Use a Configuration Set with Windows Setup

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

Use a configuration set to add applications, drivers, packages, scripts, files and folders to Windows during installation. A configuration set is a portable collection of files and folders that you can place on a USB Flash Drive (UFD) or on a network share.

To use a configuration set, you need the following:

  • A configuration set. For more information, see Create a Configuration Set.

  • A Windows product DVD.

  • A removable media, such as a USB flash drive (UFD), if you intend to install without a network.

  • A bootable Windows PE media if you intend to install from a network. For more information, see WinPE: Create USB Bootable drive.

How to use a Configuration Set with a Windows DVD

  1. Turn on the computer.

  2. Insert both the removable media that contains your configuration set 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 CTRL+ALT+DEL.

  2. When the computer reboots, you might be prompted to press any key to boot from the CD-ROM drive. Press any key and Windows Setup (Setup.exe) starts automatically.

    By default, Windows Setup searches all removable media for an answer file that is named Autounattend.xml. Autounattend.xml must be located at the root of the removable media.

    Installation starts, and the settings you configured in your answer file will be applied.

How to use a Configuration Set from a Network

  1. Create two folders on a network share to store the product DVD source files and your configuration set. For example,

    net use N: \\server\share
    md N:\WindowsDVD
    md N:\ConfigurationSets
  2. Copy the content of the product DVD to the \WindowsDVD folder.

  3. Copy your configuration set to the \ConfigurationSets folder.

  4. Boot the destination computer by using a bootable Windows PE media.

    For information about creating bootable Windows PE media, see WinPE: Create USB Bootable drive.

  5. At a command prompt in Windows PE, map a network drive to your network share. For example,

    net use N: \\server\share
  6. Run Windows Setup from the network and reference your answer file in your configuration set. For example,

    N:\WindowsDVD\setup /unattend:N:\ConfigurationSets\autounattend.xml

See Also


Add a Custom Command to an Answer File
Boot from a DVD
Deploy a Custom Image
Boot Windows to Audit Mode or OOBE
Add Device Drivers to Windows During Windows Setup
Add a Custom Script to Windows Setup

Other Resources

Windows Setup Technical Reference