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Windows 7 should be released to MSDN next week so it will be time to rebuild my machines. I use my C drive purely as a system volume, D and E for transient data and my F drive for my user accounts and "permanent" data. It still annoys me that the windows set-up process doesn't make it easy to support this sort of configuration, however I know that if you have a USB key with the appropriate ini file you can configure things.

My problem here is that I've not found a good source on how to set the values of the ini file. I know that there is a utility for creating the files but even this too is poorly documented and not very intuitive.

I simply want to enter my product key, set my culture and specify the location for the user profiles. The documentation on specifying the location is particularily poor. When I'm doing a clean install there is no concept of C, D, E or F drives so how do I identify which physical device I wish to use.

Any help or links to good resources would be appreciated.

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I wish I knew, that would make reinstalling a whole lot easier... – Ivo Flipse Jul 30 '09 at 9:23
Perhaps this should be asked on ServerFault, there they should have more experience on this – Ivo Flipse Jul 30 '09 at 9:51
This seems a good source to start looking – Ivo Flipse Jul 30 '09 at 9:53

Perhaps you could make your own version of WindowsPE and script a Windows 7 custom installation from there?

I'm looking at documentations right now, but sadly Windows 7 is of course not yet supported well.

If I can find anything more I will update.

This tutorial will show you how to add features to Win PE 2.0 etc. When you get to the part about making the ISO, which is not necessary. However, copying the winpe.wim to the /sources is important and renaming it to boot.wim. Now we simply need to copy everything located at C:\winpe\iso to your jumpdrive's root directory. (C:\ being the name of where you put winpe). Once you have it copied, you now have a bootable version of WinPE 2.0 on a jumpdrive. Now it is time to copy the windows file. I made separate directories for each version of windows (Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7) and copy the CD files straight to that. If it is in .iso format, mount the ISO and copy the files that way or burn the .iso to a CD/DVD then copy it. We need all the files from each CD/DVD or Image in the folder. Once that has been done, you now have all 3 operating systems on one bootable jumpdrive. Let's boot into WinPE 2.0 on a system you would like to install one of the three operating systems.

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+1 For detailed answer and mention of AIK – BinaryMisfit Jul 30 '09 at 18:42

You can also look into using vLite to build your own installation DVD. Although it is not offically listing Windows 7 it does support it if you use the above mentioned AIK for Windows 7.

The installers for both Windows 7 and Vista are fairly much the same as far as configuration is concerned.

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