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How To Perform an Unattended Installation of Windows from a CD-ROM

This article was previously published under Q216258
Notice
This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.
For a Microsoft Windows XP version of this article, see 314459.

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Notice
This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.
SUMMARY
This article describes how to perform an unattended installation of Windows by starting your Intel-based computer from a CD-ROM. In Windows 2000, an unattended installation from a CD-ROM can be performed.

To perform an unattended installation from a CD-ROM, the following conditions must be met:
  • The computer must support booting from a CD-ROM, and must adhere to the El-Torito non-emulation specification.
  • The unattended answer file must be renamed to Winnt.sif and copied to a floppy disk so Setup can access it.
  • The answer file must contain a valid [Data] section. This is explained later in this article.
NOTE: The following limitations exist with this installation method:
  • The installation is limited to a single partition.
  • You cannot specify third-party drivers during Setup.

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Preparing the Computer for an Unattended Installation from a CD-ROM

  1. Create an unattended answer file using the Setup Manager tool included with the Microsoft Windows 2000 Resource Kit.
  2. Add a [Data] section with the following entries to the unattended answer file:

    • UnattendedInstall=Yes - Value must be set to "yes"
    • MSDosInitiated=No - Value must be set to "no" or Setup stops during the graphical portion of Setup
    • AutoPartition=1 - If the value is set to 1, the installation partition is automatically selected. If the value is set to 0 (zero), you are prompted for the installation partition during the text portion of Setup.
  3. Save the unattended answer file as winnt.sif on a floppy disk.
  4. Insert the Windows CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive and the floppy disk into the disk drive.
  5. Change the boot order in the CMOS so that the CD-ROM is first in the list. For information about how to do so, refer to the documentation included with your computer, or contact the manufacturer.
  6. Restart your computer. When Setup is started from the CD-ROM, the Winnt.sif file located on the floppy disk is used for the unattended installation.

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Article ID: 216258 - Last Review: 10/30/2006 18:15:05 - Revision: 3.4

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • kbhowto kbhowtomaster kbsetup KB216258
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