Introducing the Microsoft SBS 2011 Essentials Answer File Tool!!

sbse-conI have never been able to understand coding. It has always been a bit of a mystery, or black art to me, left for the likes of Slytherin house to enter their Parseltounge into Visual Studio or your developer tool of choice.

I mean, it literally makes no sense at all does it.

Maybe i have just been looking at it upside down..


Anyway, i have always wanted to understand it, or at least give it a go, but never had a project that i could get into.

Enter the Microsoft migration documentation for SBS 2011 Essentials. Specifically the section on page 18 where you have to write an answer file for the install of Essentials, which they tell you to cut and paste from the document.

Whether this was me just being a grump or not, i don’t know, but i really didn’t like that. Cut and paste? i thought, why don’t they just write a small app for that. Possibly because Apple now hold the trademark for anyone uttering, or thinking ‘an app for that’ who knows.

You can probably see where i am going with this now, however for the slower among you, Yes, i did write an App for that.

With the help of a Developer i work with regularly we sat down and went through some basic coding steps. The result is available for download from here as Beta software.

It should basically allow you to create answer files without the need to edit in Notepad, with the only exception of Language and regional settings, that i can never get to work even with a manual answer file.

Anyway, enjoy!

If you find any bugs or anything like that, please add them to the comments below.

Main IconAnswer File /  Download:  160KB
Version 0.1 (Beta)

Disclaimer: This is beta software! Results may vary.


More information on Installing SBS 2011 Essentials using an Answer File can be found here.

About Robert Pearman
Robert Pearman is a UK based Small Business Server enthusiast. He has been working within the SMB IT Industry for what feels like forever. Robert likes Piña colada and taking walks in the rain, on occasion he also enjoys writing about Small Business Technology like Windows Server Essentials or more recently writing PowerShell Scripts. If you're in trouble, and you can find him, maybe you can ask him a question.

12 Responses to Introducing the Microsoft SBS 2011 Essentials Answer File Tool!!

  1. Robert,

    Will your wonderfull tool work with SBS 2011 Standard as well? Trying to do an SBS 2011 Standard Install using the Answer.ini to get around the MyDomain.local only that MS seems to feel you have to use even if the attended network will never touch the internet.

  2. What about WHS 2011, will this work?

  3. Thanks for trying to edit your tool for use with WHS 2011

  4. Lars says:

    It really isn’t to hard to cut and past text into a cfg.ini file so I am trying to see the value of the tool as it is currently. If this tool covered all the parameters, then I would find this tool useful, like how about accout setup, file locations etc. Also, the tool doesn’t seem to do any error checking to verify that what you enter is a valid argument for the parameter. For example I can enter “123 123” as the server name which isn’t a valid server name.

    I would find a complete list of the parameters and the correct argument format more useful.

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