Troubleshooting the Windows SBS 2008 Answer File

Updated: March 25, 2009

Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

When running an installation (either new or migration) using the Windows SBS 2008 Answer File, you might encounter an error if the server cannot read information in the answer file. This can occur under the following circumstances:

  • The Windows SBS 2008 Answer File Tool is not formatted correctly.

  • The answer file contains corrupt data.

If you encounter an error when opening or running the answer file, take the following steps to verify the contents of the answer file:

  1. Using the Windows SBS 2008 Answer File Tool, open the answer file.

  2. Review the installation information, and then save the file.


If you receive an error that the file cannot save, close the file and then recreate a new answer file with the same information.

  1. Restart the installation with the updated answer file. If you did not continue past the Continuing Installation page, you can restart your server to try and read the answer file again.


You should not open the answer file and edit it directly. Doing so can introduce errors in the file format.

Other general troubleshooting tips

If you cannot start the installation with the Windows SBS 2008 Answer File, check the following:

  • Make sure that the removable media that contains the answer file is plugged into and recognized by the server. If the server does not recognize the removable media, try using different removable media.

  • Make sure that the answer file is saved with the file name sbsanswerfile.xml. If an error exists in the file name, rename the file to correct the error, and then restart the installation.

  • Make sure that the file sbsanswerfile.xml is located in the root partition of the removable media that you are using. If it is not, move or copy the file to that location and then restart the installation.

To read the most recent version of this topic, see the Microsoft Web site ( The most recent version might contain additional information that was not available when Windows SBS 2008 was released.