Using Multiple Answer Files with Windows Deployment Services

Windows Deployment Services requires that you create two answer files instead of one to perform automated deployment. The first answer file is used for the Windows DS client when Windows PE runs, and the second answer file is used during the OOBE phase. To configure your unattend.xml file for your Windows DS client, open the properties of the Windows DS server and select the Client tab and browse to select the unattend.xml file you want to use.

The trick is when you want to use different unattend.xml files for different target machines. To do this, you need to use the wdsutil.exe utility to pre-stage them. For more information on how to do this, type wdsutil /add-device /? at a command prompt.


Mitch Tulloch was lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is the book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. Mitch was also the author of Introducing Windows Server 2008 and technical project lead for the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Resource Kit, both books also from Microsoft Press. For more information on these and other books by Mitch, see

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