Home Windows 10 How to Install Windows 10 With the Help of Windows 10 ADK

How to Install Windows 10 With the Help of Windows 10 ADK

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Have you ever wondered how good it will be if you don’t even have to touch your PC and will get a freshly installed Windows 10 on your machine? Tired of selecting the number of steps while installing Windows 10? How good will it be if you just only have to make a bootable drive and you are as good to go as just plug n play?

Well, you read it right, it is possible With Windows 10 ADK. This method not only speeds up the process but also save you from sitting in front of your machine all the time while the OS gets installed.

Precaution: Before you start with this method, make sure that you have a spare machine with you to test this installation method. It is important because there is a huge possibility of mistakes a user can make while preparing the files required. A small mistake can make your working machine dead and can lead you towards a number of problems.

Now before we start, let’s understand one thing i.e., this method requires a user to create an autounattended.xml file which will contain all the choices you wanna make while installing Windows 10 on your machine.

How to Install Windows 10 With the Help of Windows 10 ADK

If you are a geek and a tech enthusiast then you may find a number of ways to create an answer file to install Windows 10 hands-free. We are going to show you one such way on how to create an answer file to install Windows 10 Pro version 1809 on a device. The device can be using either Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) or Basic Input-Output System (BIOS) with a single drive.

But, this method does have a drawback of erasing everything on the hard drive. It creates the required partitions automatically and installs Windows 10 using the common and default settings.

Reminder: As we have already mentioned that this process erases everything present on the hard drive, it is recommended that you should take a full backup of your PC before getting started with the process.
Prerequisites before Starting

Before getting started, here is the list of a few things which will be needed:

  • Windows Assessment and Development Kit (ADK).
  • Windows 10 installation media.
  • Windows 10 account with administrator privileges.
  • USB flash drive with minimum 8GB of space.
  • Spare PC to test the installation process.

How to use Windows System Image Manager

As discussed earlier, it is easier for you to create an answer file if you are a tech enthusiast but for those who are new to this, you will need to use the Windows System Image Manager (SIM). It is the feature of Windows Assessment and Development Kit (Windows 10 ADK). This feature helps in creating a file which will be used by the installer to install Windows 10.

  1. Download the Windows 10 ADK installer for Windows 10 version 1809.
  2. Open the installer and start its installation process.
  3. Select the “Install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit – Windows 10 to this computer” option.windows 10 adk
  4.  Click on the Next button and select your privacy options.
  5. Click on the Accept button to agree to the license agreement.
  6. Next, deselect all the selected items and select only the Deployment Tools package.windows 10 adk
  7. Click the install button and close the window after the installation is done.

As soon as the answer file is created, you can change the settings and reuse it for other installations. No need of using the Windows System Image Manager Tool again and again.

Now, you need to create an answer file and for that, you have to import the Windows 10 Image. This image will help in creating a list of components. To import the install files, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Go to the folder where the ISO file is kept.
  3. Right click on the ISO file and select Open with. Click on the File Explorer to mount it.
  4. Go to the folder where the installation files are mounted and copy them to your USB Drive. Make sure you format the USB Drive before using.windows 10 adk
  5. Or you can directly mount the files on the USB Drive.
  6. You can save these files in a separate folder for the future use too.

To continue, you need the install.wim file which comes with the ISO. But, if the ISO that you have was built using Media Creation Tool then it may have an install.esd file. The only problem with the .esd file is that these files are in encrypted format.

If your ISO doesn’t have the .wim image file then you may have to download a new ISO from Microsoft’s official website. Or you can create an install.wim file from install.esd file

How to Create an install.win file

As soon as your files are copied to your flash drive, you can use the DISM command tool to convert a .wim image file from a .esd file in the following way:

  1. Press Windows key + X key on your keyboard. The Quick Link menu will open up.
  2. Click on Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  3. Type the following command:
    dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:C:\path\to\folder\sources\install.esd

    In the above command make sure that you change the “path\to\sources” to the location of the file where you have the install.esd file saved.

  4. Identify the index number of the edition of Windows 10 that you want to install. In this case, we will be using Windows 10 Pro which has the index number as 6.
  5. Now, type the following command to start the conversion of the .esd file to .wim file.
    dism /Export-Image /SourceImageFile:C:\path\to\folder\sources\install.esd /SourceIndex:6 /DestinationImageFile:C:\path\to\folder\sources\install.wim /Compress:Max /CheckIntegrity

    In the above command make sure that you change the “path\to\sources” to the location of the file where you have the install.esd file saved.

Before we start with how to create an answer file, we need to create an Environment which will be responsible for the creation of answer file. To create the environment, go as per the following steps:

  1. Open Start menu and search for Windows System Image Manager.
  2. Click on the File menu and select the option Select Windows Image.
  3. Navigate to the drive where you have kept the Windows 10 installation files.
  4. In the “Sources” folder, select the “install.wim” image file and click on the Open button to open it.
    Reminder: Make sure the file has the extension as .wim, if it is .esd then this won’t work.
  5. Select the edition of Windows 10 that you want to install. In our case, it is Windows 10 Pro. Click on OK.
  6. A pop-up window will open up. Click on Yes to continue the process of listing and creating the answer catalog.
    Note: This is a time taking process and may take a while to complete. As soon as the process is complete, a .clg file will get saved to the same location where your install.wim file is present. You can use it later on for other installations too.
  7. Click on the File menu and select the option Select Distribution Share.
  8. Navigate to the folder which you are using to store the project for future use.
  9. Create a new folder and name it as Distribution to store additional files. Open the folder and create a new folder inside it. Name it as Packages, go one folder back, select Distribution folder and click on Open button.
  10. Click on the File menu and select the option New Answer File.

As soon as the above steps are completed, you are now ready to create the answer file. This answer file will be responsible for the options to be selected when the Windows Installation process starts.

How to create the Windows 10 Installation Answer file

Moving towards the creation of answer file, it is necessary for you to know that this process is of seven different stages and maybe a little trickier. So if you are a newbie, it is suggested that you should read each and every step and proceed accordingly.

In this process, we will be creating an autounattend.xml answer file with the minimum requirements to automate the Windows 10 installation on your machine. We will be configuring phases such as windowsPE, specialize, oobeSystem, etc.

Phase 1: Pass 1 windowsPE

Starting with the phase 1, let us understand what it is about. In this phase we are gonna setup region and language, configure hard drive, installation location, and product key.

Note: Keep in mind the type of Windows ISO you are having. If it is a 32-Bit version then it would be named as x86_Microsoft-Windows and if it is a 64-Bit version then it would be named as amd64_Microsoft-Windows. We will be using the 64-Bit one.

How to configure Language and Region Settings

To configure the region and language settings while auto-installation of Windows 10 on your machine, follow these steps:

  1. In “Windows Image”, expand the components folder.
  2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE component.
  3. Right-click on the SetupUILanguage component, and select the Add Setting to Pass1 windowsPE option.
  4. On the right side of the window under “Answer File”, select the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE component.
  5. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, define the type of Keyboard, region, primary language, and device location.
    Note: Users outside the US should configure ULLanguageFallback using the en-US as the fallback language.
  6. Select the SetupUILanguage sub-component.
  7. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, set UILanguage with the correct language which you wish to be as your default language.
How to configure Installation Settings

The unattended installation of Windows 10 needs a configured answer file which specifies the settings which are needed to set the HDD at the time of installation.

  1. In “Windows Image”, expand the components folder.
  2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE component.
  3. Expand the DiskConfiguration component.
  4. Right-click the Disk component and select the option Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE.
  5. On the right side of the window under “Answer File”, select the DiskConfiguration component.
  6. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, set the WillShowUI value to OnError.
    Note: It is necessary that the above step is performed compulsorily. If not then the installation process will stop at the time of HDD configuration.
  7. Select the Disk component.
  8. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use these values:

    • DiskID:
      0
    • WillWipeDisk: True
    • Setting the WillWipeDisk to true will erase everything present on your HDD. As soon as the drive is formatted, the process will start setting up the partitions.

As soon as the DiskConfiguration settings are configured, the next main thing that you need to set up is the type of partition layout that your machine supports. You need to check whether your device supports UEFI or Legacy BIOS.

Now, the reason behind this is that BIOS-based machines require two partitions i.e., System Reserved and Windows and UEFI based devices require four partitions i.e., WinRE, EFI, MSR, and Windows.

To check which layout is supported by your machine, you can simply go to System Information from the Start Menu. In the System Summary window, check the value in front of BIOS Mode. If it says Legacy then your machine supports BIOS or if it says UEFI then your machine supports UEFI.

How to Create and Modify Partitions (BIOS)

If your machine supports Legacy BIOS the follow the steps given below to configure the partitions.

  1. In “Disk Configuration” under “Disk”, right click on CreatePartitions and select the option Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE.
  2.  Right click on the CreatePartitions and select the option Insert New CreatePartition option to create a partition. Repeat this step two times.
  3. Select the first CreatePartition.
  4. On the right side of the window under the “Settings”, use the given values to create a system reserved partition:Extend: false
    Order: 1
    Size: 500
    Type: PrimaryThe values entered above are for creating a system reserved partition of 500MB. This partition is required by Windows to boot up.
  5. Select the second CreatePartition.
  6. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the given values to create a partition to install Windows 10.Extend: True
    Order: 2
    Type: Primary.

Now, the steps you saw above are for the creation of the two main partitions required for BIOS type machines to run Windows 10. Did you noticed while creating the second partition we didn’t mention any size value and we set the Extend value as true. This is because we want to create the partition with all the leftover space on our HDD.

Now, if you want to create multiple partitions like two for your use, then mention the size of the second partition in MBs and set its extend value to false. After completing the steps for the second partition, perform the same steps for the third partition and set its extend value to true and no need to mention the size.

In the above steps, we have started our journey towards what type of file format our drive should have. To specify file format and partition properties of our partitions, follow the steps given below:

  1. In “Disk Configuration” under “Disk”, right click on ModifyPartition and select the option Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE.
  2. In “Answer File” right click on ModifyPartition and select the option Insert New ModifyPartition to modify the first and second partition. Do this for all the number of partitions.
  3. Select the first ModifyPartition.
  4. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the given values to configure the first partition i.e., system reserved partition:Active: true
    Format: NTFS
    Label: System
    Order: 1
    PartitionID: 1
  5. Select the second ModifyPartition.
  6. On the right side of the window under Settings, use the given values to configure a partition to install Windows 10.Format: NTFS
    Label: Windows
    Letter: C
    Order: 2
    PartitionID: 2
    Note: Now, if you have made more partitions then follow the steps mentioned above and make sure to name another partition letter as “E” after “C”, since “D” is resrved for DVD Drive.

Moving towards the last part of this phase, now we have to set up the partition where the Windows 10 installation will take place.

To set the drive as default for Windows 10 installation, folow:

  1. In “Windows Image” expand the Components folder.
  2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
  3. Expand the ImageInstall component and then expand the OSImage.
  4. Right click on the InstallTo component and select the option Add Setting to Pass 1 WindowsPE.
  5. On the right side of the windows under “Answer File” select InstallTo.
  6. On the right side under “Settings” use these values:DiskID: 0
    PartitionID: 2

Once the above steps are completed you can now move towards the part of Defining the Product Key.

How to Create and Modify Partitions (UEFI)

If you are the one whose PC supports UEFI partition support then follow this set of instructions on how to create partition and how to set them up.

  1. In “DiskConfiguration” under “Disk”, right click on CreatePartitions and select the option Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE.
  2. Right click on the CreatePartitions and select the option Insert New CreatePartition option to create a partition. Perform this step for atleast four times. As mentioned above, UEFI takes 4 partitions to start the installation.
  3. Then, select the first CreatePartition in “Anser File” window.
  4. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the following values to create the Windows Recovery (WinRE) partition:Extend: false
    Order: 1
    Size: 500
    Type: Primary
  5. Select the second CreatePartition.
  6. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the following values to create EFI partition:Extend: false
    Order: 2
    Size: 100
    Type: EFI
  7. Select the third CreatePartition.
  8. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the following values to create a Microsoft Reserved (MSR) partition:Extend: False
    Order: 3
    Size: 16
    Type: MSR
  9. Select the fourth CreatePartition.
  10. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the following values to create the Windows partition:Extend: true
    Order: 4
    Type: Primary

Till now, we have created the partitions required for the installation process to start. But, still we have to mention what type of file format and partition properties those partitions should have.

To specify what type of file format and partition properties should be there, follow these step:

  1. In “Disk Configuration” under “Disk”, right click on ModifyPartition and select the option Add Setting to Pass 1 windowsPE.
  2. In “Answer File” right click on ModifyPartition and select the option Insert New ModifyPartition to modify the partitions. Do this for all the number of partitions.
  3. Select the first ModifyPartition.
  4. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the given values to configure the Windows Recovery (WinRE) partition:Format: NTFS
    Label: WinRE
    Order:1
    PartitionID: 1
    TypeID: DE94BBA4-06D1-4D40-A16A-BFD50179D6AC
  5. Select the second ModifyPartition.
  6. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the given values to configure the EFI partition:Format: FAT32
    Label: System
    Order: 2
    PartitionID: 2
  7. Select the third ModifyPartition.
  8. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the given values to configure the Microsoft Recovery (MSR) partition:Order: 3
    PartitionID: 3
  9. Select the fourth ModifyPartition.
  10. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the given values to configure the partition to install Windows 10:Format: NTFS
    Label: Windows
    Letter: C
    Order: 4
    PartitionID: 4

Moving towards the last part of this phase, now we have to set up the partition where the Windows 10 installation will take place.

To set the drive as default for Windows 10 installation, folow:

  1. In “Windows Image” expand the Components folder.
  2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
  3. Expand the ImageInstall component and then expand the OSImage.
  4. Right click on the InstallTo component and select Add Setting to Pass 1 WindowsPE.
  5. On the right side of the windows under “Answer File” select InstallTo.
  6. On the right side under “Settings” use these values:DiskID: 0
    PartitionID: 4

Once the above steps are completed you can now move towards the part of Defining the Product Key.

Defining the Product Key

We are very near to complete our first pass and moving towards the next step, we have to specify the product key. If you do not have any product key with you then you may have to work with some generic product keys.

To specify the product key for your version of Windows 10, follow:

  1. In “Windows Image” expand the Components folder.
  2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Setup component.
  3. Expand the UserData component.
  4. Right click on the ProductKey component and select the option Add Setting to Pass1 windowsPE.
  5. On the right side of the window, select UserData component.
  6. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the following values:AcceptEula: true
    Organization: Home
    Here Organization value is dependent on our choice. It can be either your name or your it can be like “Family PC” etc.
  7. Select the ProductKey.
  8. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, update the key value using the product key for the edition you have selected to install.

Here is a list of some generic product keys which may help you:

  • Windows 10 Pro: VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T
  • Windows 10 Home: TX9XD-98N7V-6WMQ6-BX7FG-H8Q99
  • Windows 10 Enterprise: NPPR9-FWDCX-D2C8J-H872K-2YT43

At this position, we have completed the phase 1 and can move twards next phase.

Phase 2: Pass 4 specialize

Before starting with this phase, let me tell you that this phase is fully optional. if you wish to configure additional Windows 10 settings such as model, manufacturer, computer name, device owner, timezone, location, etc., the you can follow these steps:

  1. In “Windows Image” expand the Components folder.
  2. Expand the amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup component.
  3. Right click on the OEMInformation component and select the option Add Setting to Pass 4 specialize.
  4. On the right side of the window under” Answer File”, select the amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup component.
  5. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, use the following values to specify your custom information:ComputerName: Home
    CopyProfile: true
    RegisteredOrganization: Home
    RegisteredOwner: “Your Name”
    Time Zone: Indian Standard Time
    Note: If you are unable to setup timezone then don’t worry, Windos 10 will automatically select the timezone based on your language preference.
  6. In “amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup” select the OEMInformation component.
  7. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, you can specify your computer specific properties. Set the following values:Manufacturer: Asus
    Model: R558U

Phase 3: Pass 7 oobeSystem

As we move towards the end of creating an answer file, this is the last phase before we save it with the installation files. In this phase we are gonna configure the out-of-box-experience (OOBE) options. Including this we are gonna setup additional language settings, accept the license agreement, user account creation, etc.

  1. In “Windows Image” expand the Components folder.
  2. Expand the “amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core” component and select the option Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem.
  3. In “Windows Image” expand the amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup component.
  4. Right click on the “OOBE” component and select the option Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem option.
  5. Expand the “UserAccounts” component and then expand the “LocalAccounts” component.
  6. Right click on the “LocalAccount” component and select the option Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem.
  7. Select the option amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core.
  8. On the right side of the window under “Settings”, specify the language settings:InputLocale: en-US
    SystemLocale: en-US
    UILanguage: en-US
    UserLocale: en-US
    As we have done before, users living outside US should configure ULLanguageFallback using the en-US value as the fallback language.
  9. Expand the “amd64_Microsoft-Shell-Setup” component and select the OOBE component.
  10. On the right side of the window under “Settings” use the following set of values:HideEULAPage: true
    HideOEMRegistrationScreen: true
    HideOnlineAccountScreens: true
    HideWirelessSetupinOOBE: true
    ProtectYourPC: 1
    While most of the settings are understandable by their names, the only thing which you might want to understand is ProtectYourPC. Here this setting’s value is set to 1 because we want the setup to turn on the express settings using the default options.
  11. Expand “UserAccounts” and select LocalAccount.
  12. On the right side of the window under “Settings” use the following set of values to create and configure a primary local account:Description: Local Account
    DisplayName: Admin
    Group: Administrator
    Name: “Your Name”Now what does the above values mean? Here we’ll be creating an “Admin” account for user in the “Administrator” group. This will make sure that our PC doesn’t provide any unrestricted access to anyone.
  13. Expand “LocalAccount” and select Password. This is an optional step but still I would like you to perform this step for certain security measures.
  14. On the right side of the windows under “Settings”, type a password in the Value field.
    You may notice that the password you have entered is visible easily. But don’t worry, as soon as the autounattend.xml file is saved, the value will get encrypted.

How to save Windows 10 Answer File

Till now, we have completed all the necessary steps to configure the auto installation of Windows 10. What we need to do now is just remove all the unnecessary and unmodified components, validate the answer file and save it as an .xml file.

How to remove Unmodified Components

  1. Select all the components that we haven’t configured. These are those files with light purple color.
  2. Right click the components that are to be deleted and select Delete.
  3. Keep repeating the above steps till all the unmodified components are deleted.
    Note: Make sure that the components which are modified in all the above procedure doesn’t get deleted.

How to Validate Answer File

  1. Click on the Tools menu and select the Validate option.
  2. In “Messages” window, check the Validation tab. If there isn’t any warning or errors then the file is good to go.If you encounter any error or warning then you may have to perform whole process from the top.

How to save the Answer File

  1. Click on the File menu and select the option Save Answer File As.
  2. Navigate to the folder where you are saving the project files.
  3. Enter the file name as “autounattend” and Save as type “.xml”.
  4. Click on the Save button.

Add the Answer File to the Bootable USB Drive

  1. Open the File Explorer and migrate to the location where you have saved autounattend.xml file.
  2. Copy and paste the file to the Bootable USB Drive that you have already made to start the installation on any PC.

How to install Windows 10 using the Answer File

We are now in the very last stage of the procedure where we can plug the USB Drive with bootable media and start the installation. To install the unattended version of Windows 10, you just need to bootup your machine with the USB Drive.

Just start your PC and open up the BIOS Utility of your machine. Migrate to Boot Meu and select the USB drive as your first prefered device, Or you can just directly dive into boot order screen and boot using USB Drive.

As soon as the machine boots using USB Drive, the process of auto-installation should start automatically. If it doesn’t then you may have done certain mistakes while creating the answer file.

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