Windows Vista : Deploying Applications - Installing from an Answer File, Adding Applications in Audit Mode

10/8/2012 7:12:37 PM

Installing from an Answer File

Deploying Windows Vista by using BDD is a better alternative to using the Windows AIK alone. However, there might be scenarios in which you want to deploy without using BDD by using nothing more than an answer file to automate deployment. You can install applications during deployment simply by adding the commands that install them to your answer file.

To add an application installation to a unattended setup answer file

Open the answer file in Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM).

On the Insert menu, click Synchronous Command, and then click the pass to which you want to add the command. The Specialize pass is recommended.

In the Create Synchronous Command dialog box, type the command and command-line options that installs the application silently. Click OK. Windows SIM adds the command to the pass specified in the previous step.

In RunSynchronous, edit the command’s credentials (username, domain, and password). These are the credentials necessary to connect to the network and run the application installer. You will find RunSyncronous under Microsoft-Windows-Deployment.

Adding Applications in Audit Mode

An alternative to automating application installation using the BDD or the Windows AIK is to use audit mode. Audit mode enables you to customize Windows Vista before turning the destination computer over to the user. In audit mode, you can install applications, configure the operating system, and test the configuration. Audit mode is useful in scenarios in which configurations vary from computer to computer, making automation difficult. Of course, using audit mode implies Lite Touch deployment because you must touch the computer to prepare it during audit mode.

Normally, Windows Vista starts Windows Welcome immediately. (BDD prevents Windows Welcome from starting in its default build configuration.) By starting in audit mode, you bypass Windows Welcome, providing immediate access to the desktop. You can then install applications and prepare the computer for the user. For example, you can create a thin image and use audit mode to add applications. After you configure Windows Vista to start in audit mode, it will continue to start in audit mode until you configure it to start Windows Welcome by running sysprep /oobe.

To install applications in audit mode

Do one of the following to start Windows Vista in audit mode:

  • In Windows Welcome, press Shift+Ctrl+F3.

  • In your unattended setup answer file, set Mode to Audit. You will find Mode under Microsoft-Windows-Deployment, Reseal in Windows SIM.

  • Run sysprep /audit to configure Windows Vista to start in audit mode the next time the computer starts.

Install applications and customize the computer for the user.

To prepare the computer for the user

Verify that the computer is ready for the user.

Run sysprep /oobe to configure the computer to start in Windows Welcome the next time the computer starts.


During the auditSystem pass, the setup program enables the local Administrator account. The setup program disables the local Administrator account during the auditUser pass, however. This allows you to audit the computer with administrator privileges while ensuring the local Administrator account is not available after the computer shuts down. 

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