Installing Vista unattended

I’ve been spending some time on a side project to create a Vista boot image that installs unattended and configures a development machine with all the tools I want configured they way I want them. The goal is to install everything including Visual Studio and all the little utilities that I use frequently as well as configuring the common things the way I like them like the mouse sensitivity, colour scheme, etc.

The simple starting point for this project is to get Vista to install unattended using an answer file created with the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK). I found an excellent guide to creating the answer file: FireGeier’s Unattended Vista Guide. This provides a simple walkthrough of how to configure the AIK and how to build increasingly complex unattended installs.