Unattended installation is a native feature of an operating system (typically the focus being Windows) whereby you can provide an answer file to automate the installation of the operating system. Just as you would automate the installation of an application with an answer file stating where to install the application, if you want shortcuts created, if you want it to automatically update or launch on startup; the very same logic applies to automating the installation of an operating system (just with a whole lot more options). As a feature of a systems deployment solution, unattended installation support for Windows typically means putting a front end on this process to make it easier to utilize. Helping you to make sense of, and effectively update without errors, the files driving unattended installation can be a very helpful benefit of a systems deployment solution.
The line between unattended deployment and an image-based deployment has become more blurred since Windows 7 moved to its own file based image format (WIM) but an unattended installation is typically just the operating system and updates and everything else is managed as a post-installation task via scripts or the application deployment capabilities of a systems deployment solution.
Leveraging unattended installation capabilities to generate an image based deployment is widely considered a best practice.
This is one of many systems deployment features covered here at AppDetails. Be sure to see the AppDetails coverage of other systems deployment features.
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