# How to create an unattended installation of Windows 10 (2023)

When you start a new installation of Windows 10, you must go through the Windows Setup, which is the experience that helps you to configure various settings, including language preferences, product key, and partition layout. After the installation, you also have to go through the out-of-box experience (OOBE), which you need to complete to configure settings like keyboard layout, account, and privacy settings.

Although the process is relatively easy for most people, you still have to spend the time controlling the installation and answering questions, which can take up a lot of time, especially if you need to complete multiple installations in your workplace.

If you want to automate the installation process (and save time in the process), you can create an answer file with instructions to complete every on-screen prompt, which you can integrate onto a bootable media. Then the Windows Setup can read to install Windows 10 automatically.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to create an autounattend.xml answer file containing all the necessary settings to perform a basic unattended installation of the OS.

On Windows 10, you can use many ways to create and set up an answer file to automate the installation process. This guide outlines the instructions to configure a ".xml" file to perform an unattended installation of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit on a computer with a single drive using Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) or Basic Input-Output System (BIOS).

After setting up the answer file, the process will erase everything on the drive, create and configure the necessary partitions, and install a fresh copy of Windows 10 with the most basic settings.

Warning: This is a friendly reminder that the installation process will completely erase the hard drive of your computer. If you have anything important on this device, it's recommended to make a full backup of your PC before proceeding.

• Requirements
• How to install Windows System Image Manager
• How to create Windows 10 answer file project
• How to create Windows 10 answer file
• How to save Windows 10 answer file project
• How to install Windows 10 with answer file
• How to troubleshoot problems with Windows 10 answer file

## Requirements

This guide has quite a few steps, and you'll need a few things to complete the project successfully:

• Windows Assessment and Development Kit (ADK).
• Windows 10 installation files.
• Windows 10 account with administrator privileges.
• USB flash drive with 8GB of space.
• Spare computer to test the installation.

## How to install Windows System Image Manager

Anyone can write an answer file manually. Microsoft offers the Windows System Image Manager (SIM) console available through the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) to make it easier to create the file to install Windows 10 unattended.

To install the Windows System Image Manager, use these steps:

2. Double-click the adksetup.exe file to begin the installation.
3. Select the Install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit - Windows 10 to this computer option.
1. Click the Next button.
3. Click the Next button.
4. Click the Accept button to agree to the license agreement.
5. Clear all preselected choices.
6. Check only the Deployment Tools package to install the Windows System Image Manager components.
1. Click the Install button.
2. Click the Close button.

Once you complete the steps, you can use the console to create a ".xml" file with the answer to all the questions to automatically install Windows 10.

After the file is created, you can adjust the settings and reuse it for other installations, instead of having to use the Windows System Image Manager tool.

## How to create Windows 10 answer file project

After installing the Windows System Image Manager console, you need to import the OS installation files onto your device, and set up the environment to create an answer file.

Import Windows 10 image files

To create an answer file, you need to open a Windows 10 image and create a catalog of all the components to automate the installation. However, to perform this task, you must first import the installation files onto your device.

To import the Windows 10 installation files, use these steps:

1. Open File Explorer.
2. Navigate to the Windows 10 ISO file location.Quick tip: Alternatively, you can also connect the USB flash drive with the installation files. If you don't have the files below, you can find the steps to use Rufus to download the latest ISO for Windows 10.
3. Right-click the ISO file and select the Mount option.
1. Open the drive with the Windows 10 installation files.
2. Click the Select all button from the "Home" tab.
3. Click the Copy button from the "Home" tab.
1. Navigate to the folder you want to use to store the files for the project.
2. Click the New folder button from the "Home" tab.
3. Specify a name for the folder – for example, Windows2004.
4. Open the newly created folder.
5. Click the Paste button from the "Home" tab.

Once you complete the steps, the installation files will be available on your device. However, to continue, you need to confirm the install.wim file image is present in the "sources" folder. If the ISO was created using the Media Creation Tool, you're likely to have an install.esd, which you won't be able to open because it's encrypted.

If you don't have an .wim image file, you can get the uncrypted image by downloading the latest Windows 10 ISO file from the Windows Insider Program (opens in new tab) or MSDN with a subscription (opens in new tab).

Convert install.esd to install.wim

In the case that you're stuck with an "install.esd" image, you can use the DISM command tool to export the image files and create a ".wim" image from a ".esd" file.

To decrypt an install.esd image, use these steps:

1. Open Start.
2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
3. Type the following command to identify the index number of the edition you want to use and press Enter:dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:C:\path\to\folder\sources\install.esdIn the command, make sure to change the path to the sources folder location with the "install.esd" file on your computer.
4. Confirm the index number for the edition you want to deploy. For example, in the case, select the index number of 6 to extract the files for Windows 10 Pro.
5. Type the following command to create an install.wim file and press Enter:dism /Export-Image /SourceImageFile:C:\path\to\folder\sources\install.esd /SourceIndex:6 /DestinationImageFile:C:\path\to\folder\sources\install.wim /Compress:Max /CheckIntegrityIn the command, make sure to change the path to the sources folder location with the "install.esd" file on your device. The destination path should be the same as the source.

Alternatively, you can also use the Rufus tool to download the Windows 10 ISO with an "install.wim" file.

To download a Windows 10 ISO file with Rufus, use these steps:

2. Under the "Download" section, click the latest release of the tool to save the file on the computer.
1. Double-click the Rufus-x.x.exe file to launch the tool.
2. Under the "Device" section, select the USB flash drive with at least 8GB of space.
3. Under the "Boot selection" section, click the arrow button next to the "Select" option, and choose the Download option.
2. Use the "Version" drop-down menu and select Windows 10.
3. Click the Continue button.
4. Select the 20H1 (Build 19041.264 - 2020.05) option to download the Windows 10 May 2020 Update.
5. Click the Continue button.
6. Use the "Edition" drop-down menu and select the Windows 10 Home/Pro option.
7. Click the Continue button.
8. Use the "Language" drop-down menu and select your installation language.Quick note: If you're in the United States, you should select "English" instead of "English International."
9. Click the Continue button.
10. Use the "Architecture" drop-down menu and select the 32-bit or 64-bit (recommended).Quick tip: You can find out the architecture of your device on Settings > System > About, under Device specifications.
2. Save the ISO file on your device.

Once you complete the steps, you'll end up with an ISO file of Windows 10 that includes the install.wim file inside the "sources" folder.

Setting up an answer file environment

To prepare the environment to create a new answer file project, use these steps:

1. Open Start.
2. Search for Windows System Image Manager and click the top result to open the console.
4. Select the Select Windows Image option.
1. Navigate to the folder with the Windows 10 installation files exported.
2. Access the source folder.
3. Select the install.wim image file.
1. Click the Open button.Important: Make sure that image is an install.wim file. Otherwise, if you have an install.esd image, this will not work.
2. Select the edition of Windows 10 you want to use. (Usually, you want to select the version that you're planning to install.)
1. Click the OK button.
2. Click the Yes button to create a new catalog file (if applicable).Quick note: This process will take some time, but it's a one-time process. The .clg file will be saved in the same location where the install.wim is stored, and you can reuse it later on other projects.
3. Under the "Distribution Share" section, right-click on "Select a Distribution Share" and select the Create Distribution Share option.
1. Click the Create New Folder option in the dialog box.
2. Specify a name for the folder – for example, "Distribution" and select the folder.
3. Click the Open button.
2. Select the Select Distribution Share option.
1. Locate the folder you recently created for the distribution files.
2. Click the Open button.
4. Select the New Answer File option.

After you complete the steps, the environment will be created to configure an answer file.

## How to create Windows 10 answer file

An answer file contains seven different stages (passes) (opens in new tab), and the stages you need to configure will depend upon the type of automation you want to create.

This guide will help you to get started configuring an autounattend.xml answer file with the minimum requirements to automate the installation of Windows 10 Pro using the 1 windowsPE, 4 specialize, and 7 oobeSystem stages.

Pass 1 windowsPE

Using the pass "1 windowsPE," you'll set up region and language, drive configuration, installation location, and product key.

Quick note: Depending on the image, you may see the components name starting with amd64_Microsoft-Windows for the 64-bit version or x86_Microsoft-Windows for the 32-bit version of Windows 10. For this guide, we'll be using the amd64_Microsoft-Windows name format.

Configure language and region settings

To configure the region and language settings, while in the Windows System Image Manager, use these steps:

1. Under the "Windows Image" section, expand the Components folder.
2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE component.
3. Right-click the SetupUILanguage component and select the Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE option.
1. Under the "Answer File" section, on the right side, select the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE component.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, define the keyboard, region, primary and fall back language, and device location. For example, if you're located in the United States, you should be using these settings:
• InputLocale: en-US.
• SystemLocale: en-US.
• UILanguage: en-US.
• UserLocale: en-US.
Quick tip: Only users outside the United States should configure ULLanguageFallback using the en-US value as the fallback language. To identify the correct input profile name, you can check out this Microsoft support page (opens in new tab).
1. Select the SetupUILanguage sub-component.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, set UILanguage with the correct language. For example, because we're doing an install in "English," we're using the en-US option.

Configure installation settings

Inside the answer file, you also have to specify the settings to properly configure the drive.

To configure the drive settings in the answer file, use these steps:

1. Under the "Windows Image" section, expand the Components folders.
2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
3. Expand the DiskConfiguration component.
4. Right-click the Disk component, and select the Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE option.
1. Under the "Answer File" section, on the right side, select the DiskConfiguration component.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, set the WillShowUI value to OnError. (If you leave this setting empty, the installation will stop during the hard drive setup process.)
1. Select the Disk component.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use these values:
• DiskID: 0
• WillWipeDisk: true
Quick note: Setting the WillWipeDik setting to true will make sure to erase everything on the first hard drive before setting up the partitions. If you have anything important on this drive, you should backup the data before proceeding.

Once you complete the steps to configure the DiskConfiguration settings, you'll need to set up the partition layout, depending on whether your device uses a legacy BIOS or UEFI.

The reason is that BIOS-based computers only require two partitions (System Reserved and Windows), and UEFI-based devices require four partitions (WinRE, EFI, MSR, and Windows).

You can check if you're using BIOS or UEFI by opening System Information from the Start menu, and checking the "System Summary." If "BIOS Mode" reads Legacy, then you're using BIOS; if it reads UEFI, you're using UEFI.

BIOS only: Creating and modifying partitions

If you have a computer using the legacy BIOS, continue with these steps. Otherwise, skip this part, and follow the UEFI instructions below.

To configure the partition layout for a device using BIOS, use these steps:

1. Under the "Answer File" section, expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
2. Expand the DiskConfiguration component.
3. Expand the Disk component.
4. Right-click the CreatePartitions component, and select the Insert New CreatePartition option to create the first partition.
1. Right-click CreatePartitions again, and select the Insert New CreatePartition option to create a second partition.
2. Select the first CreatePartition.
3. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use these values to create a system reserved partition:
• Extend: false.
• Order: 1.
• Size: 500.
• Type: Primary.
Using these settings, you're indicating the setup to create the system reserved partition of 500MB, a partition required for Windows to boot.
1. Select the second CreatePartition.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use these values to create a partition to install Windows 10:
• Extend: true.
• Order: 2.
• Type: Primary.
Using these settings, you're indicating the setup to create a partition to install Windows 10. You'll also notice that the Size value wasn't specified, and Extend was set to true. This is because we want the Windows Setup to create a partition with all the available space left on the drive after creating the system reserved partition.If you want to create multiple partitions, you need to set the value of Extend to false, and enter a value in megabytes in the Size setting. Then the last partition should have Extend set to true without specifying the Size value to indicate the setup to use the remaining available space to create the partition.

Using the above steps, outlined the steps to carved the partitions. The next steps specify the required file format and partition properties.

To specify the format settings in the answer file, use these steps:

1. Under the "Answer File" section, expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
2. Expand the DiskConfiguration component.
3. Expand the Disk component.
4. Right-click the ModifyPartition component, and select the Insert ModifyPartition option to modify the first partition.
1. Right-click ModifyPartition again, and select the Insert ModifyPartition option to modify the second partition.
2. Select the first ModifyPartition.
3. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use these values to configure a system reserved partition:
• Active: true.
• Format: NTFS.
• Label: System.
• Order: 1.
• PartitionID: 1.
1. Select the second ModifyPartition.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use these values to configure a partition to install Windows 10:
• Format: NTFS.
• Label: Windows.
• Letter: C.
• Order: 2.
• ProductID: 2.

In the steps, using the Order and PartitionID, you're specifying how the Windows Setup should configure on each of the two raw partitions we created earlier.

You can learn more about the partition layout required for a BIOS system in this Microsoft support page (opens in new tab).

As part of this setup, the last task is to indicate the setup where to install Windows 10.

To select the drive to install Windows 10 automatically, use these steps:

1. Under the "Windows Image" section, expand the Components folders.
2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
3. Expand the ImageInstall component.
4. Expand the OSImage.
5. Right-click the InstalTo component, and select the Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE option.
1. Under the "Answer File" section, on the right side, select the InstallTo component.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use these values:
• DiskID: 0.
• PartitionID: 2.

The above settings tell the setup to install Windows 10 automatically on the first drive inside the second partition.

Once you complete the steps, continue with the Defining the product key instructions.

UEFI only: Creating and modifying partitions

If you have a computer using UEFI, continue with these steps. Otherwise, skip this part, and follow the BIOS instructions outlined above.

1. Under the "Answer File" section, expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
2. Expand the DiskConfiguration component.
3. Expand the Disk component.
4. Right-click the CreatePartitions component, and select the Insert New CreatePartition option to create the first partition.
1. Right-click CreatePartitions again, and select the Insert New CreatePartition option to create a second partition.
2. Right-click CreatePartitions again, and select the Insert New CreatePartition option to create a third partition.
3. Right-click CreatePartitions again, and select the Insert New CreatePartition option to create a fourth partition.
4. Select the first CreatePartition.
5. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use these values to create the Windows Recovery (WinRE) partition:
• Extend: false.
• Order: 1.
• Size: 500.
• Type: Primary.
1. Select the second CreatePartition.
2. On the right side, under "Settings," use these values to create an EFI partition:
• Extend: false.
• Order: 2.
• Size: 100.
• Type: EFI.
1. Select the third CreatePartition.
2. On the right side, under "Settings," use these values to create a Microsoft reserved partition (MSR) partition:
• Extend: false.
• Order: 3.
• Size: 16.
• Type: MSR.
1. Select the third CreatePartition.
2. On the right side, under "Settings," use these values to create the Windows partition:
• Extend: true.
• Order: 4.
• Type: Primary.

Using the above steps, outlined the steps to carved the partitions. The next steps specify the required file format and partition properties.

To specify the format settings in the answer file, use these steps:

1. Under the "Answer File" section, expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
2. Expand the DiskConfiguration component.
3. Expand the Disk component.
4. Right-click the ModifyPartition component, and select the Insert ModifyPartition option to create the first partition.
1. Right-click ModifyPartition again, and select the Insert ModifyPartition option to modify the second partition.
2. Right-click ModifyPartition again, and select the Insert ModifyPartition option to modify the third partition.
3. Right-click ModifyPartition again, and select the Insert ModifyPartition option to modify the fourth partition.
4. Select the first ModifyPartition.
5. On the right side, under "Settings," use these values to configure the Windows Recovery (WinRE) partition:
• Format: NTFS.
• Label: WinRE.
• Order: 1.
• PartitionID: 1.
• TypeID: DE94BBA4-06D1-4D40-A16A-BFD50179D6AC.
1. Select the second ModifyPartition.
2. On the right side, under "Settings," use these values to configure an EFI partition:
• Format: FAT32.
• Label: System.
• Order: 2.
• PartitionID: 2.
1. Select the third ModifyPartition.
2. On the right side, under "Settings," use only these two values to configure a Microsoft reserved partition (MSR) partition:
• Order: 3.
• PartitionID: 3.
1. Select the third ModifyPartition.
2. On the right side, under "Settings," use these values to configure a partition to install Windows 10:
• Format: NTFS.
• Label: Windows.
• Letter: C.
• Order: 4.
• PartitionID: 4.

In the steps, using the Order and PartitionID, you're specifying how the setup should configure each of the four raw partitions you have created earlier.

You can learn more about the partition layout required for a UEFI system in this Microsoft support page (opens in new tab).

As part of this part of the setup, the last task is to indicate the setup where to install Windows 10.

To select the drive to install Windows 10 automatically, use these steps:

1. Under "Windows Image," expand the Components folders.
2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
3. Expand the ImageInstall component.
4. Expand the OSImage component.
5. Right-click the InstalTo component, and select the Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE option.
6. Under the "Answer File" section, on the right side, select the InstallTo component.
7. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use these values:
• DiskID: 0.
• PartitionID: 4.

The above settings will indicate for the setup to install Windows 10 on the first drive inside the fourth partition.

Once you complete the steps, continue with the Defining the product key instructions below.

Defining the product key

In the first pass, you can also specify the product key for Windows 10. If you're creating an answer file that you'll use in multiple devices, you should be using a volume or generic product key.

To specify a product key, use these steps:

1. Under the "Windows Image" component, expand the Components folders.
2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
3. Expand the UserData component.
4. Right-click the ProductKey component and select the Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE option.
1. Under the "Answer File" section, on the right side, select the UserData component.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use the following settings:
• AcceptEula: true.
• Organization: WC.
In the above settings, you can use any name for the Organization value. For example, home users could "Family" as the organization name.
1. Expand the UserData component.
2. Select the ProductKey component.
3. Under the "Settings" section, make sure to update the Key value using the product key for the edition of Windows 10 you intend to install.

You can also use a generic product key to create an answer file:

• Windows 10 Pro: VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T.
• Windows 10 Home: YTMG3-N6DKC-DKB77-7M9GH-8HVX7.
• Windows 10 Enterprise: NPPR9-FWDCX-D2C8J-H872K-2YT43.

You can always check this Microsoft support website (opens in new tab) to find the appropriate generic key for your installation.

(Video) Automate Windows 11 Installation

Pass 4 specialize

If you want to configure additional settings, such as model, manufacturer, computer name, ownership name, timezone, and more during the installation, while in the Windows System Image Manager, use these steps:

1. Under the "Windows Image" section, expand the Components folders.
2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup component.
3. Right-click the OEMInformation component and select the Add Setting to Pass 4 specialize option.
1. Under the "Answer File" section, on the right-side, select the amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup component.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use the following values (specifying your custom information):
• ComputerName: Workstation.
• CopyProfile: true.
• RegisteredOrganization: Windows Central.
• RegisteredOwner: WC.
• TimeZone: Eastern Standard Time.
If you don't configure the TimeZone setting, Windows 10 will set the zone based on the language you're installing. You can check the Microsoft support website (opens in new tab) to find out the exact name for your time zone.
1. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup component.
2. Select the OEMInformation component.
3. (Optional) Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, specify some computer specific properties:
• Manufacturer: Dell.
• Model: XPS.

Once you complete the steps, during the installation, the setup will read the autounattend.xml file and configure the settings you specified.

Pass 7 oobeSystem

Using an answer file, you can also automate the configuration of the out-of-box experience (OOBE), including additional language settings, accept the licensing agreement, create a user account, and more.

To configure the out-of-box experience, while in the Windows System Image Manager, use these steps:

1. Under "Windows Image," expand the Components folders.
2. Right-click the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core component, and select the Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem option.
1. Under the "Windows Image" section, expand the amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup component.
2. Right-click the OOBE component, and select the Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem option.
1. Expand the UserAccounts component.
2. Expand the LocalAccounts component.
3. Right-click the LocalAccounts component, and select the Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem option.
1. Under the "Answer File" section, select the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core component.
2. Under the "Settings" section, on the right-side, specify the language settings:
• InputLocale: en-US.
• SystemLocale: en-US.
• UILanguage: en-US.
• UserLocale: en-US.
Only users outside the United States should configure ULLanguageFallback using the en-US value as the fallback language.To identify the correct input profile name, you can check out this Microsoft support page (opens in new tab).
1. Under the "Answer File" section, expand the amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup component.
2. Select the OOBE component.
3. Under the "Settings" section, on the right size, use the following values:
• HideEULAPage: true.*
• HideOEMRegistrationScreen: true.
• HideOnlineAccountScreens: true.
• HideWirelessSetupinOOBE: true.
• ProtectYourPC: 1.While most settings are self-explanatory, you'll notice that the ProtectYourPC setting is also configured to define how the express settings (opens in new tab) should be handled. Using the value of 1, you're telling the setup to enable the express settings using the default preferences.
1. Expand the UserAccounts component.
2. Right-click the LocalAccounts component and select the Insert New LocalAccount option.
3. Under the "Settings" section, on the right side, use the following configuration to create a primary local account:
• Description: My primary local account.
• Name: John.
Using the above settings, you'll be creating an account called "admin" for user "John," and we're adding the account to the "Administrators" group that gives the user unrestricted access to the device. Of course, you can always define your custom preferences, including for "Description," "DisplayName," "Group," and "Name."
1. Expand the LocalAccount component.
3. Under the "Settings" section, on the right-side, type a password in the Value field.

While you'll see the password in plain text, after saving the autounattend.xml file, the value will be encrypted.

## How to save Windows 10 answer file project

Once you complete setting up all the configurations to install Windows 10 automatically, you need to remove all the unmodified components, validate the answer file, and save changes as an autounattend.xml file.

Remove unmodified components

To remove unnecessary components, use these steps:

1. Under the "Answer File" section, expand all the components you added from the "Windows Image" section.
2. Select the component that you didn't configure. (These are those with light purple color.)
3. Right-click the components, and select the Delete option.
1. Repeat steps No. 2 and 3 until you remove all the components that you didn't modify.

After you complete the steps, you need to validate the answer file.

To validate the answer file, use these steps:

2. Select the Validate option.
3. Under the "Messages" section, at the bottom, check the Validation tab. If you don't see any warnings, the file is good to go.

Once you complete the steps, it's time to save the file and imported to the installation media.

To save the answer file, use these steps:

2. Select the Save Answer File As option.
3. Navigate to the folder you want to save the file.
4. Under "File name," use the autounattend.xml file name.
1. Click the Save button.

If you're configuring multiple answer files, it'll be best to save the file on a different folder with a descriptive name.

Import answer file to USB media

To include an autounattend.xml file on a Windows 10 bootable media, use these steps:

1. Open File Explorer.
2. Navigate to the autounattend.xml file location.
3. Right-click the file, and select the Copy option.
1. Open the USB media with the Windows 10 installation files.
2. In the root of the drive, right-click the Paste to copy the autounattend.xml to the Windows 10 installation media.Quick tip: When placing the "autounattend.xml" file on the installation media, make sure you're using a bootable media that only includes one architecture (in this case, Windows 10 64-bit). If you created an installation media for both 32-bit and 64-bit, the process would pause at the beginning until you select the architecture to install.

In the case that you don't have a Windows 10 USB installation media, you can create one using the Media Creation Tool (opens in new tab) or using a third-party tool, such as Rufus.

## How to install Windows 10 using answer file

Once you have the USB bootable media with the answer file incorporated, you can perform an unattended installation of Windows 10 with these steps:

Warning: This process will delete everything on your computer and install Windows 10 without any prompts. Make sure to connect the USB flash drive to the correct device. Otherwise, you may end up wiping out the incorrect device.

1. Turn off the computer you want to install Windows 10.
2. Connect the USB flash bootable media with the autounattend.xml file.
3. Power on the computer and then Windows 10 should install automatically.

If the Windows Setup doesn't start, it's likely because you don't have the device configured to boot from the USB installation media. If this is the case, you'll need to access the BIOS or UEFI firmware on your motherboard to change the boot order.

This process typically requires hitting one of the function keys (F1, F2, F3, F10, or F12), the ESC, or Delete key as soon as you start your device. However, these settings will be different per manufacturer, and even per device model. Make sure to check your computer manufacturer's support website for more specific instructions.

(Video) 30 Installing Windows 10 Unattended

After getting access to the firmware interface, find the Boot settings and change the boot order to start with the USB drive that includes the installation files, and save the settings (usually using the F10 key).

If your computer is based on UEFI, then the steps to change the boot order will be different.

On a Windows 10 device using UEFI, you'll need to access to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery, and under "Advanced Startup," click the Restart now button.

Then click on Troubleshoot > Advanced options > UEFI Firmware Settings, and click the Restart button.

Once you're in the UEFI firmware interface, find the Boot settings and change the boot order to start with the USB drive that includes the installation files, and then save the settings.

If the drive doesn't have an OS already installed, check your manufacturer support website for details to access the UEFI firmware.

## How to troubleshoot Windows 10 answer file

Although an answer file can make the process of installing Windows 10 easier, one small mistake can halt the setup and cause unwanted errors.

When validating the answer file, if you come across any problems, you should always re-check the settings for each component you selected and remove any additional element that was not modified.

If you made a mistake configuring a property value for a component, don't empty the field, instead right-click the property and select the Revert Change option.

At the time to begin the Windows 10 installation, disconnect the computer from the network, because sometimes you may come across problems while the setup is trying to download updates. You can always reconnect to the network after the installation.

An answer file explicitly crafted for a computer using a legacy BIOS will not work on a UEFI-based device. Always make sure to use the correct settings for the hardware you're trying to automate the installation process.

In the rare case that the answer file you created using Windows System Image Manager isn't working, then you should open the "autounattend.xml" file with any text editor and correct any error manually.

Anyone can use this automation process, but this method has been designed for organizations. This means that you won't find an option to perform an installation using a Microsoft account. However, you can always create an installation with a Windows 10 local account and then link it to your Microsoft account. You can perform this task from Settings > Accounts > Your info, and clicking the Sign in with your Microsoft account instead link.

You can check out this Microsoft support website (opens in new tab) to learn more about each setting, which you can configure to create an answer file to perform an automated installation of Windows 10.

## Wrapping things up

While creating a bootable media with the instructions to install Windows 10 automatically has a lot of steps, the automation process will save you a significant amount of time and hassle, especially when you're in a network environment where you need to setup Windows 10 on multiple machines.

We're focusing on the minimum steps to perform an unattended clean installation of Windows 10 to help get started with the process. It's up to you to dig through and configure the components you need to comply with your situation. Furthermore, depending on your installation requirements, you may need to create multiple answer files.

Mauro Huculak

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

• Wow, that is detailed. I personally would probably not use it, but thank you for the effort and sharing.

• What an article but I think I will still do it the old way by using multiple pen drives for different systems one for uefi/gpt and other based on mbr/bios-legacy method

• Windows 10X euphoria and self-inflicted jetleg is all but done and dusted. No hope of a release of the imaginery system.. So now we get back to real OS

• BJ’s Wholesale Club Customer Survey Step By Step Process website:https://surveyinfo370041980.wordpress.com/2020/06/08/mcalisters-deli-fee...

• Thanks for the detail article. I did this once at work, after that i got an Acronis licence and saw Id never do it again

(Video) How to Create an Unattended USB Drive for Windows 10 Installation

## FAQs

### How do I create an unattended software install? ›

As you want to install the software silently, find the switch available for silent installation. Use this command to use the silent switch: "softwarename.exe /switch". Once you are done with the silent switch command, sit back and relax. Your software will get installed automatically.

What tool can it pros use to create an unattended setup answer file for Windows 10? ›

Microsoft Windows SIM

It allows IT pros to create and manage an unattended setup answer file.

Which Windows tool enables the creation of an answer file for unattended installations? ›

Windows System Image Manager is the tool used to create an unattended Windows Setup answer file.

How do I create an ISS answer file? ›

iss file when InstallShield runs in record mode (Setup -r).
...
To create the response file:
1. Create a text file named Setup. iss using any text editor.
2. Enter the silent header into Setup. iss.
3. Enter the application header into Setup. iss.
4. Enter the dialog sequence into Setup. iss.
5. Enter the dialog data into Setup. iss.

How do I set up an answer file? ›

Customize a setting value in an answer file
1. Open Windows SIM.
2. Open a Windows image. ...
3. Create or open an answer file. ...
4. In the Answer File pane, find the configuration pass that contains the component for the setting that you want to change.
5. Select the component or package that contains the setting that you want to change.
Jan 18, 2019

What is an example of unattended installation? ›

For example, an administrator can install Windows 2000 Professional on several desktop client computers simultaneously without having to remain at each desktop during the installation process.

What is a unattended installation? ›

The installation of a program without requiring the user to select options or click Next at the end of each step. Unattended installations often use a file of predefined answers so that after starting the installation, it runs to completion without further user intervention.

How do I automate Windows installations? ›

You can automate Windows installation by using an answer file:
1. Use a USB flash drive.
3. Language, Region, and Input Method Selection Page.
4. Type your Product Key for Activation Page.
5. Accept Microsoft Software License Terms Page.
6. Select Upgrade or Custom Installation Page.
Oct 29, 2021

What program can be used to create unattended answer files via a GUI interface? ›

Microsoft Windows System Image Manager (SIM) is a tool in the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit IT professionals can use to create and manage unattended setup answer files for Windows before installing the operating system.

Why use unattended installation? ›

Saves time and money because users do not have to interactively respond to each installation query. Can be configured to provide automated query response, while still selectively allowing users to provide specified input during installations.

### Where is the unattended answer file located? ›

The name of the answer file must be Unattend. xml or Autounattend. xml, and must be located at the root of the Windows Setup folder path.

What tool is needed to configure answer files for unattended installations? ›

Anyone can write an answer file manually. Microsoft offers the Windows System Image Manager (SIM) console available through the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) to make it easier to create the file to install Windows 10 unattended.

What are the key procedures and principles involved in an unattended installation process? ›

Step-by-step guide
1. Step 0: Requirements. ...
3. Step 2: Unpack the distribution. ...
4. Step 3: Configure DNS. ...
5. Step 4: Prepare the Unattended server. ...
6. Step 5: Prepare the Operating System (and Software) distribution point. ...
7. Step 6: Create the bootdisk. ...
8. Step 7: The first boot.

How do I create an unattended installation of Windows 11? ›

To create the autounattend file for Windows 11, you can use standard tools like the Windows System Image Manager. To use the Windows System Image Manager, you point the utility to the install. wim for Windows 11. Once you do that, you can create the autounattend file.

Which tool can you use to create an answer file? ›

The Windows System Image Manager (known as Windows SIM) is a GUI-based tool that you can use to create an answer file. When using the tool, you must specify the image for which you want to create an answer file. Windows SIM then creates a catalog file for all the options that you can configure.

What is an answer file and how is it created? ›

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. These options include how to partition disks, where to find the Windows image that will be installed, and which product key to apply.

How do I create an ISS file for silent install? ›

Execute the Enterprise Client installer with the /r option from Windows Command. Run the Command Prompt in Administrator mode as the setup. iss gets created in the C:\Windows folder by default. The silent installation only recognizes and applies a language selected from the Ready to install the Program wizard.

How do you validate an answer file? ›

Before you can save an answer file, you must validate the settings.
...
1. Open Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM).
2. Open a Windows image. ...
3. Create or open an answer file. ...
Jan 18, 2019

What is DISM tool in Windows? ›

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is a command-line tool that is used to service Windows images. You can use DISM image management commands to mount and get information about Windows image (. wim) files, Full-flash utility (FFU) files, or virtual hard disks (VHD).

How does Sysprep work? ›

Sysprep features

Removes PC-specific information from the Windows image, including the PC's security identifier (SID). This allows you to capture the image and apply it to other PCs. This is known as generalizing the PC. Uninstalls, but doesn't remove, PC-specific drivers from the Windows image.

### What is an unattended process? ›

Robotic process automations (RPA) are “unattended” when they run independently without human input. The automation can perform tasks any time of the day for an unlimited amount of time without relying on help from a user. These processes run in the background as they trigger and complete tasks automatically.

What are the steps to install Windows 10? ›

Steps to Install Windows 10
2. Open Windows.ISO file.
3. Go into “sources” folder.
4. Use 'setup.exe' file to Initiate Windows Setup.
5. Follow On Screen Instructions to Install Windows.
Nov 12, 2021

What are the 4 types of installation? ›

There are four approaches of installation; direct, parallel, single-location and phased installation.

What do you mean by unattended? ›

: not attended : not watched or looked after : lacking a guard, escort, caretaker, etc. an unattended parking lot. a fire left unattended. unattended children. unattended luggage.

What is the difference between attended and unattended software installation? ›

Attended bots can run on workstations or private servers or in the cloud. Unattended bots can run on workstations or private servers or in the cloud.

What is the difference between unattended and silent install? ›

A quick word on terminology: Strictly speaking, an unattended installation is one which does not require user interaction, and a silent (or quiet) installation is one which does not display any indication of its progress. However, most people use these terms interchangeably.

Can software installation be automated? ›

Software installation can be a lengthy, tedious process. IT can automate software installation for Windows VDI with a tool called Chocolatey. Chocolatey is an open-source package creator and manager for Windows.

What is Autorun installation? ›

The Autorun file is the file your operating system looks for when an installation CD is run. It usually points to the Setup file and other files in order to install the software.

What is an automated installation? ›

An automated installation of a client over the network consists of the following high-level steps: The client system boots over the network and gets its network configuration and the location of the install server from the DHCP server. The install server provides a boot image to the client.

How do I create a Sysprep answer file? ›

Prepare to Sysprep

xml file in the Sysprep directory: Navigate to the following location within your VM: c:\windows\system32\sysprep. Right-click within this folder, and select New > Text Document. Name the new file unattend.

### Which deployment tool is used for authoring unattended xml files? ›

Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM)

Windows SIM is an authoring tool for Unattend. xml files. When using MDT and/or Configuration Manager, you don't need Windows SIM often because those systems automatically update the Unattend. xml file during the deployment, greatly simplifying the process overall.

Which of the following commands lines can be used to initiate an unattended answer file installation of Windows Server 2016? ›

The /unattend option can be used with the Setup.exe command to initiate an unattended installation of Windows Server 2016.

How do I enable unattended access? ›

Unattended Access settings can be found in Settings > Security > Unattended Access for non-Windows versions of AnyDesk or versions of AnyDesk for Windows before AnyDesk 7.

What are the 3 installation types? ›

Different types of software installations include Windows Installer installation, web-based software installation and single exe software installation.

What does unattended access do? ›

With unattended remote access, users have the ability to set up a remote control session on a computer, tablet or mobile phone without needing someone in front of the remote device to accept the connection.

How do I install Windows 10 from a USB on a new computer? ›

Turn on the PC and press the key that opens the boot-device selection menu for the computer, such as the Esc/F10/F12 keys. Select the option that boots the PC from the USB flash drive. Windows Setup starts. Follow the instructions to install Windows.

Where is unattend xml file Windows 10? ›

xml file (named Unattend. xml) in the C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep folder before running sysprep.

What is the minimum amount of hard drive space required for a 64 bit Windows 10 installation? ›

Here are the minimum requirements for Windows 10: Processor: 1 GHz (or higher) RAM: 1 GB for 32 bit OS or 2 GB for 64 bit OS. Free space: 16 GB hard disk space (or more)

How do I make an answer file for unattended installation? ›

Create and modify an answer file
1. Step 1: Create a catalog file. Start Windows System Image Manager. ...
2. Step 2: Create an answer file. Click File > New Answer File. ...
4. Step 4: Save the answer file. ...
5. Step 5: Create a script.
May 18, 2022

How to do unattended installation of Windows 10? ›

"You can automate Windows installation by using an answer file: 1. Use a USB flash drive 2. Use an existing answer file or create your own with Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM).

### How do I create an answer file for setup EXE? ›

To create the response file:
1. Create a text file named Setup. iss using any text editor.
2. Enter the silent header into Setup. iss.
3. Enter the application header into Setup. iss.
4. Enter the dialog sequence into Setup. iss.
5. Enter the dialog data into Setup. iss.

What should you do before leaving your computer unattended? ›

If you leave your computer unattended make sure to lock the computer to prevent someone from sitting at the console and using the computer under your account. Locking your computer will require your login password to be entered in order to unlock the screen.

What is safety procedure that need to be taken before installation of operation system? ›

Always Create A System Restore Point

This is a safety precaution that will save you a lot of hassle if something does go wrong. System restore will allow you to restore your computer or take it back in time so it is essential when installing programs.

How to install Windows 11 without TPM TPM 2.0 bypass? ›

How to Bypass Windows 11 TPM the Official Microsoft Way
1. Open Regedit. ...
2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\MoSetup. ...
3. Create a DWORD (32-bit) Value called AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU if it doesn't already exist.
4. Set AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU to 1. ...
5. Close regedit and restart your PC.
Jul 17, 2022

How do you install Windows 11 does not meet the minimum requirements? ›

To upgrade an incompatible computer to Windows 11 (version 22H2 or 21H2) with an ISO file, use these steps:
1. Open Microsoft Support website.
2. Under the “Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)” section, select the Windows 11 option.
4. Select the installation language.
5. Click the Confirm button.
Jan 2, 2023

Can I install Windows 11 if I dont meet the requirements? ›

Installing Windows 11 on a device that does not meet Windows 11 minimum system requirements is not recommended. If you choose to install Windows 11 on ineligible hardware, you should be comfortable assuming the risk of running into compatibility issues.

How do I create a answer folder? ›

With your document open, click File > Save As. Under Save As, select where you want to create your new folder. You might need to click Browse or Computer, and navigate to the location for your new folder. In the Save As dialog box that opens, click New Folder.

Which of the following tools can be used to create an unattended answer file? ›

C. Windows System Image Manager (SIM) is used to create unattended answer files in Windows Server 2016. It uses a GUI-based interface to set up and configure the most common options that are used within an answer file.

How to create a folder step by step? ›

Step 1: Right-click a blank spot on your desktop. Step 2: Select New folder at the top of the menu. Step 3: When the folder appears, the default name “Untitled folder” is automatically selected. So, type the name you want for the folder and press Return.

What is the difference between a file and a folder? ›

A folder can hold many files. A folder can also hold many folders. A file is the common storage unit in a computer.

### How does unattended installation work? ›

The installation of a program without requiring the user to select options or click Next at the end of each step. Unattended installations often use a file of predefined answers so that after starting the installation, it runs to completion without further user intervention.

What does an unattended installation require? ›

An unattended installation either does not require the user to supply anything or has received all necessary input prior to the start of installation. Such input may be in the form of command line switches or an answer file, a file that contains all the necessary parameters.

What is an answer file Windows 10? ›

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. These options include how to partition disks, where to find the Windows image that will be installed, and which product key to apply.

What are the key procedures and principals involved in an unattended installation process? ›

Step-by-step guide
1. Step 0: Requirements. ...
3. Step 2: Unpack the distribution. ...
4. Step 3: Configure DNS. ...
5. Step 4: Prepare the Unattended server. ...
6. Step 5: Prepare the Operating System (and Software) distribution point. ...
7. Step 6: Create the bootdisk. ...
8. Step 7: The first boot.

Why is unattended installation important? ›

Saves time and money because users do not have to interactively respond to each installation query. Can be configured to provide automated query response, while still selectively allowing users to provide specified input during installations.

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