Skip to main content.

The [_meta] section

Unattended adds some functionality on top of Windows Setup. This functionality is controlled by a new section of the answer file, the [_meta] section. This section is ignored by Windows Setup; it exists solely to let you provide answers to some of the new questions asks.

Partitioning and formatting

The installation script begins by partitioning and formatting the disk.

To automatically answer the "Use large disk support" question, set the fdisk_lba key to 1 for "yes" and 0 for "no".

To automatically partition the drive, use the fdisk_cmds key. This is a semicolon-separated list of commands invoking FreeDOS FDISK. Keep in mind that the result of these commands must be a partition table with an active FAT partition. To suppress the confirmation for disk partitioning, set fdisk_confirm to 0.

To automatically format the drive, set the format_cmd key. This is normally an invocation of the FreeDOS format utility.

Finally, to automatically replace the Master Boot Record (MBR) or not, use the replace_mbr key. Set it to 1 for "yes" and 0 for "no".

For example, to use large disk support, partition the drive as a single large partition (without confirmation), format it, and replace the MBR:

    fdisk_cmds="fdisk /clear 1;fdisk /pri:4000;fdisk /activate:1"
    format_cmd="format /y /z:seriously /q /u /a /v: c:"

Post-install scripts, Local Administrators, NTP servers, final edits

To configure which top-level post-installation script to run, set the top key.

To configure which "optional" scripts to run, set the middle key.

To configure a script to run last, just before the final cleanup and reboot, set the bottom key (normally unset).

To configure which domain accounts are added to the local Administrators group, set the local_admins key to a semicolon-separated list of user names. An empty list is allowed, but it must be quoted. User names may be fully qualified (DOMAIN\user), or they may be bare (user); in the latter case, the [Identification]/JoinDomain value will be used as the domain.

To configure the NTP servers, set the ntp_servers key. This is a space-separated list.

To control the final question, where you are asked if you want to make any final edits, use the edit_files key. Set it to 0 to avoid being asked the question.

For example, to perform a base install, add Spybot Search&Destroy and the Sun JRE, configure NTP servers named "ntp-0" and "ntp-1", not add any accounts to the local Administrators group, and skip the final question:

    ntp_servers="ntp-0 ntp-1"

Other keys

There are several other keys which appear in the [_meta] section, like macaddr and ipaddr. Most of these are generated automatically from sane defaults, so unless you are sure about what you are doing, you should probably omit them from your unattend.txt file.