Friday, May 18, 2012

Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file

Had a lot of issues with cloning a Windows 7 system when using an unattend.xml

Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize]. The settings spefcified in the answer file cannot be applied. The error was detected while processing settings for component [Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup].

After much searching I found this which was spot on:

Thank you Jamie!

I had set the copyprofile paramater and had ensured that only the administrator account was present by removing the other profiles through the user control panel.

Seems that when I removed the users through the control panel it did not delete the values in the profilelist registry value.

To fix rather than making a new sysprep image I did the following:
  • Exported the wim from WDS
  • Mounted my image from the wds server
    • imagex /mountrw d:\ 2 c:\mountedimage
  • Modified the system registry values
    • Open Regedit
    • Highlight HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    • File - Load Hive
    • Navigate into your mounted image to Windows\System32\Config
    • Select the SOFTWARE  (no extension)
    • Give a temp name to the hive
    • Navigate into the temp hive mount and remove the obsolete keys
    • Select the temp hive name
    • File - Unload Hive
  • Commit changes
    • imagex /commit c:\mountedimage  (I found that using commit and unmount in seperate command limited the amount of times I get the error that it couldn't fully unmount)
  • Unmount
    • imagex /unmount c:\mountedimage
  • Imported the wim back into WDS as a new build
    • Right click my install images group and "Add Install Image"

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