Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Deploying Win8.1ToGo - custom image/multiple sticks

  1. #1

    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1

    Deploying Win8.1ToGo - custom image/multiple sticks

    I need some help please! What I would like to do is this:

    1) Create custom Windows 8.1 image, which includes things like Office 2013 and perhaps 1 or 2 other general applications, as well as custom Metro look (by removing many default apps)

    2) Use WinToGo wizard on my Windows 8.1 Enterprise to create my Win8.1ToGo USB stick, using my custom .wim file

    3) I will want to then use a cloning software to make copies of this so I can produce many more sticks.

    4) When I then boot into my Win8.1ToGo USB stick I do not want to see any of the 9 initial screens you normally get, i.e. "Personalise", "License Terms", "Settings" etc (I'm assuming an answer file will take care of this).

    5) At the end of this I want to be booted into the Win8.1ToGo Desktop so I can use a custom script to do things like name the machine, and add it to the domain. I cannot and do not want to use Task Sequence to do this.
    I have not been able to find anything on how to create the unattend file for what I want. Is there an official/supported/recommended process for the above, or am I on the right track?

    What I have tried so far is using MDT2013 and the install.wim from the Win8.1 ISO to create a basic deployment share and a basic Task Sequence. I have then tried using the unattend.xml that was created from C:\Deployment\Control\Win81DEPLOY\Unattend.xml and dropped it onto the Win8.1ToGo stick under \Windows\System32\Sysprep. Booting from the Win8.1ToGo stick then gives me an error: "Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize].....The error was detected while processing settings for component Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup.

    The install.wim used in my MDT2013 is the same install.wim I used to create the Win8.1ToGo stick (from the ISO). What am I doing wrong? The unattend has no errors and validates ok.
    Would appreciate any suggestions you may have.

    Many thanks

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    I can't seem to find my link to the article, but there was a documented issue with sysprep under Server 2012r2 if you used "copyprofile=true" (however that reads) in your unattend.xml file. Server 2012r2 and Windows 8.1 share some code, so I tested sysprep leaving that out and it worked for me.

    Another issue you might run into is activation. You have to have a KMS (Key Management Server) to activate WTG and keep it activated. Setting up a KMS is trivial IF you have the key.

    I'm not using MDT, so you may have other issues I haven't run into as well.

    Good luck with it.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1

    Thanks for the reply Joe. At this moment, I'm still using the original install.wim from the DVD so not even got as far as creating my own sysprepped image. Still trying to make the unattend.xml file work but no matter what I add/remove, I keep getting:
    "Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize].....The error was detected while processing settings for component Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup." error. This is with and without copyprofile settings.

    Activation is not an issue as I have KMS server.

    I'm only using MDT (well, WSIM) to create my answer file and this is where I'm having problems at the moment.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    I want to say the message you're getting is close to the same as mine, but not exactly. I've slept since then so.......

    What all do you have in the specialize pass ??
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1

    BluetoothTaskbarIconEnabled - blank
    ComputerName - (8characters)
    CopyProfile - blank (was set to true before which made no difference)
    DisplayAutoDaylightTimeSet - blank
    DoNotCleanTaskBar - true
    OEMName - blank
    ProductKey - blank
    RegisteredOrganization - (name)
    RegisteredOwner - (name)
    ShowWindowsLive - blank
    TimeZone - GMT Standard Time

    The 5 fields that I have set above worked fine on a sysprepped Windows 7 machine before, but I do know that a setting that's wrong/blank/incorrectly set can cause problems on different OS version.

    Many thanks
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1

    Solution found! It was basically the ProductKey field. Because I'm using KMS server this was left blank. It was also left blank in my Win7 deployments as well as my Win8 deployment! Worked just fine on those. But in Win8.1, if you leave it blank, you will get an error in the [specialize] pass.

    Solution is to specify the key, or actually remove the blank "<ProductKey></ProductKey>" tags in the unattend file.

    Hope this helps.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Deploying Win8.1ToGo - custom image/multiple sticks
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