Windows Setup Technical Reference

Windows Setup is a bootable program that installs the Windows operating system.

Practical applications

  • You can install or upgrade the Windows operating system on a PC from a USB key, a mounted .ISO file, DVD, or network device.
  • You can automate the Windows installation process, including the configuration of drivers, packages, files, and Windows system settings by using answer files created from Windows System Image Manager Technical Reference.
  • You can use Windows Setup as an installer for your own customized Windows images.
  • You can use the menus in Windows Setup to prepare the hard drives before installation.

What's New

  • Windows 8.1 upgrades are different from previous Windows upgrade scenarios. For more info, see Windows 8.1 Upgrade Scenarios for OEMs.

  • Windows Setup cannot be used to perform automated upgrades to most editions of Windows 8.1.

    For volume-licensed editions of Windows, we've added a new command-line option, setup /auto, to help enable upgrades. Note, we only plan to use this option for upgrades to Windows 8.1, and we may remove the option in future versions of Windows. For more info, see Windows Setup Command-Line Options.

  • Settings for Automating OOBE: The NetworkLocation setting is no longer needed to automate OOBE. The functionality of the ProtectYourPC setting has changed.

See also

The following table contains links to resources related to this scenario.

Content type References


Windows Setup Scenarios and Best Practices | Windows Setup Automation Overview


Windows Setup Installation Process | Boot from a DVD | Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive | Deploy a Custom Image | WinPE: Create USB Bootable drive


Automate Windows Setup | Use a Configuration Set with Windows Setup| Add Device Drivers to Windows During Windows Setup | Add a Custom Script to Windows Setup | Add languages to Windows Setup | Boot Windows to Audit Mode or OOBE

Tools and settings

Windows Setup Command-Line Options | Windows Setup Supported Platforms and Cross-Platform Deployments | Windows Setup States | Windows Setup Edition Configuration and Product ID Files (EI.cfg and PID.txt) | Windows Setup Log Files and Event Logs | Windows Setup Configuration Passes

Related technologies

Windows System Image Manager Technical Reference | Unattended Windows Setup Reference | Sysprep (System Preparation) Overview | WinPE overview