March 6th, 2006, 04:09 PM
Installing Windows the EZ way- hands free!
This utility will let you do hands free installs of Win98 through WinXP. Two qualms I have with this utility:
1.) It seems you can only install Windows using a CD, as opposed to using the Win9x or i386 setup folder copied to a local drive which can be 3x faster.
2.) It requires a serial number be entered before installation of the OS begins, and in the case of some Academic versions of Windows (I have an Academic Win2k and WinXP CD that do not need serials) this is not needed and entering information here may compromise the install.
So for all you DIY'ers I'm also posting the method I use for doing unattended installs of Win2k and WinXP as well. I won't bother with Win98/ME since it can be installed in 15 minutes with today's hardware. For an unattended install, you need two files: an autoexec.bat, and unattend.txt. There are much more intricate ways of doing unattended installs involving the sysprep and setupmgr utilities, but I'll let you read up on them. For a crash course on doing unattended installs for Win2k.XP check out Axcel 216's site . Don't follow his unattend.txt sample word for word as several of the options (notably his autoexec.bat file) have been syntaxed wrong, and quotes do not need to be placed around every answer. For a complete guide with all options explained, navigate to the \SUPPORT\TOOLS folder on your Win2k/XP CD and open the DEPLOY.CAB file (Win2k/XP should have native support for viewing .cab files, if not you can use WinRar to open them). For Win2k you want to read the unattend.doc file in the .cab file and for WinXP extract the ref.chm file. Now onto the goodies...
Autoexec.bat- needed to get the installation off the ground after booting in DOS. I suppose I forgot to mention that, you need a DOS boot disk to do this. You can start this process from within Windows with the winnt32.exe, but again, you can read up on that. Here's the autoexec I use:
format c: /q
smartdrv.exe c+ d+ e+
WINNT /S:d:\OS\WINXP\I386 /U:d:\OS\WINXP\i386\UNATTEND.TXT
As you can see it's fairly simple and straight forward. By typing winnt /? at the command prompt from within the i386 directory you can get a list of all switches, such as specifying a temorary directory/drive for install files during installation. The /S switch specifies the "source" of your Win2k/XP install files and the /U switch specifies where the unattend.txt is located. Make sure you have format.com and smartdrv.exe on your DOS boot disk.
Open your text editor of choice and paste this text:
InstallDefaultComponents = YES
"HighPoint Technology Inc. HPT366 IDE Controller"="OEM"
BitsPerPel = 32
XResolution = 1024
YResolution = 768
VRefresh = 75
* This will install Windows to C: and assumes you're doing a clean install and not an upgrade from WinNT/9x/2k. Read the documents I mentioned above for dual-booting, repartitioning, and upgrading from an older OS.
** The Administrator account is set for no password and will logon automatically. You don't have to set up any sub accounts unless desired.
*** If you do not have a SCSI card or IDE expansion card (or you do, but Windows already has native drivers for it), then delete the [MassStorageDrivers] and [OEMBootFiles] sections. Then set the OemPreinstall line in the [Unattended] section to NO.
Go here for more detailed info on installing mass storage (IDE controller cards, SCSI cards... etc.) drivers during an unattended installation.