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

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 Sr. Infrastructure Consultant by IT-Value. Sander has over 10 years experience in IT, primary focus: virtualization, storage and SBC

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  1. JAck
    October 28th, 2015  (Quote) at 15:10  (Quote) | #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.

  2. Andy
    November 3rd, 2015  (Quote) at 16:14  (Quote) | #2

    Thanks! It was the wrong license key for me.

  3. Everett
    November 23rd, 2015  (Quote) at 04:10  (Quote) | #3

    cool, thanks was looking for this

  4. Dan
    March 20th, 2017  (Quote) at 12:42  (Quote) | #4

    Thanks, it was my computer name that had too many characters

  5. Maximus
    June 21st, 2017  (Quote) at 17:05  (Quote) | #5

    Many thanks for your post. In my case it was a wrong license key!

    Best regards!

  6. satsun
    January 30th, 2018  (Quote) at 22:17  (Quote) | #6

    >notepad c:\windows\panther\unattendGC\setupact.log

    That’s what I needed! Had a wrong character in the product key.

  7. Ed Ward
    May 15th, 2018  (Quote) at 14:13  (Quote) | #7

    @JAck

    Changing that setting in the registry worked but, why? I can’t do that with every deployment.

  1. at | #1