How to install Windows from the I386 folder

Most people cannot figure out how to install Windows XP, 2000, or 2003 from the I386 folder. It is really quite simple. They are looking for a file named Setup.exe or Install.exe. Well, it's neither of them. If you have Vista or 2008 or newer like Windows 7 there is no I386 folder that you can install from.

I guess Microsoft did not want just anyone to install Windows without inserting the CD and using the Autorun. But Autorun does not work if you are installing from a DOS window, so now what.

OK, here it is plain and simple, if you open the I386 folder and scroll down to the W's you will find Winnt.exe and Winnt32.exe. The Winnt32.exe is the setup program used when you are in Windows. The Winnt.exe file is for DOS.

However, I have found that sometimes I run across a Windows 2000 installation CD that errors out when I try to use the Winnt32.exe. So I simple start the install while in Windows using the Winnt.exe file. It's a little slower but it works fine.

If you want to install the Recovery Console, you need to use the switch /cmdcon when starting Winnt32.exe. This switch only works on the Winnt32.exe file.

Below is a list of switches that you can use, Winnt32.exe can handle up to 8 switches.

WINNT.EXE  

/a

Enables accessibility options. This option is not recommended for most users

/e: command

Specifies a command that is to be executed at the end of GUI-mode Setup. Commonly used to launch automated application setup routines to complete the installation

/i: inffile

Specifies the file name of the setup information file. By default, this is Dosnet.inf. This option is not recommended

/r: folder

Specifies that a folder is created during setup. The folder remains after Setup finishes.

/rx: folder

Copies a folder you create into the system folder. This option is generally used to copy drivers that are not part of the standard Windows 2000 distribution, and can be used multiple times to copy multiple folders The folder is deleted after Setup finishes

/s: sourcepath

Specifies the location of the Windows source files.The location must be a full path of the form w:\[path] or \\server\share[\path] This option is required only if the files are not located in the current folder.

/t: tempdrive

Specifies which partition setup will use to store temporary files. This option is not recommended. If you do not specify a location, Setup attempts to locate a drive for you.

/u: answer file

Performs an unattended Setup using an answer file. Answer files are used to bypass the interactive questions asked of the user during setup and can even be used to automate the setup process completely. You must also use /s . with this switch

/udf: id [, UDB_file ]

Indicates an identifier ( id ) that Setup uses to specify how a Uniqueness Database (UDB) file modifies an answer file (see /u ). The /udf parameter overrides values in the answer file, and the identifier determines which values in the UDB file are used. If no UDB_file is specified, Setup prompts you to insert a disk that contains the $Unique$.udb file.

 

 

WINNT32.EXE

/checkupgradeonly
Checks the target machine for upgrade compatibility with Windows. For Windows 9x or ME Setup creates a report named Upgrade.txt in the Windows installation folder. For Windows NT 3.51 or 4.0 upgrades, it saves the report to the Winnt32.log in the installation folder.
/cmd: command_line
Allows you to specify a command before the final phase of Setup. This would occur after your computer has restarted twice and after Setup has collected the necessary configuration information, but before Setup is complete.
/cmdcons
Installs the Recovery Console It is only used post-Setup.
/copydir: folder_name
Creates an additional folder within the folder in which the Windows files are installed. You can use /copydir to create as many additional folders as you want.
/copysource: folder_name
Creates a temporary additional folder within the folder in which the Windows files are installed. Unlike the folders /copydir creates, /copysource folders are deleted after Setup completes.
/debug [ level ] : [ filename ]
Creates a debug log at the level specified. The default log file is C:\ %Windir% \Winnt32.log, with the debug level set to 2. The log levels are as follows: 0-severe errors, 1-errors, 2-warnings, 3-information, and 4-detailed information for debugging. Each level includes the levels below it.
/m: folder_name
Specifies that Setup copies replacement files from an alternate location. Instructs Setup to look in the alternate location first and if files are present, use them instead of the files from the default location.
/makelocalsource
Copies all installation source files to your local hard disk. Use /makelocalsource when installing from a CD to provide installation files when the CD is not available later in the installation.
/noreboot
Instructs Setup to not restart the computer after the file copy phase of winnt32 is completed so that you can execute another command.
/s: sourcepath
Specifies the source location of the Windows files. To simultaneously copy files from multiple servers, specify multiple /s sources. If you use multiple /s switches, the first specified server must be available or Setup will fail.
/tempdrive: drive_letter
Directs Setup to place temporary files on the specified partition and to install Windows on that partition.
/unattend
Upgrades your previous version of Windows. All user settings are taken from the previous installation, so no user intervention is required during Setup.
/unattend [ num ] : [ answer_file ]
Performs a fresh installation in unattended Setup mode. The answer file provides Setup with your custom specifications. Num is the number of seconds between the time that Setup finishes copying the files and when it restarts your computer. Answer_file is the name of the answer file.
/udf: id [ ,UDB_file ]
Indicates an identifier ( id ) that Setup uses to specify how a Uniqueness Database (UDB) file modifies an answer file (see /u ). The /udf parameter overrides values in the answer file, and the identifier determines which values in the UDB file are used. If no UDB_file is specified, Setup prompts you to insert a disk that contains the $Unique$.udb file.
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