How to Use Full Disk for the O/S Install in Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Moloy Tandon from Commercial Technical Support]

By default, the setup of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials creates a Windows partition of 60 GB and the rest is used for data drive. If you wish to use the entire disk for the Operating System install, it can be accomplished through the use of an answer file. The answer file must be named CFG.INI and must be located in the root of any discoverable disk except for drive A and B. The answer file provides a section for each phase of setup. This allows you to have a setup process that can be completely unattended.

The answer file contains two sections – WinPE and Initial Configuration

The WinPE stage is used to prepare the computer for the installation of OS in an unattended manner. In the Initial Configuration phase, the setup gathers the information from the answer file and configures the system for use by the end user. Before accepting the answer file, the setup will validate the fields in the answer file and then launch the UI in unattended mode showing a static screen. The parameter WindowsPartitionSize under [WinPE] section, controls the size of the system partition. This parameter accepts the value of MAX to use the entire disk size. For optional parameters that are not included in the Answer File, the default value is used.

Note: All the WinPE fields are optional but at least one must be specified for the answer file to be detected.

Sample Answer File (CFG.INI)


CompanyName=Contoso Ltd

The sample answer file given above will install SBS 2011 Essentials on Disk 0, make the whole disk into one primary partition and will use the entire partition to install the OS.

To know more about other parameters used in Answer File, please visit the online help at