Walkthrough: Deploy Windows by Booting from a DVD

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2


This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

The simplest method for installing Windows® onto new hardware is to start directly from the Windows product DVD with an answer file called Autounattend.xml. This method provides flexibility when network access is not available or when you are building only a few computers. This is the same method used to build an initial image in an image-based deployment scenario, commonly referred to as a master installation.

The answer file enables you to automate all or parts of Windows Setup. You can create an answer file by using Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM). For more information, see Work with Answer Files.


To complete this walkthrough, you need the following:

  • An answer file stored on removable media, such as a floppy disk or a USB flash drive (UFD). The answer file must be called Autounattend.xml, and it must be located at the root of the media.

  • A Windows product DVD.

Install Windows from the Windows product DVD

  1. Turn on the new computer.

  2. Insert both the removable media containing your answer file and the Windows product DVD into the new computer.


When using a USB flash drive, insert the drive directly into the primary set of USB ports for the computer. For a desktop computer, this is typically in the back of the computer.

  1. Restart the computer by pressing the CTRL+ALT+DEL keys.


This example assumes that the hard drive is blank.

  1. Windows Setup (Setup.exe) begins automatically.

    By default, Windows Setup searches all removable media for an answer file called Autounattend.xml.

  2. After Setup completes, validate that all customizations were applied, and then reseal the computer, using the sysprep command with the /generalize option.

To automatically run the Sysprep tool after the installation, set the Microsoft-Windows-Deployment\Reseal component setting in your Autounattend.xml where ForceShutdownNow = true, Mode =OOBE

To run the Sysprep tool manually from a running operating system, at a command prompt, type c:\windows\system32\sysprep.exe /oobe /shutdown

As an OEM, you are required to reseal the new installation by using the System Preparation (Sysprep) tool. The Sysprep tool removes all system-specific information and resets the computer so that the next time the computer restarts, your customers can accept the Microsoft Software License Terms and add user-specific information.

Next Step

This walkthrough illustrates a basic unattended installation with no user input. You can manually add more customizations to the newly installed operating system. If this is a master installation or an installation used for image deployment, shut down the computer and capture an image of the installation by using the ImageX tool or any third-party imaging software.


Any method of moving a Windows image to a new computer—either through imaging, hard disk duplication, or other methods—must be prepared with the sysprep /generalize command. Moving or copying a Windows image to a different computer without running sysprep /generalize is not supported, even if the new computer has the same hardware configuration. The sysprep/generalize command removes unique information from your Windows installation, which enables you to reuse that image on different computers.
The next time you boot the Windows image, the specialize configuration pass runs. During this configuration pass, many components have actions that must be processed when you boot a Windows image on a new computer.

For more information about deploying an image, see Capture and Apply Windows Images.

See Also


Deploy Windows by Using Windows Setup