autounattend.xml will not load from USB HDD RRS feed

  • Question


    I have been trying to figure this one for few days now, but I'm still stuck...I have created Win7 Pro image and want to deploy it using external usb drive(s) in upcoming laptop deployment at my company. All went well with creating the answer file, no errors at all and it does exactly what I need/want.

    My issue is that when I copy the autounattand file onto the root of usb drive that contains all the setup folders/files, setup does not seem to detect the file and stalls at the very first choice of install language, however...when I take the very same answer file and copy it onto smaller pendrive and start the same test laptop up with both external usb drives connected, configuration picks up and setup goes along without any issues. What gives? Tell me what I'm missing, please.

    Thank you.

    Friday, October 22, 2010 4:33 PM


All replies

  • Hi,

    The autounattend.xml file must be to the root of a UBS flash drive or a DVD.
    You can follow this article: Install Windows 7 from Hard Drive but i recommend the use of USB flash drive.


    Blog Microsoft | Déployer Windows 7 | Améliorer les performances de Windows 7
    Friday, October 22, 2010 5:17 PM
  • As stated in my original post, I did include a copy of autounattand file at the root of USB Harddrive, but for some reason it is not being used during setup. However...the very same file loads ok when I use a USB thumbdrive connected alongside forth mentioned HDD. What gives? The volume on external HDD is set as active too. 


    Friday, October 22, 2010 8:36 PM
  • Hi, this is the link about how to make a bootable USB driver,, more detail steps you can refer:



    Please Note: Since the website is not hosted by Microsoft, the link may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.


    Hope it helps.




    Leo   Huang

    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 8:08 AM
  • This exact issue plagued me for hours until I tried booting the install from the USB hard drive while a USB flash drive containing the Autounattend.xml was also inserted.

    The unattended install worked just fine at that point. If I can install fine from a USB HDD, why can't the autounattend.xml be found from the same drive?

    This seems like a bug or oversight as the autounattend method works with any other supported media (DVD, USB flash).

    Monday, February 7, 2011 4:40 AM
  • I am able to install the windows 7 from USB using autouattend. But I tried the same with the USB hard disk, and I failed. It donot recognize the autounttend file located in the USB HDD.


    Please advice.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011 9:01 AM
  • Hi All,

    Anyone ever found a solution? I am having the exact same trouble.. Automated installation on a 8GB USB pendrive is no problem with the Autounattend.xml in the ROOT of the USB pendrive. When I try to do the same with my 60GB External HDD (note: NOT a pendrive!!) with the EXACT same configration and the Autounattend.xml in the root, the normal installation comes up (choice of language). 

    Seems to be a bug when trying to use USB hard drives in stead of USB pendrives. Microsoft answers above do not help, they state the normal procedures. 


    Will keep on looking for an answer, for now I'll go back to rebuilding SCCM.. 

    Friday, July 8, 2011 11:58 AM
  • blimey I have found the answer for those who are still struggeling to get an external USB HDD working as a Windows 7 installation media WITH unattended installation :)

    Please follow these steps to get it working:


    You need the following items beforehand

    1) WAIK

    2) The USB disk you make into a Windows 7 installation disk

    3) A Windows 7 working machine from which you do all the commands


    Then do these steps:

    1) Mount the boot.wim image located on your USB HDD disk (in this example H: is the USB disk) using ImageX from WAIK

    imagex /mountrw H:\Sources\boot.wim 2 C:\temp

    (assumes you have a folder "C:\Temp")

    (the number 2 stands for Index 2 within the boot.wim image)


    2) Fire up your Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Temp. Tadaa you will see your boot.wim image mounted and all. Drop your "autounattend.xml" file you created directly into this folder (right next the the Setup.exe file)


    3) Close Windows Explorer and unmount the image:

    imagex /unmount /commit c:\temp


    4) Remember to the unattend.xml or autounattend.xml from the root of the HDD! 


    5) Start up y'r laptop or desktop, choose the USB disk as boot and voila :) Booting and installing as it should!! 


    Please let me know if all is well and working. If not please do not hesitate to ask here.. 

    Friday, July 8, 2011 12:39 PM
  • You star Robbert, that worked for me.  I was going to give up until I found this post.

    Just to confirm, I too couldn't understand why my USB stick unattend WOULD work but my USB External HDD unattend (or ISO disc) WOULDN'T.

    I followed you instructions and it works.



    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:31 AM
  • Hello together,

    please excuse my bad english.

    I have 2 different usb-sticks, exact the same windows Installation, same autounattend.xml and same client. I am booting into uefi; the sticks are in fat32 formatet. 

    Now my Problem: one of the sticks boot, use the autounattend.xml and no user action is required. the other stick boot but it seems that the autounattend.xml is not found and the normal windows setup starts.

    Does anyone have an idea what is going wrong?

    Thank you


    Monday, August 3, 2015 9:07 AM
  • Hi

    As far as I know now. The problem is that USB drives can be of two types:

    1. removable (many, but not all USB thumb drives are removable, DVD drives)

    2. fixed drives (USB HDD, and some USB thumb drives)

    The installation looks ONLY for removable drives and as a USB HDD is fixed, it doesn't care. It may be a bug or it is a design choice. I don't understand why they did this, but it is like that.

    The installation program (setup.exe) also looks at the harddrive and so on, that's why it works if you put it into boot.wim index:2 (Windows installation).

    • Proposed as answer by Stumidek Friday, July 14, 2017 2:29 PM
    Friday, July 14, 2017 2:29 PM