The "<servicing>" section of the Autounattend.xml answer file is not processed when Windows Setup automatically identifies the file in Windows Vista

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SYMPTOMS

When you perform an unattended installation of Windows Vista, you may find that the "<servicing>" section of the automatically detected unattended-answer file (Autounattend.xml) is not processed.

The "<servicing>" section contains instructions to install language packs, hotfixes, or other packages. The unattended-answer file is automatically detected by Windows Setup because this file is located in one of several valid search locations for unattended-answer files. Because of this problem, the installation of language packs, hotfixes, or other packages fails silently.

This problem does not occur if the Autounattend.xml answer file is explicitly specified by using the /unattend switch.

CAUSE

When Windows Setup finds an Autounattend.xml answer file in one of the valid search locations, it determines whether the answer file contains a pass that must be processed in the current phase. The "<servicing>" section is not a valid pass by itself. Therefore, Windows Setup determines that there is nothing to be processed during the Windows PE phase, unless there is an offlineServicing pass or a windowsPE pass also specified in the Autounattend.xml file.

Note Files in valid search locations include a previously cached answer file and an answer file at the root of a drive, among other locations. The complete list of valid search locations appears in the Implicit Answer File Search Order that is documented on the following Microsoft Web site:
http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/e91be51c-77e1-433a-a733-d9d0e6a2b8411033.mspx?mfr=true
If the Autounattend.xml answer file is explicitly specified by using the /unattend switch, the answer file is cached without being validated. Therefore, the "<servicing>" section is processed successfully.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this problem, add an offlineServicing pass to the Autounattend.xml answer file. For this resolution to succeed, the offlineServicing pass must perform some work. Therefore, configure the offlineServicing pass to install drivers from an empty folder. This forces Windows Setup to cache the Autounattend.xml answer file during the Windows PE phase. Therefore, the "<servicing>" section will be processed by Setup.

Use the $oem$ feature in Windows Setup to create an empty folder on drive C. Use this folder to load drivers. The contents of $oem$ are injected into the target image before the offlineServicing pass is processed. In this case, $oem$ lets you create a known empty folder to use for the resolution. It is also convenient to copy the package that you are installing to drive C by using $oem$, because this makes the paths to the files predictable. The $oem$ folder must be located in the sources folder of the Windows Vista installation media or Windows Vista installation share. For more information about the $oem$ feature, see the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit User's Guide (Opk.chm).

Sample procedure: Add a language pack by using the "<servicing>" section of the Autounattend.xml file

The following sample procedure applies a language pack from the "<servicing>" section of the Autounattend.xml file for a custom installation or for a recovery-media scenario. This procedure can be modified to apply to a hotfix or to another package. To perform this procedure, follow these steps:
  1. Copy the Windows Vista installation files from the DVD to a local folder. For example, copy these files to C:\VistaMedia.
  2. Create the following folder:
    C:\VistaMedia\SOURCES\$OEM$\$$\SYSTEM32\OEM\DRIVERS
  3. Copy the language pack files to C:\VistaMedia\SOURCES\$OEM$\$$\SYSTEM32\OEM\lp.cab.
  4. Copy the Autounattend.xml file to C:\VistaMedia\autounattend.xml.
  5. Use the Oscdimg.exe file to create the custom ISO image file. To do this, type the following command at a command prompt:
    oscdimg.exe –n –betfsboot.com C:\VistaMedia custom_media.iso
  6. Use a DVD-writing program to write the ISO image file to DVD media as an image.

Sample Autounattend.xml file

autounattend.xml:
************************
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
   <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
<settings pass="offlineServicing">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-PnpCustomizationsNonWinPE" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <DriverPaths>
                <PathAndCredentials wcm:keyValue="2f3586a1" wcm:action="add">
                    <Path>c:\windows\system32\oem\drivers</Path>
                </PathAndCredentials>
            </DriverPaths>
        </component>
    </settings>

    <servicing>
        <package action="install">
            <assemblyIdentity name="Microsoft-Windows-Client-LanguagePack-Package" version="6.0.6000.16386" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="ro-RO" />
            <source location=" c:\windows\system32\oem\lp.cab" />
        </package>
    </servicing>
    <cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="wim:c:/vista_rtm_media/x86/sources/install.wim#Windows Vista ULTIMATE" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />
</unattend>
************************

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about how to run Windows Setup, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/e91be51c-77e1-433a-a733-d9d0e6a2b8411033.mspx?mfr=true

Properties

Article ID: 939289 - Last Review: November 26, 2007 - Revision: 1.2
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
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