot a WinPE, map a share from a fileserver and start the setup from there instead of carrying around a USB-Stick. It's easier to handle for updates (you only have to update the installation share instead of X USB drives) and PXE boot is afaik a common and well-working feature today, while USB-drives still produce incompatibility issues now and then.

However, if there are reasons for using a USB-drive, I don't want to sound like complaining about the OP using that.

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Hi Jaclaz,

Yes, the process is the same.

But by using a .wim image, you can add just about any driver combo you can think off, plus you can inject new drivers into the image as and when there released.

Also, if you sysprep the system before you image it.

Anytime you use that image, it will almost be the same as doing a clean install.

Its fair more flexible than a normal restore/recovery cd, but it is still limited by the hardware architecture.

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Because this will be for the users in my organisation to use (some of whom are hardly the most IT literate people!) it really does need to be as simple as the disk version so they can stick it in and press a key then do nothing else.

It does seem that currently it cannot be done with a USB stick, an exact replica of the disk version.

I am not actually familiar with WinPE, so maybe I can have a dig around.

I have considered using the server but some of our branches are small and don't actually have them. And some of the branches that do have servers do not have large hard disks (they are pretty old, but hey, I work for a charity so beggars can't be choosers!) so taking up a load of room isn't feasible.

Phil.

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Its fair more flexible than a normal restore/recovery cd, but it is still limited by the hardware architecture.

Yes, what I meant was that unlike a well made "universal install CD", the WinPE solution will probably imply having several different disks for several different "type" of machines that usually are scattered around in a work environment.

This, while being unconvenient enough when we are talking about CD's, becomes, as I see it, not a very viable solution when we come to USB sticks(s).

Otherwise one might need to realise something more like this COMMERCIAL prog does:

http://www.binaryresearch.net/products/the...imaging_utility

Which however (imaging rather than unattendedly installing) is a time-saving method in Corporate environments.

It does seem that currently it cannot be done with a USB stick, an exact replica of the disk version.

Yes, it CAN be done, as explained in one of the links I gave you before.

The problem that still has to be resolved is that the USB stick made along method 4) must be re-generated after each use, see this also:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=92644&st=4

If you're looking for a one click solution, then you are right, it CANNOT be done.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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@Phil,

Sounds like your in the same boat as me. :hello:

I do IT, Admin for local Community Centres, Youth Clubs, and other Charities in the area.

And if the hardware your dealing with in donated like most of the stuff I deal with, I don't think we'll ever have a better solution than the Unattended CD. ;)

Give WinPE a try, you'll suprised what it can do.

I've only been using for a few months, but I think I'll be moving over to it fully soon.

@Jaclaz,

Like I said above, WinPE has suprised me with what it can do.

I have two .wim images on a DVD [1x IntelP4, 1x AMD64] which can be started from either a Floppy or USB drive.

I've used them on over 30 PC's so far with only 1 failure.

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