Perform a unattended Server Core install

Posted: May 21, 2010 in Server, Server 2008, System Information
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As with previous versions of the OS, you use an ‘‘unattend’’ file for a Server Core installation or a regular Windows Server 2008 image. The unattended server install enables you to perform most of the initial configuration tasks during Setup. The following section describes an unattended installation of the Server Core image. If you have a number of servers to install, the unattended installation of Server Core can provide a host of benefits.

There is no need to perform initial configuration using command-line tools because you can include options in the unattend file that will enable remote administration. Once Setup completes you will be able to connect with various tools and applications and continue to fine-tune and configure.

To install a Server Core installation by using an unattend file, do the following:

1. First create an .xml file titled unattend.xml. You can use any text editor or the Windows System Image Manager.

2. Next copy the unattend.xml file to a local drive or place it on a shared network resource.

3. Place the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), Windows Server 2003, or Windows XP media in the machine’s CD drive and start your computer.

4. Next place the CD of the Server Core installation image of Windows Server 2008 into your disk drive. As soon as the auto-run Setup window appears, click Cancel. This will bring you to the command prompt.

5. Next, change to the drive that contains the installation media, enter the following command, and press Enter:

setup /unattend:<path>\unattend.xml

The <path> is the path to your unattend.xml file described in step 2. Setup will run to completion with whatever you have in the unattend.xml file.

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