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Windows Setup Technical Reference

Updated: October 20, 2013

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Setup is a bootable program that installs the Windows operating system.

  • You can install or upgrade the Windows operating system on a PC from a DVD, USB key, or network device.

  • You can automate the Windows installation process, including the configuration of drivers, packages, files, and Windows system settings by using answer files created from Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM).

  • You can use Windows Setup as an installer for your own customized Windows images.

  • You can use the menus in Windows Setup to prepare the hard drives before installation.

  • Windows 8.1 upgrades are different from previous Windows upgrade scenarios. For more info, see Windows 8.1 Upgrade Scenarios for OEMs.

  • Windows Setup cannot be used to perform automated upgrades to most editions of Windows 8.1.

    For volume-licensed editions of Windows, we've added a new command-line option, setup /auto, to help enable upgrades. Note, we only plan to use this option for upgrades to Windows 8.1, and we may remove the option in future versions of Windows. For more info, see Windows Setup Command-Line Options.

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