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Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file / The computer restarted unexpectedly or encoutered an unexpected error

Created: 08 Sep 2011 • Updated: 13 Sep 2011 | 6 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

Hello everyone
I wasn't able to find a solution, therefore I opened this thread..

We use Altiris eXpress Deployment Server 6.8 (included in HP Insight Control server deployment) to create and deploy Windows Server 2008 images.
Its no problem to create and deploy an image, if there is no sysprep option selected.

The image creation works if the option "prepare with sysprep" is selected but the server is not able to boot anymore.
After starting the job, the server boots to WinPE, image is created and server reboots. while booting the server opens sysprep and following error message appears:

"Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [C:\Windows\Panther\unattend.xml] for pass [specialize]. A component or non-list setting is specified more than once in the answer file."

After clicking [OK] the next error:

"The computer restarted unexpectedly or encountered an unexpected error. Windows installation cannot proceed. To install Windows, click "OK" to restart the computer, and then restart the installation."

To deploy the image fails also with the same errors and there's no difference if sysprep option is selected in the deploy job or not.. I'm not able to boot the server, using windows cd to repair fails also. Its not possible to install the server manually, the setup will hang up at server version selection.

Why the server takes a local unattend.xml file and not one stored on the server? I don't understand why it goes wrong..

Thanks for all help, suggestions, tips etc.
I just don't know what to do...

Comments 6 CommentsJump to latest comment

Kevin68's picture

Little update, I don't know if its helpful...

In the create & deploy job, I only have the create and deploy of the Image.
If I compare my jobs with the default jobs there are many other tasks (scripts etc.).. are they really needed? They refer to ..\HP\RDP\Deployment Server\hpfeatures\<image> and contain some sysprep.xml and unattend.xml etc. are they really needed?

My images are stored under ..\HP\RDP\Deployment Server\Images\<Imagename> and the .xml files are stored under ..\HP\RDP\Deployment Server\Sysprep. Is that possible?

Thanks a lot

b3tts32's picture

It could be failing at the specialize pass because of variable not replaced of some sort. It's really hard to tell but when it does error out it creates a log file that details the exact message. We had a similar issue but it came out to our computer name being too long and sysprep not accepting it. I created a copy file job that you can run to get the panther directory with the error logs from the client. You'll be looking for setupact.log and setuperr.log. I created the script in LinuxPE but you can reformat it for WinPE. 

#Copy Log file from panther directory
# set path to Linux RDeploy directory
export PATH=$PATH:/mnt/ds/RDeploy/Linux
Firm -recurse Copy "prod:/windows/panther" "/mnt/ds/temp/panther"
Nelo's picture

check the logs in c:\windows\panther it could be an issue with the key code.

if it is the key I would try to use a install key from dvd_path:\sources\product.ini look for  key code that matches your windows version.


Kevin68's picture

Hi Guys

Thanks for your fast feedback. Now I manually installed the server new and created a backup image.
At the moment I'm testing if everything is working fine.

I'll keep you up2date.


Kevin68's picture

So, I was able to test out the integrated jobs (Capture / Deploy Windows 2008 R2 SP1 x64 Standard Sysprep Image) and it doesn't works for me also. The server tries to run sysprep, restarts a few times, requests settings (language etc.) and then the error appears again.

At the moment I try to deploy a server from the backup image with a waik created sysprep file. If it won't work, I try to get the logs and let you hear from me.

Deploy the backup Image (RDeploy / .img, no sysprep while image create) with sysprep works not as expected. I had no problems with the errors from MS boot partition. But the sysprep was not executed. I checked the C:\Windows\Panther\ directory and looked into the setupact.txt & setuperr.txt.
setupact.txt: last logged action was from friday while I ran the default jobs which were not working.
setuperr.txt: is empty, no messages displayed

Therefore I think, the sysprep (@ deploy) was not executed.

Is it possible that there is a problem with the Is this file still needed for W2K8 R2 SP1? If yes, where it has to be located on the deployment server? If it is in a folder, does I have to add a copy comand to a job or something like this?

Any suggestions?

Kevin68's picture

I found out that deployment server uses standardvista.xml per default while creating an image with sysprep. I was able to get the unattend.xml file from a server with the error and it was a modified version of the standardvista.xml file. I don't know where it gets the settings from to modify the standardvista.xml but it does.

Now I modified the standardvista.xml file and will test if anything changes. Anyone had problems with this file too?

I'll let you know about further problems or if its (hopefully) working).

With the modified standardvista.xml everything is working fine. There was definitely a problem with this file which was automatically modified and copied to the server. The problems occured with all jobs (manually created and already existing), but now its fixed.

Thanks for your assistance.