Create unattended Windows 10 installation.

1. Create answers files

In order to skip the need to click next next next next, we need to give the Windows installation an answers file.

There are 2 answers files we need to create. autoattend.xml for the first part of Windows setup. And unattend.xml for the final part of the Windows setup

Install Windows System Image Manager

First download the (Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit) []

And run the installation

Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit installation prompt

Install it on your current computer

Choose the first option to install on your current computer, and click next. Click next to accept the terms etc.

Select features to install

We only need the Deployment Tolls feature, so unselect the other options and click Install.

Select Deployment tools feature

2. Create the catalog file

Mount Windows 10 ISO

Copy ISO contents to a folder on hard disk

Now we need to get all the contents of the Windows 10 ISO into a file somewhere.

First mount the Windows 10 ISO, copy/paste all the files to somewhere on your computer and then unmount the drive.

The following PowerShell does that for you, just change the path of where your ISO lives

$imagePath = "PATH_TO_YOUR_ISO\Windows10_Enterprise_1909.iso"

$mountResult = Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath $imagePath -PassThru
$driveLetter = ($mountResult | Get-Volume).DriveLetter

mkdir C:\WIN10_ISO

Get-ChildItem -Path $driveLetter":\" | Copy-Item -Destination C:\WIN10_ISO\ -Recurse

Dismount-DiskImage -ImagePath $imagePath

Create Catalog file

To create the Catalog file Windows System Image Manager needs the install.wim based on the edition of Windows 10 that we are installing

Start Windows System Image Manager

Click File - New Answer File

Click Yes, when it asks you if you want to open a Windows image

Open Windows image dialog

Select the install.wim file located inside C:\WIND10_ISO\sources

Create catalog file dialog

Click Yes, and then wait for it to create the catalog file.

Generating catalog file dialog

3. Create the answer file

In Windows System Image Manager, expand Components in Windows Image pane

Scroll down and fine the component amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE, right click and select Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE.

That Component will now be added to your answers file.

Answers file - WindowsPE

Click on the component and enter the settings you want:

WindowsPE - Settings

I’ve added:

InputLocale - 0809:00000809 SystemLocale - en-GB UILanguage - en-GB UILanguageFallback - enUS UserLocale - en-GB

InputLocale setting

0809:00000809 is the setting for the United Kingdom locale. To find yours go to the (Windows Language Pack Default Values)[] on Microsoft Docs.

Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE_neurtral component

and click on Setup UILanguage

and change the UILanguage in there. I’ve added en-GB

WindowsPE - UILanguage

Add Setup component

Scroll down to find the Setup component, right click and select Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE

Answers file setup component

Accept EULA

Expand the Setup component and click on UserData and change the AcceptEula setting to true.

Setup - Accept EULA

Enter product key

Expand the UserData setting and click on ProductKey and add a generic product key for your edition of Windows 10, I’m using Windows 10 Enterprise. You can find a list of generic product keys at Microsoft Docs here

Answers file - Product Key

Configure and parition the Windows system disk.

4. Create the reference machine

First we’re going to create a new blank Windows 10 installation, and install all the software and settings that we want on our final install.

We’re going to spin up a new Hyper-v virtual machine, but you can use VirtualBox, VMWare or whatever, you can even use an actual PC / Laptop for this.

1.1 Install Windows 10 normally until you see the screen asking you to select the region

to restart and enter Audit Mode.

This will restart Windows and log you into Audit Mode as administrator.

Cancel the Sysprep dialog box.

Now install any and all software that you want to be installed on the final machine