Category Archives: Unattend.xml

Task Sequences Fail After Upgrading to MDT 2013 U1

Update – Michael Niehaus took an interest in my problem and was able to reproduce it in one specific scenario.
Here is his email explaining how he was able to reproduce the problem:

I tried it and it worked fine. But I didn’t give up like most auto mechanics do J
So I was able to reproduce the error in one specific scenario:
· Create a task sequence through the MDT wizard, specifying an admin password (saved as plaintext in the Unattend.xml).
· Edit the Unattend.xml and save it (you don’t need to change anything, just save).
· Deploy with either the admin password wizard pane enabled (SkipAdminPassword=NO) or a non-blank AdminPassword variable value (specified in CustomSettings.ini, database, etc.).

In this particular case, MDT injects the value of AdminPassword into the Unattend.xml but doesn’t reset the plaintext value. Definitely a bug.


In this case I had done exactly that.  I had set an admin password when I created the task sequence through the wizard.  I also edited the unattained.xml file.  And finally, I had an admin password specified in the [Default] section of my CustomSettings.ini.  So, I managed to find the one way to shoot myself in the foot with this.

Stumbled onto an issue yesterday after upgrading my MDT 2013 deployment share to MDT 2013 Update 1.  My existing task sequences would fail during OOBE.


Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [C:\windows\Panther\unattent.xml] for pass [oobeSystem]. The settings specified in the answer file cannot be applied. The error was detected while processing settings for component [Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup].

If I created a brand new task sequence and modified nothing it would work perfectly.

So I compared my original Unattend.xml with the factory default one to look for differences in oobeSystem.  The only difference was that in my original XML the passwords for the Administrator account and the autologin account were not in plain text while the factory XML was.


My original XML is on the left while the factory default is on the right.

I used the Windows System Image Manager, triggered by editing the XML through the MDT console, to modify the “ProtectYourPC” setting and turn off auto updates.  That was the only setting I modified and never touched the passwords.  My guess is that WSIM set the passwords to be encrypted by default.

I took my original XML and using Notepad replaced the password sections and left the ProtectYourPC setting untouched.  Ran a test build with it and it completed successfully.