Issues with Sysprep on Windows 7 VM's - could not parse unattend.xml

Hi All,

Just something that came up last week - in spinning up a few test VM's I found a curious error

Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [C:\Windows\Panther\unattend.xml] for pass [specialize]. The answer file is invalid.

(BTW - does anyone know the origins of the Panther folder?)


We then checked:

  • Product Key
  • Domain as FQDN and Netbios
  • There was also a long OU set with an account that has permissions to join a computer to that OU only

All of which did not help at all

Then I remembered that there was a warning that with the base name and the wild cards <???> that the NetBIOS name was going to be exceeding 15 characters but I ignored it at the time. Once I reset the base name back to something smaller so that this warning did not come up the issue was resolved.

It almost seems like with Windows 7 (and presumably Windows Server 2008?) that the unattend.xml will balk at a computer/NetBIOS name of more than 15 characters?

I hope this helps others,

Dave Caddick

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