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Back in the XP days, I tried a trick and it worked: if I wanted to install XP with only the administrator, I would turn off the computer during the installation when it asks for entering a name for a user to create.

That seems not to work with Windows 7, and Windows 7 is even more frustrating when it comes to controlling what I can do and what I can't (take ownership, give permissions, auditing, etc...)

So, how can I install Windows 7 with only the administrator?

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Yes, when my hacks no longer work, the proper response is to get frustrated. . . – surfasb Apr 17 '12 at 7:21

Customizing your windows install is easy, you need an answer file. Use WAIK and/or MDT to build one.

The problem with using the generic OOBE wizard that launches from the standard boot.wim is you have almost no control of the install. To get around the strict limitations of the stock boot.wim environment, build your own answer file using either the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK), the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) or both.

This will let you build a custom USB stick with an answer file that will setup the local accounts just the way you want it. It will allow you to customize the install process and load everything you need: images, drivers, apps & packages to the USB a this toolkit will automate the whole deployment.

MDT uses task sequences to deploy Windows in a very automated fashion. For your needs it may seem like overkill, and it may be, but building answer files is complicated, and MDT makes it easy.

Quick overview of what need first

  1. Download & Install MDT 2012 Update 1
  2. Download & Install Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit (AIK)
  3. Download & Install Windows 7 AIK Supplement for SP1
  4. Download the digital river MS Win7SP1 ISO (see Super User FAQ)

From MDT's Deployment Workbench

  1. Create Deployment Share
  2. Import Drivers
  3. Create a standard task sequence and import your .wim file from your CD.
    Once this is done you can edit the unattend.xml file to configure the accounts just the way you like it.


Using WSIM Will Ensure your Answer File Simply re-enables the Local Admin

  1. Add whatever apps you want into applications. For instance, if you want Firefox installed at deploy time, you would use: firefoxsetup.exe -ms
  2. Update the deployment share
  3. Load your deployment share to a bootable USB

Since you're not using the OOBE wizard to setup Windows, you can take total control of how the accounts are setup. By default MDT turns the admin account back on and you can take your install from there. This whole system can be quite overwhelming at first, but once you get it working, you can do almost anything with it. Learning how to do unattended setups is pretty easy if you're willing to do the research.

Random After thought

If building an entire deployment share seems like more trouble than it's worth, there may be another way. There may be a way you can just simply feed the standard installer an answer file, and you don't have to use MDT, all you'd need is WAIK. You'd be giving up more control, but if all you're really after is just the standard built in admin account, look into loading an answer file from USB.

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You can use vLite to create an unattended install disk where you can skip the OOBE process and specify which users you want created. It was designed for Vista, but it works with Win7.

Still need to download the Win7 AIK - (link from MDT Guy)

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Via scripted install using deployment toolkit (15GB downloads, you need to be a MSDN subscriber to get product ISOs without ripping DVDs)

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Where does one get the deployment toolkit? And can you explain how to perform this scripted install? What settings need to be done, etc.? – slhck Apr 17 '12 at 10:02

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