Windows Vista & Windows 7 Implicit Answer File Search Order (Unattend.xml) Clarifying “Setup!UnattendFile”

System Requirements:

  • Windows Vista, SP1, SP2
  • Windows 7, SP1

The Problem:

A slight matter of a documentation error on TechNet that has existed for a very long time and is causing a lot of confusion.

More Info

TechNet states that the first and preferred search location for an Unattend.xml file is the registry location:


This is vague and confusing and is in fact probably typo that has been left for a long time. This could mean a value called Setup!UnattendFile under HKLM\System or a number of other things.

You can see the TechNet link below.

View: Manual Installation of Windows 7: Overview

The Fix

I can confirm from first hand experience with Vista, 7 and 7 SP1 that this should be:

Value Name [REG_SZ (String)]: UnattendFile
Value Data [e.g.]: C:\Windows\Setup\Scripts\MyUnattendFile.xml

Unattend.xml files found through this registry key do not have to be named Unattend.xml, you can call them whatever you like.