VMware: Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize]

Today I deployed my new created Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 base image with Windows 8.1 u1 template and Customization file, during the customization process I received this error message:

Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize]. The settings specified in the answer file cannot be applied. The error was detected while processing settings for component [Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup].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.

 

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Cause

This issue can have multiple causes. Some common causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Bad Product Key
  • Invalid Device Drivers
  • Invalid Computer Names
  • Issue with the Admin Account being used
  • An installed application breaks the unattended install process

Solution

This resolution is based on the source of the error, to troubleshoot this issue, review the Microsoft Setup log setupact.log file.

Note: The Microsoft Setup log file is located at c:\Windows\Panther\unattendGC\setupact.log.

To view the log file from a computer currently displaying the error, press Shift + F10 to open a command prompt and run this command: notepad c:\windows\panther\unattendGC\setupact.log

In my case I configured in the Customization Wizard a Windows 8.1 MAK license key, the configured template OS was an VLK edition…

sanderdaems

Sander Daems is founder and author of this blog and working as a Lead (Sr.) Consultant by UNICA ICT Solutions. Sander has 15+ years experience in IT, primary focus: virtualization and modern worksplace.

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8 thoughts on “VMware: Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize]

  1. As soon as the error appears, Hit Shift+F10 to get a cmd prompt
    then open up regedit

    Look for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> Setup ->Status -> ChildCompletion

    Now look in the right hand pane for setup.exe, if the REG_DWORD value data is set at 1 then change it to 3

    Reboot and hopefully the OS installation will pick up as normal.

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