In this guide I will show you how to create an automated / unattended windows xp install cd. The main benefit of creating this CD means you donít have to manually click on every screen to install windows xp. This can save you a lot of time if you have many PCs you need to build from scratch.
You can automate almost everything with this guide including which components to install / uninstall, Include tweaks in to your automated install. At the end of the guide I will also show you how you can include the latest windows xp service pack in this automated process, as well as including the latest windows hotfixes and even certain drivers such as RAID / SATA / SCSI. I will also show you how you can burn the install files to a usb drive so you can install windows xp from it.
Things you will need To Create an Automated / Unattended Windows XP Install CD
-Windows XP CD
-nlite Download from http://www.nliteos.com/download.html
Follow the below steps which will show you How To Create an Automated / Unattended Windows XP Install CD
1. First create a new folder on the root of your C: drive and call the folder "WINXP" Now put your windows xp install disk in to your CD drive, now browse to the drive and copy all of the files on the CD to the C:\WINXP folder you just created
2. Download the program nlite from the link above. Install nlite on your computer then launch the program. Select your language and click next. Then click on the browse button and browse to C:\WINXP and click on ok. Click next until you get to the task selection screen (Shown Below, PIC1). Now select the following components, the red circle on the left will turn green when you have selected it. Select Components / Unattended / Options / Tweaks / Bootable ISO, then click next
Please be aware it is also possible to automate the install of microsoft windows xp service pack 3, as well as installing the latest windows xp hotfixes and drivers, For more information on this please see the section below this guide in the "EXTRAS" section
3. "Compatibility Screen" will pop up, now put a tick next the programs you wish to install and press enter. Now go through every category and put a tick in the box for every component you donít want to install. When you are finished click next.
4. "Unattended Screen" (Shown below, PIC2) On the unattended screen select the type of unattended install you require, I recommend "Fully Automated" Next insert your product key and tick the box next to "Skip OOBE". Leave computer type to automatic, If you select the wrong option your computer might not boot.
Still in the unattended screen click on the runonce tab, now enter the command for anything you want to "Run Once" and hit add.
Click on the users tab. I would recommend to make sure the guest is not active, and maybe change the password to something like "^$*&^*%^ghyYEGER^&%^&%^" just to make sure noone will be able to hack there way in to your system. Change the password of the administrator user. Remember this password as this is the login + password you will use to log in to windows xp later.
OWNER AND NETWORK ID
Click on the owner and network id tab and fill in this information.
Click regional tab and select your regional settings. Make sure you select a time zone or the unattended install will prompt you for one.
Click on components tab, if you donít want to install IIS select "Don't Install"
on the display tab set the colour depth to what you wish, If you are rolling out this install to PCs with many different hardware configurations I would recommend setting this setting to the lowest setting so you know it will work on all machines. Again with the screen resolution and refresh rate I would recommend setting to its lowest level.
configure automatic updates if you wish to use them, if not I recommend to select disabled.
Add your themes here.
Configure your network settings here.
When you have finished configuring your settings click next.
5. "Options Screen" The 1st setting High Compression, If you plan to use a CD to burn this automated windows xp install to then select Enabled. All the install files will then be compressed saving you space and will then fit on to 1 CD. If you plan to burn this automated windows xp install to a USB drive select disabled, the files wont be compressed and will be accessed faster by the windows xp install. If you want to use USB instead of CD take a look in the extras section at the bottom of this guide.
Go through all the options and set them as you wish, Then click on the patches tab, Set the options in here as well if you wish. Click next when you are finished.
6. "Tweaks Screen" set the tweaks you want by putting a tick in the box, I recommend to enable the following tweaks
Boot and Shutdown
Auto end tasks immediately, auto-kill hung applications immediately, auto-kill hung services immediately, Do not parse Autoexec.bat,
Internet Explorer Icon Show, My computer Icon Show, My documents Icon Show, Recycle Bin Icon Show,
Classic Control Panel, Disable Beep On Error, Disable Search Assistant, Disable Web Files and Folders connection
Disable Outlook Express Link Creation, Set Internet Explorer To Accept 10 connects at a time.
Disable automatic search for network folders and printers.
Disable Info Tips on Files and Folders, Disable last access timestamp on files, Disable optimise harddisk when idle, Disable paging of kernal and core-os, Disable tracking of broken shortcut links, Do not cache thumbnails,
Be aware if you select "Clear pagefile at shutdown" this will add a few minutes on to the time it takes to shutdown your PC.
Clear most recently opened documents list on logoff, Reduce popup delay.
Windows Media Player
Accept Privacy Statement,
Next click on the Services tab, You can change how windows services start. I recommend disabling the following services if you can. To disable a service double click on it until it says disabled (Shown Below PIC3)
-Clipbook, If you disable this service you will not be able to copy and paste text / pictures and so on. Its up to you if you want to disable this.
-Computer Browser, This is used to keep a list of other computers on the network
-Error Reporting Service, Turn this off if you dont want errors to be reported.
-Event Log, All errors are written to an event log, if you disable this service nothing will be written to the log.
-IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service, If you disable this service you will not be able to burn CD-ROMs
-Indexing Service, This service should speed up access to frequently used files. In my experience it is not worth using it as it uses a lot of memory and slows down your whole system as a result.
-Messenger, If you disable this you will not receive any windows popup messages.
-Net Logon, This service is required if your computer is in a domain, If the computer is not in a domain disable this service.
-NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing, Disable this if you donít want to share your desktop with remote users (Support for example)
-Performance Logs and Alerts, This service logs the performance of your computer
-Print Spooler, If you donít print from your computer disable this service
-Remote Registry, If this service is disabled the computers registry can not be changed remotely.
-Server, If this service is stopped you can not share the files / printers on your system with others.
-System Event Notification, Logs events such as windows log on and off
-System Restore Service, If this is disabled you will not be able to restore your system should it encounter a critical failure.
-Task Scheduler, It is possible to schedule your system to perform tasks automatically, If this service is disabled the automatic tasks will not run.
-Telephony, If this is disabled you will not be able to use voice network connections such as modems and VOIP Voice Over IP.
When you are finished with the services click on next.
7. You will get a prompt "Do you want to start the process?" If all is ok click yes. The nlite program will start to compile your install files. When the compile has finished it will show a message saying "Finished Total size is xxx.xx MB" (Shown Below Pic 4) Click Next
8. Next give your build a label name, I gave mine "WindowsXP Unattended" then click on Make ISO (Circled Below in PIC 5)
You will then be prompted where to save the ISO file. Choose a save location and click on ok. The ISO will now be created, you will get the message "ISO Created Successfully!"
8. Now using your favourite CD-Burning program burn the ISO file to a CD. The CD will now be bootable. If you want to burn the ISO file to a usb drive and install windows xp from the USB drive take a look how to do it in the extras section after this guide.
9. Now put the CD in to the computer you want to install windows xp on to and boot to the CD. With some computers you can select which device you want to boot to on the POST screen, if you don't have that option you might need to go in to the BIOS and set the CD-ROM as the primary boot device.
10. Installing Windows XP. When you boot to the CD you need to setup the parition in which you will install windows XP on to. Delete all paritions and create 1 partition, then press enter to install windows xp (Shown Below Pic 6) on to this parition.
On the next screen select to format the partition with NTFS and quick format. Fingers crossed that is the only thing we will need to do. If you leave the machine for 30 mins or so windows xp should automatically install and boot to the desktop.
Extras For : How To Create an Automated / Unattended Windows XP Install CD
There are many extra things we can add on to the unattended / automated install, these include
-Automated install of Windows Services packs
-Automated install of Windows Hotfixes
-Automated install of Hardware Drivers
-Make a bootable USB drive with the windows xp unattended install
Adding Windows Service Packs to our unattended windows xp install
In the guide above at point 2 we select which components we want to configure, select the components as shown in point 2 but make sure you also select the "Service Pack" component (As shown below Pic 7) click next. Now go to the Microsoft website and download the windows xp service pack 3 .exe file and save to your computer. (I believe the filename of the service pack should be WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU.exe) Now in Nlite hit select and then browse to the SP3 file you just downloaded and double click on it. The SP3 file will now be extracted and added to the unattended install of xp. Now go to point 3 in the guide above and continue to follow the guide.
Adding The latest Windows xp hotfixes to our unattended windows xp install
The latest service pack for windows xp is service pack 3. To install the latest hotfixes you need to install windows xp service pack 3 first. So complete the section just above this one "Adding Windows Service Packs to our unattended windows xp install" but when you select the components and you select "Service Packs" make sure you also select "Hotfixes, Add-ons and Update Packs" click next, you will need to add the service pack 3 file first as per above. Then click next and you will get to the hotfix page.
You can download a zip file with lots of hotfixes included from the following locations
Download the file RVMUpdatePackSP3_22.214.171.124z and save it to your computer. You can see a full list of the hotfixes included in the zip file @ RyanVM's Windows XP Post-SP3 Update Pack
If you want to add more hotfixes download them from the microsoft website. They must be in .exe .cab .7z .zip .rar file extention. Now click on the insert button on the nlite screen and select first of all the RVMUpdatePackSP3_126.96.36.199z, then select any additional hotfixes you might want to include. Be very careful not to add hotfixes that are already in the RVM Update Pack, it is unnecessary and could also cause major problems. Now go to point 3 in the guide above and continue to follow the guide.
Adding The latest Windows xp hardware drivers to our unattended windows xp install
In the guide above at point 2 we select which components we want to configure, select the components as shown in point 2 but make sure you also select the "Drivers" component (As shown below Pic 8) click next. When you get to the page that says "Drivers" in the top left click on the insert button located bottom right of the screen. You can then add a single driver or multipule drivers. If you add a single driver you have to browse and double click on the .inf of the driver to add it to the unattended install list. If you select to add multipule drivers you can simply put all your drivers in one folder and then select that folder from the nlite program. When you are finished adding drivers click on next then go to point 3 in the guide above and continue to follow that guide.
Make a bootable USB drive with the windows xp unattended install
First of all you need to follow the above guide and make an ISO file. Make sure to include the latest service pack and hotfixes and hardware drivers if needed. Now we need to extract the .iso file in to a folder. If you have winrar installed open the ISO file and copy and paste all the files in the ISO file in to a folder on your hard-drive. I dont believe winzip can open ISO files, if not you can download and install winrar for free.
Now download a program called WinSetupFromUSB, you can find it if you google"WinSetupFromUSB download" Install the program, then put your USB drive in to your computer then run WinSetupFromUSB.
Under "Windows 200/XP/2003 Source" click on browse and browse to the folder where you just extracted the ISO to (Shown Below Pic9) and then click ok. Under "USB Disk Selection" select your USB drive then click on "HP Format Tool" and format your USB stick with fat32 file system. When the format has completed close the HP Format tool and then click on the go button. The program will now copy all the required files to the USB and will also make it bootable so you can install windows xp.
FAQ : How To Create an Automated / Unattended Windows XP Install CD
Please feel free to add any comments below, I will then updated this section with the most frequently asked questions.