Installation Folder - I usually like to stick with the Windows folder but you can do what ever you like.
Install Printers - Heres an example of how you would install a network printer if it was not hooked directly to the machine you are going to install the OS on. If the computer that my printer was on was named Jeramie, I would use \\Jeramie\Printer as my Network printer name. In order for it work you would have to make sure that Printer sharing is enabled on that computer. To do this, go to that computer and go to Start/Control Panel. Then open Printers and Faxes. Right Click on Printer and select sharing from the menu. In the Sharing Tab make sure you have Share this Printer ticked and make sure the Share Name is the same as in the answer file. For example I used Printer which is what Windows uses by default. Name it what ever you want but make sure the names match. You could do the same for a fax machine. In the answer file it would look like this \\Jeramie\Fax.
Run Once - As you can see in the Run Once section it has all ready set up the command to add the printer. There are other commands you could use here also. In the answer file I am creating here I would be setting up the disk partitions manually. If you wanted to have the answer file do it for you, you would add the command for it here also. This would require you to create a new batch file. Once again, you can make this as simple or advanced as you like.
Additional Commands - This is somewhat more of an advanced feature. It allows you to have setup install things that you would normally want to install right after Windows XP. If you desire to venture into it and what it can do for you, Creating a Combination Installation is an example of one way to use this. This would require you to choose different options in the setup manager than we did here. For this article we are going to leave it blank. Now click Finish.
Save the Answer File - Now put in your formatted floppy disk into your A drive. Where it says Location and file name, type in A:\winnt.sif. It should look just like the image below. Since we are using the CD Boot method, we must name the answer file winnt.sif. Click OK.
If you do not have a Floppy drive or just want to put it on your Windows XP CD - You will need to save the answer file to your hard drive as winnt.sif. You will be required to make a backup of your Windows XP CD. First of all, you will need to extract the contents of your Windows XP CD to your hard drive. Then you must add winnt.sif to the I386 folder. You will not need to use the batch file (winnt.bat). Dont forget to add winnt.sif first. After extracting Windows XP from the hard drive you can not just burn it to a CD (it won't be bootable). Follow the instructions at Binks site on How to make your XP bootable. I would also recommend using a CD-RW the first time you try doing this. If you mess something up you will not be wasting your CD-Rs.
Setup Manager Complete - Congratulations! You have now created your first answer file. Here it is telling you that it has created two files for you.
winnt.sif - This is the answer file
winnt.bat - You will also need this batch file on the floppy. It tells the answer file where to find the files needed for Windows Setup.
Now go to where you saved your answer file. Right click on winnt.sif and open with notepad. You should see something similar to what you see below except that it should your answers instead of mine. If you want to make some last minute changes do so now.
If you like to make multiple partitions on your hard drive you will need to make a minor change to the answer file. In the [Data] section have a look at AutoPartition. With the current setting at one it will automatically choose a partition to install to. This will take away your option to make partitions. If you would rather create your own partitions set the 1 to 0. I recommend you do this if you already have an operating system installed on your computer that you would like to start fresh with or if you want XP to create a dual boot for you. You should have a second partition to do a dual boot.
Command0="rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /in /n \\Jeramie\Printer"
Now Right click on your winnt.bat file and in the menu click edit. This is a batch file. A batch file is a file containing instructions that are executed one after the other. Notice that in the batch file it tells you that it may need to be modified. You may need to edit the path for setup to find the files it needs. The batch file here says:
1. The answer file is winnt.sif
2. Setup files are located on E:\ (My CD-ROM Drive) in the I386 folder.
3. Tells Setup to begin using winnt32 with a script to tell it to use the unattended method.
If youre going to be using this on another computer you may have to change the drive letter to whatever the CD-ROM is set at.
rem This is a SAMPLE batch script generated by the Setup Manager Wizard.
rem If this script is moved from the location where it was generated, it may have to be modified.
E:\i386\winnt32 /s:%SetupFiles% /unattend:%AnswerFile%
Now its time to start the installation.
First, you're going to need to change your boot order in the BIOS to boot from CD-ROM. Once you do this you'll then be able to boot your computer from the Installation CD and perform the installation of Windows XP.
After changing the boot order in BIOS, save your changes and reboot the computer. Make sure your Installation CD is in your CD-ROM. If it is you'll be prompted to press any key to boot from CD-ROM. Press any key on your keyboard as soon as you see this message. Wait a few minutes while the installation begins to copy the preliminary setup files to your computer.
If you decided to make create your own partitions, you need to decide which partition of your hard drive you will install Windows XP on. Once you have figured out which partition XP will be installed on it's time to format it.
Choose to format the partition to either FAT32 or NTFS. After you have select one of the options hit enter and Setup will begin to format the partition. You will have to format the other partitions after you are finished with your installation of XP. You can do this with Administrative Tools in the Control Panel.
Now just sit back and wait or go do something else. The next things you will be asked to do are register or activate Windows XP and setup user accounts. Everything else is done for you.
Using this method of installing windows XP may take a little of your time at first but can be handy in future installations of Windows XP. I personally like the fact that this allows me to not worry about setting up certain things like networking. I also prefer just adding my answer file to my Windows CD just because I dont have to find the floppy later or worry about it corrupting. I would recommend you try the floppy method first so you can play with all the different ways of automating Windows XP setup.