Editing the oobe.xml file

Brogan

Well-known Member
I'm in the process of setting up my new laptop which came pre-installed with Vista.

I edited the original oobe.xml file which was located in C:\Windows\System32\oobe\Info\242\oobe.xml to remove all the rubbish that the OEM put in.

However, after running Windows Update there is now a new entry in the Welcome Center titled "Offers from Microsoft".

My edited oobe.xml file is unchanged so the new entries aren't present there.
I've searched the whole system for oobe.xml files and checked each one and none of them contain this new "Offers from Microsoft" entry.

So where exactly is the file which contains this new entry?

TIA
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
FYI you don't need the oobe.xml at all, you can safely delete it and any corresponding files.

I'll boot into Vista later and use a sample oobe.xml and run Windows Update and see what happens aswell.
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
I quite like the Welcome Center as there are some useful applications in there which are easy to get at (easier than opening Control Panel for example), and it also gives you the opportunity to add your own stuff, so I don't want to remove it completely.

I've just deleted the original oobe.xml file from C:\Windows\System32\oobe\Info\242\oobe.xml and rebooted.
The same entries are in the Welcome Center though so I can only assume that with the latest update Microsoft has updated the software to point the Welcome Center Control Panel applet towards a different .xml file
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Well I just did some experimenting heres what I found.

First I added my own entry to the Welcome Center via oobe.xml as you can see here:

untitledxc3.png


Then I ran Windows Update and rebooted. Nothing new appeared in the Welcome Center - no "Offers from Microsoft".

However, when I remove the folder I added - the one that contained my customized oobe.xml, the "Offers from Microsoft" magically appeared.

So I guess you have to have your own oobe.xml to surpress the "Offeres from Microsoft".
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
Well I just did some experimenting heres what I found.

First I added my own entry to the Welcome Center via oobe.xml as you can see here:
Which oobe file are you replacing/editing?
Is it the one in the country specific folder: C:\Windows\System32\oobe\Info\242 ?

Then I ran Windows Update and rebooted. Nothing new appeared in the Welcome Center - no "Offers from Microsoft".
I wonder why yours behaves differently.

However, when I remove the folder I added - the one that contained my customized oobe.xml, the "Offers from Microsoft" magically appeared.
Which folder did you add?
I just replaced the oobe file that was already in the C:\...Info\242 folder.

So I guess you have to have your own oobe.xml to surpress the "Offers from Microsoft".
But that's what I can't understand.
My own oobe file worked perfectly until I ran Windows Update :confused:

I'm currently just setting everything up and seeing what's what so once I'm ready to do the final setup/install, I'll do a full destructive recovery and start again.
I'll then install each update individually and see which one it is that causes the oobe file behaviour to change.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Which oobe file are you replacing/editing?
Is it the one in the country specific folder: C:\Windows\System32\oobe\Info\242
I didn't place oobe.xml in a country specific folder. There was no oobe.xml to edit, so I grabbed a sample oobe.xml from WAIK and changed it round a little.

Which folder did you add?
I just replaced the oobe file that was already in the C:\...Info\242 folder.
I added the folder 'Info' (which contained the oobe.xml) to system32\oobe.

Full path to oobe.xml: C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\oobe.xml

Perhaps you could post your oobe.xml, maybe you missed something by chance?
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
I didn't place oobe.xml in a country specific folder. There was no oobe.xml to edit, so I grabbed a sample oobe.xml from WAIK and changed it round a little.
Looks like our systems are configured differently then as folder 242 in my case is for the UK and it was the oobe file in that folder that was originally used.

I added the folder 'Info' (which contained the oobe.xml) to system32\oobe.

Full path to oobe.xml: C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\oobe.xml
As I already posted earlier, that folder and file already exist on my system.

Perhaps you could post your oobe.xml, maybe you missed something by chance?

I don't think you've grasped the problem.
On first boot up, my Welcome Center is full of rubbish.
I replace the oobe file in C:\Windows\System32\oobe\Info\242\oobe.xml with my own edited version and it works fine.
All of the OEM rubbish is gone.

Since running Windows Update however, there is a new "Offers From Microsoft" entry in Welcome Center.
I have searched the C drive for all of the oobe files and none of them contain this text.
The original file in \info and my updated file in info\242 are as they were prior to running Windows Update with no changes.

So the problem isn't with the original oobe file or my edited oobe file.
It would seem Windows has edited the Welcome Center to somehow point to a file other than oobe.xml and I can't find which one it is.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
I don't think you've grasped the problem.
Nah I get what you mean, but I was just exploring all avenues.

As I already posted earlier, that folder and file already exist on my system.
Have you tried replacing the file 'C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\oobe.xml' with your edited one 'C:\Windows\System32\oobe\Info\242\oobe.xml'?

Personally, heres what I would do. I would copy my customized oobe.xml to the desktop and then delete the info folder and re-create and only put the oobe.xml in there.

Only then could you know for sure, whats causing the problem. Because as I've stated, when I place my oobe.xml in \Info\ the "offers from microsoft" go away.
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
Nah I get what you mean, but I was just exploring all avenues.

Have you tried replacing the file 'C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\oobe.xml' with your edited one 'C:\Windows\System32\oobe\Info\242\oobe.xml'?
Yes, tried that.

Personally, heres what I would do. I would copy my customized oobe.xml to the desktop and then delete the info folder and re-create and only put the oobe.xml in there.
Tried that too and it makes no difference.
I have even deleted the entire \info folder, rebooted and then started Welcome Center and it still comes up with the new "Offers From Microsoft" entries.
In fact, at this moment, there isn't a single file named oobe.xml on the system.

Obviously the Welcome Center now points to another file.
I just need to find which one.

I suspect this is MS way of ensuring they push content onto us.
After all, that entire section is all MS/Windows content, some of which you have to pay for.

I'm running Home Premium.
What version are you running? That may account for the difference in behaviour, although it wouldn't make much sense for MS to make such specific changes between builds.
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
To be honest, I don't think it is pointing to another file.
So how do you explain the fact that every oobe.xml file has been deleted from the system and yet the Welcome Center still loads with the updated "Offers From Microsoft" section?
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
So how do you explain the fact that every oobe.xml file has been deleted from the system and yet the Welcome Center still loads with the updated "Offers From Microsoft" section?
Because even a fresh install of Vista has the "Offers from Microsoft" section. So no, installing a update didn't cause this. "Offers from Microsoft" has always been then, and like I have said eariler a oobe.xml placed in the correct location will supress the "Offers from Micosoft".
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
like I have said eariler a oobe.xml placed in the correct location will supress the "Offers from Micosoft".
Not in my case it doesn't.
As proven yesterday when I deleted the \info folder, created a new one and placed my edited oobe file inside.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Then perhaps your oobe.xml is incorrect. We know it isn't the updates. So that only leaves one thing. The oobe.xml is somehow incorrect.
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
Then perhaps your oobe.xml is incorrect. We know it isn't the updates. So that only leaves one thing. The oobe.xml is somehow incorrect.
But my edited oobe.xml is correct.
As proven when I first replaced the original oobe.xml file with mine and the entries were removed.

It was only after running Windows Update that things went wrong.

Tell you what, to put your mind at rest, why don't you attach your oobe.xml file to this thread?
I'll delete the \info folder, make a new one and place your file in there.

How much would you like to bet it doesn't solve the problem?
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
But my edited oobe.xml is correct.
As proven when I first replaced the original oobe.xml file with mine and the entries were removed.

It was only after running Windows Update that things went wrong.

Tell you what, to put your mind at rest, why don't you attach your oobe.xml file to this thread?
I'll delete the \info folder, make a new one and place your file in there.

How much would you like to bet it doesn't solve the problem?
Ok then, if it isn't the oobe.xml and it isn't the update. Then what could it be!
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
Ok then, if it isn't the oobe.xml and it isn't the update. Then what could it be!
I don't know, which is why I can't resolve it. :confused:

I'm going to do a full restore when I have the time and start again.
I'll copy my edited oobe file to the \info directory.
Do several reboots and confirm it works fine.
Then I'll run Windows Update and select each update in turn.
After installation I'll reboot and start the Welcome Center.

That will enable me to determine exactly which update is causing the change.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Heres my oobe.xml like you asked for.

The forum doesn't let me upload XML files, so I've put the whole thing in a code box.

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<FirstExperience>
<useroobe>
  <oemStrip xmlns="[URL]http://schemas.microsoft.com/windows/oobetasks/v1[/URL]">
    <offerSource>Offers From Singh400</offerSource>
    <tasks>
      <task id="{1D8650FD-8935-4657-A3E3-C6AD82DCFEB8}" xmlns="[URL]http://schemas.microsoft.com/windows/tasks/v1[/URL]">
        <name>Go to AVForums</name>
        <icon>"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"</icon>
        <description>Open the homepage of AvForums</description>
        <command>http://www.avforums.com/forums/index.php</command>
        <sortPriority>1</sortPriority> 
        <infotip></infotip> 
        <previewPaneView xmlns="[URL]http://schemas.microsoft.com/windows/oobetasks/v1[/URL]">
          <previewBackground>%systemroot%\system32\oobe\info\background_wc.png</previewBackground>
          <startText>Click here to go to AVForums</startText>
          <title>AVForums</title>
          <columnOne>
            <para><text>At AVForums you can find:</text></para>
            <para><bullet /><text>A friendly community</text></para>
            <para><bullet /><text>Help with almost any subject</text></para>
          </columnOne>
        </previewPaneView>
        <!-- conditions (optional)
        <conditions>
          <condition name="shell://v1#IsUserAdmin" />
    <condition name="shcond://v1#DateInRange">
            <parameter name="Before" value="1/1/2006 5:00am" />
          </condition>
        </conditions>
 -->
      </task>
   </tasks>
  </oemStrip>
</useroobe>
</FirstExperience>
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
Thanks for that.
I'll copy that and try it on my system and see what happens.

FYI, there is currently no \info or oobe.xml files on my system at all.
However, Welcome Center still loads fine and all the entries are there which still makes me think it's pointing to another file...
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Thanks for that.
I'll copy that and try it on my system and see what happens.

FYI, there is currently no \info or oobe.xml files on my system at all.
However, Welcome Center still loads fine and all the entries are there which still makes me think it's pointing to another file...
Yeah thats default behaviour. Same happens to me.
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
Right, I've just completed a full destructive recovery and started again.

When I open Welcome Center it's full of all the OEM rubbish.

Copying your oobe.xml file to the ...\info directory has no effect.

Copying your oobe.xml file to the ...\info\242 directory changes the Welcome Center.
This is the behaviour I reported earlier with my edited oobe.xml file and this proves that your system and my system behave differently as the Welcome Center on my system is indexed to the oobe.xml file in a different directory (...\info\242).

Next I will run Windows Update and see how that changes the system.
Watch this space...
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Right, I've just completed a full destructive recovery and started again.

When I open Welcome Center it's full of all the OEM rubbish.

Copying your oobe.xml file to the ...\info directory has no effect.

Copying your oobe.xml file to the ...\info\242 directory changes the Welcome Center.
This is the behaviour I reported earlier with my edited oobe.xml file and this proves that your system and my system behave differently as the Welcome Center on my system is indexed to the oobe.xml file in a different directory (...\info\242).

Next I will run Windows Update and see how that changes the system.
Watch this space...
It must have something do to with the fact, that your Vista is OEM and mine is Retail.

Do you have a proper Vista DVD to re-install** or did you use recovery disc?

**If so, you might wanna take alook around the Vista DVD.

Edit* This article might shed some light. And maybe provide some clues.
 

Brogan

Well-known Member
It must have something do to with the fact, that your Vista is OEM and mine is Retail.
That's my guess too.

Do you have a proper Vista DVD to re-install* or did you use recovery disc?
No disc was supplied - I just burnt the recovery DVD myself.
It's also on a partition on the hard disk too so recovery can be performed by pressing F8 on boot.

I really would like to get to the bottom of this as it's bugging me now...:suicide:
When I have some more time (currently rebuilding 1 PC and 2 laptops :rolleyes:) I'll do some more investigating and see if I can work out where the Welcome Center is getting its content from.
 

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