Remotely initiating an unattended Windows reinstallation on multiple machines from a partition

ar flag

I am aiming to achieve the following:

  • Install Windows from scratch on Disk 0 partition
  • Prestage the machines remotely before reinstallation (using a custom tool I am developing). The tool ensures that the Windows installation is fetched to the machine.
  • Issue a simultaneous reboot command for all machines and have them boot directly into an unattended Windows installation.

My specific problem is getting Windows to launch the installer upon reboot - I don't want to do an InPlace reinstall, but a full reinstall on the system partition.

I managed to perform this process on a test VM that was using MBR, by creating a Windows Boot Manager of the BOOTAPP type and pointing it to device partition=E: path \setup.exe, which works fine. However, when trying the same approach with UEFI, I get a message saying that the file does not exist.

The machines I am working with could have various Windows versions, ranging from Windows 10 Home to Windows 11 Pro, and they are primarily Windows 100 supported.

Do you know a way to start a Windows installer from another partition and run it unattended?

The reason for this approach is that the machines can be quite different, and reinstalling multiple machines via USB sticks can be time-consuming. Additionally, there are no servers on location, so running a Windows Deployment isn't an option. With this method, I can use a script or agent to prestage all 50 machines, restart them simultaneously, and bulk enroll them.

I'm open to other ideas as long as they are simple and can be automated without needing USB sticks in the machines.

All machines are currently running Windows 10 and can support Windows 11.

I get below error Error Message

This is the BCD Configration BCD Configuration

raj avatar
ye flag
I have seen this being done for Windows 10 and above, using a custom written installer - however I don't know any more details about the installer. During first installation of the system (which must be made manually), a "recovery" partition is created along the main system partition. If later the "recovery" partition was set as bootable and a reboot was triggered, it started an unattended Windows reinstall on the main partition. Before this, the contents of "recovery" partition could be customized or even replaced with another Windows image (keeping the structure).
raj avatar
ye flag
So it's definitely possible, but I don't know how it was done. The installer was developed internally in the company where I have seen this.
Christian Pedersen avatar
ar flag
Thx @raj - hope someone can point me to something - it also could be inplace upgrade without preserving data - but inplace upgrade is not as i see unattendable - it asks some questions before proceeding :-/

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