Posts Tagged ‘Customization Wizard’

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

May 13th, 2015 7 comments

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.


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


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…


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

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