Living Table of Contents
- MDT Tutorial: Prologue & Requirements
- MDT Tutorial Part 1: Installation
- MDT Tutorial Part 2: Initial Configuration
- MDT Tutorial Part 3: Imaging
- MDT Tutorial Part 4: CustomSettings.ini
- MDT Tutorial Part 5: Bootstrap.ini
- MDT Tutorial Part 6: Customizing Boot Media
- MDT Tutorial Part 7: Customizing Base MDT Template & ADK WinPE Template WIM
- MDT Tutorial Part 8: Unattend.xml
- MDT Tutorial Part 9: Logging
- MDT Tutorial Part 10: CustomSettings.ini Validation Testing & Troubleshooting Part 1
- MDT Tutorial Part 11: Troubleshooting Part 2: Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [C:\windows\Panther\unattend.xml] for pass [specialize]. The answer file is invalid.
- MDT Tutorial Part 11: Troubleshooting Part 3: Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [C:\windows\Panther\unattend.xml] for pass [specialize]. The answer file is invalid.
- MDT Tutorial Part 11: Troubleshooting Part 4: Task Sequence Variable is Being Overwritten
- MDT Tutorial Part 11: Troubleshooting Part 5: Invalid DeploymentType value “” specified. The deployment will not proceed.
- MDT Tutorial Part 11: Troubleshooting Part 6: Unable to mount the WIM, so the update process cannot continue
- MDT Tutorial Part 11: Troubleshooting Part 7: Non-Fatal OSD Errors & Warnings
What These Guides Are:
A guide to help give you some insight into the troubleshooting process in general.
What These Guides Are Not:
A guide to fix all issues you’re going to encounter.
We’re going to role-play a bunch of scenarios and try to work through them. Remember in math where you had to show your work? Well, what follows is like that which is why this post is [more than] a [little] lengthy.
Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [C:\windows\Panther\unattend.xml] for pass [specialize]. The answer file is invalid.
You boot your special VM, click the ‘Run the Deployment Wizard to install a new Operating System‘ button and it immediately starts. Excellent! It applies the OS, reboots and you’re faced with this error:Well this is strange, because you didn’t touch the unattend.xml so what gives?
Fortunately, this dialog provides some meaningful insight:
- The unattend file is C:\Windows\Panther\unattend.xml
- The specific area is the specialize pass
Press SHIFT+F10 here to open a command prompt and then open C:\Windows\Panther\unattend.xml with notepad
You search for ‘specialize’ and after taking a very close look see that your computer name is incorrect. It should be some two or three character prefix not %OfficeCode%.
Since that is set via the CS.INI, you run the CustomSettings.ini test again and now you see what was missed before:
You review the CS.INI and find your problems
- You didn’t define the OfficeCode property: Wasn’t added to the
- You didn’t set a value for
With that fixed, you run the test again, the variable is populated and as you reimage the machine, you see it is named correctly in the logs.
Hopefully these examples will help give you an idea of the overall troubleshooting process. Most of the time the problems you’ll encounter will be caused by a typso, order of operations or a ‘known issue’ that requires a specific process to be followed.
As you make changes to your environment, here’s what I recommend:
- Be diligent about keeping a change log so you can easily backtrack
- Backup your CS.INI or Bootstrap.ini before you make any changes
- Backup your ts.xml or unattend.xml (in DeploymentShare\Control\TaskSequenceID) before you make any changes
- Introduce small changes at time with set checkpoints in between and set milestones markers where you backup core files (e.g cs.ini bootstrap.ini ts.xml unattend.xml etc) to help minimize
if when you do run into some turbulence, upload relevant logs (at least smsts.log but be prepared to submit others depending on the issue) to a file sharing service like OneDrive, post on TechNet then give a shout to your resources on Twitter.
Good Providence to you!