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Chapter 3. Installing Windows XP Profess... > Tips from the Windows Pros: Automati...

Tips from the Windows Pros: Automating Setup

If you intend to install Windows XP on a bevy of computers, answering all of its installation questions repeatedly can prove an exercise in inefficiency. Instead, you can create a special script to automate the process. The Setup Manager Wizard helps you design the script, or you can base yours on the example supplied on the Windows XP CD.

The script you create is called an answer file, and it is used to install Windows XP in so-called unattended mode. In this mode, nobody needs to interact with the computer during installation. The script simply supplies the answers that you would normally have to enter from the keyboard, such as acceptance of the license agreement, workgroup and computer name, network details, and so on. The script can fully automate or only partially automate the Setup process. For example, you might want to supply defaults for the user but let him or her change them. A script can additionally stipulate the creation of special folders, execution of programs upon completion of Setup, location of Setup files, and more.


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