can't install office on custom XP installation DVD

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I've been playing aroound for a good many hours at creating an unattended winXP setup disk with up-to-date hotfixes/patches and a few programs installed.

I've created an $OEM$ folder on the CD root, and created an Office 2003 administrative installation point to the folder ..\$OEM$\1$\Install\Applications\Office2003\

Obviously, I've changed winnt.sif to activate the $OEM$ folders.

I've written the commandlines.txt file in the $OEM$ folder, which calls a file "batch.cmd", which also resides in the $OEM$ folder. The contents of the batch.cmd file are as follows...
start /wait $systemdrive$\Install\Applications\Office2003\setuppro.exe TRANSFORMS=Unattended.MST /qb-
...(with setuppro.exe being the correct file)

This (to my mind) should start the office XP installation from the hard drive. A number of switchless installers (adaware, spybot, dvdshirink, jre506...) succesfully install at the "registering components" stage from the SVCPACK folder, which should be followed by Office2003. Unfortunately though, I get an error in a cmd window informing me that the file $systemdrive$\Install\Applications\Office2003\setuppro.exe could not be found.

Firstly, have I used the correct path as I think I have? Secondly, is there anything wrong with using commandlines.txt to install like this that I'm not aware of? and finally, does anybody have any idea about what I should do?

All I know at the moment is to thank the heavens for Vmware - without which I'd have run out of DVDs. (I hope I haven't missed something obvious as a result of spending so darned long looking at this!)


Posts: 4,049   +11
Command prompt uses % instead of $ in environment variables. I don't know about installers, but are you sure the $systemdrive$ is correct?


Posts: 2,122   +0
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I'm pretty sure it's correct - I have been referencing the guide at for help with this office issue (a pretty good guide as guides go), and they use the same there. However - I'll try changing the environment variables as you suggest and I'll double check that $systemdrive$ path (I'm pretty sure thats right too, but It's worth checking.)

Thanks very much, and I'll report back on whether it's working or not after however long it takes me to make a new ISO and install in Vmware (45 mins to an hour maybe? lol) :)

Innapropriate use of $ (instead of %) does sound like a pretty likely candidate though.


Posts: 6,452   +3
Your first mentioned path says:

is what you have in the batch.
You start/give the install-command from within $OEM$
Shouldn't the batch command be:


unless that is: 1$ = $systemdrive$


Posts: 2,122   +0
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  • #5
Quite right RBS.

I screwed up my post and wrote 1$ in the path instead of $1

For the benefit of anybody who doesn't know what the $OEM$ folder is all about...

The contents of the $OEM$ folder are written to the system drive after windows has finished copying files in the setup process before the first re-boot. $OEM$\$1\Install\ corresponds to c:\Install and $OEM$\$$\ corresponds to C:\windows\system32 (depending on system drive and windows path obviously). The $systemdrive$ path has to be used because at T-13 in the install (approximately 13 minutes left - it's not really estimated - it's scripted), the drive letter c: doesn't exist yet, besides which, even if it did exist the system drive might not nessecarily be c:.

It turns out that it was the fat that in the batch.cmd I had used $ instead of %. A simple, and yet wholly annoying mistake. Thanks both - much appreciated.
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