Install Windows 7 with WAMK through network

This blog is about the installation of Windows 7 through network with the help of Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK). If you are working as system administrator in big corporate company, it is really monotonous job to install Windows operating system through CD. In my working environment, I have worked with Windows Automated Installation Kit for fast and reliable installation of Windows 7 on workstations.

Prerequisites:

1. Windows AIK Software (It is in ISO and you can download from this link)

2. Two computer (One Technical Computer and Reference Computer )

3. One memory stick.

Install Windows AIK software in your technical computer. It is very easy to install and run on normal workstation having Windows 7.

Step 1: First you need to make “Autounattend.xml” answer file with the help of Windows AIK.

Q. What is Autounattend.xml answer file?

A. An “answer file” is an XML-based file that contains setting definitions and values to use during Windows Setup. In an answer file, you specify various setup options, including how to partition disks, the location of the Windows image to install, and the product key to apply. You can also specify values that apply to the Windows installation, such as the names of user accounts, display settings, and Internet Explorer Favorites. The answer file for Setup is typically called Autounattend.xml or Unattend.xml.

  • Open Windows System Image Manager of Microsoft Windows AIK
  • Provide “install.wim” of your Windows 7 under the tab of “Windows Image”
  • Create new answer file

In the case of auto unattended, you need to be careful during partition. I worked for single partition of disk, so my .xml looks like this:

       <DiskConfiguration>
                 <Disk wcm:action="add">
                     <CreatePartitions>
                         <CreatePartition wcm:action="add">
                             <Extend>true</Extend>
                             <Order>1</Order>
                             <Type>Primary</Type>
                         </CreatePartition>
                     </CreatePartitions>
                     <ModifyPartitions>
                         <ModifyPartition wcm:action="add">
                             <Active>true</Active>
                             <Format>NTFS</Format>
                             <Label>System</Label>
                             <Letter>C</Letter>
                             <Order>1</Order>
                             <PartitionID>1</PartitionID>
                         </ModifyPartition>
                     </ModifyPartitions>
                     <DiskID>0</DiskID>
                     <WillWipeDisk>true</WillWipeDisk>
                 </Disk>
                 <WillShowUI>OnError</WillShowUI>
             </DiskConfiguration>

After you modify your OS according to your wish, then you can save Autounattend.xml in your memory stick/pendrive.

I suggest you to have a look on this video for detail setting of Answer file

Step 2: Reference Installation

Now bring your reference computer in front of you. Put your Windows 7 DVD(which you are planning to duplicate on every remote PC) on it along with memory stick which contains answer file.

Note: Put the name of answer file always as Autounattend.xml

  • Start your reference computer having DVD-ROM as first boot priority. Windows 7 Setup  will begin automatically. By default, Windows Setup will search the root directory of all removable media for an answer file Autounattend.xml.
  • After completing your installation, you can see the changes that you have made in your answer file in Step 1 is similar to your refresh installation. For example, in my answer file my C drive was labeled as System. You can confirm on the base of it. It will make you sure that all the setting has been deployed according to your answer file.
  • Now run Sysrep (System Preparation Tool) from command prompt in administrator mode as:
     C:\> %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\sysprep
    
     C:\Windows\system32\sysprep>sysrep

  1. Select Enter System Out Of Box Experience (OOBE) from the System Cleanup Action list
  2. Select Generalize
  3. Select Shutdown from the Shutdown Options list
  4. Click OK

or you can type: c:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /generalize /shutdown

Step 3: Creating a Windows bootable PE Media

Now come back to your Technical computer again, then

  •  Open “Deployment Tools Command Prompt” under Microsoft Windows AIK (Remember it to open on administrator mode)
  • Then, run following commandcopype.cmd <architecture> <destination>For example,
    copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe_x86
    
    copy c:\winpe_x86\winpe.wim c:\winpe_x86\ISO\sources\boot.wim
    copy "c:\program files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" c:\winpe_x86\iso\ (copy imagex tools)
    oscdimg -n -bc:\winpe_x86\etfsboot.com c:\winpe_x86\ISO
    c:\winpe_x86\winpe_x86.iso

Extract this .iso file and copy to your memory stick.

Step 4: Capturing Installation to your network

Now again come back to your reference computer.

  • Insert your memory stick having extracted iso file and start your computer. Remember to boot your computer from USB.
  • Now capture the image of reference computer using Imagex Tool by following command:
    D:\imagex.exe /capture C: C:\myimage.wim "my Win7 Install" /compress fast /verify
  • Now copy image in your network location
    net use n: \\server\share\
    md Images
    copy C:\myimage.wim N:\Images

Final Step: Installing image on destination computer

  • Then, insert the same memory stick in your destination computer where you need to setup fresh operating system and restart it.
  • Boot from the USB drive. New windows appears as before:

  • Copy the image from the network share to your local hard drive of destination computer:
    net use n: \\server\share\

It will ask for the network credentials for appropriate access. Provide it as:

Username: domainname\username

Password:  *********

  • After providing credentials, a final step for copying the image:
         copy N:\Images\myimage.wim C:

(Note: The drive of your destination computer may be different, in must case it seems to be D as C work for recovery drive)

  • It may take some time from 5 to 15 minutes to copy depending upon the network. Then, apply the image to the hard drive by using the ImageX tool located on your Windows PE media of memory stick as:
    D:\imagex.exe /apply C:\myimage.wim 1 C:

(Note: D: is your name of USB drive, it may vary)

  • Now use BCD boot to initialize the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store and copy boot environment files to the system partition as:
    C:\windows\system32\bcdboot C:\windows

 Now your custom image is now deployed onto your destination computer. The computer is ready for user.

Thank you for reading my blog

Regards,

Udhyan Timilsina.

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