Thursday, August 13, 2015

Windows 10: How to boot into Audit Mode

In a previous post, we installed Windows 10 and left you off at the out-of-box experience (OOBE). OOBE is the term given by Microsoft to the experience you get when you normally buy a computer and turn it on for the first time. OOBE runs a user through setting up their computer for first use.


Now let's say you're building a new computer for someone else and you have just installed Windows. You want to install additional features or drivers and test out the Windows configuration first before delivering the computer. You also want your end-user to go through OOBE. What do you do?

Boot into Audit Mode


Windows has this feature called Audit Mode. Audit Mode allows you to bypass OOBE and Windows Welcome to install applications, add device drivers, configure Windows and test your installation with the built-in Administrator account. Once complete, use the System Preparation Tool (sysprep) to prepare your computer for delivery.

To boot into Audit Mode, press Ctrl+Shift+F3 while on the first screen in the out-of-box experience.

Press Ctrl+Shift+F3 here to reboot into Audit Mode.

The computer will then reboot into Audit Mode and automatically login to the built-in Administrator account.


Once logged in, you will see that the System Preparation Tool is ready for you. You can ignore this for now. Install the applications and device drivers you need to and configure and test your Windows installation.


Once done, use the System Preparation Tool to prepare the system to boot back into OOBE. You can choose to reboot the system or shut it down, either way when the computer comes back on, the user will be in OOBE. Check the Generalize checkbox to remove system specific information such as product-keys and specific hardware configurations. This is useful if you are creating an image for deployment on multiple computer in your IT environment.

The end-user will need to enter a product key and agree to the license terms if you Generalize the system.


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