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Windows Server

Windows Server 2008 : Understanding the Windows AIK (part 5) - Understanding Sysprep

12/28/2010 3:18:33 PM

Understanding Sysprep

Sysprep.exe is a deployment tool that has several important uses. Specifically, you can use Sysprep to:

  • Remove all system-specific information from a Windows installation so that you can capture an image from it using ImageX and then deploy the image on other bare-metal systems.

  • Configure a Windows installation to boot into Audit mode so you can install third-party device drivers and applications and test the functionality of the system before capturing an image from it.

  • Configure a Windows installation to boot to Windows Welcome the next time the computer is started. This is typically done just before delivering the computer to the end user or customer.

  • Reset Windows Product Activation up to three times.

Caution: Using Sysprep

You should use Sysprep only on new, clean installations of Windows. You should not use Sysprep on existing Windows installations, and you can’t use it on in-place-upgrade installations.


The general syntax of the Sysprep command is as follows:

sysprep.exe [/oobe | /audit] [/generalize] [/reboot | /shutdown | /quit] [/quiet] [/unattend:answerfile]

Following are high-level descriptions of each Sysprep command option.

  • /audit Restarts the computer into audit mode so you can add additional drivers or applications to Windows and test the installation before delivering it to the user.

  • /generalize Prepares the Windows installation for imaging by removing all unique system information from the Windows installation, which means resetting Security IDs (SIDs), clearing system restore points, and deleting event logs. The specialize configuration pass then runs the next time the system is booted, which means new SIDs are created and the Windows activation clock is reset (provided the clock has not already been reset the maximum three times allowed).

  • /oobe Restarts a computer running Windows into Windows Welcome mode to enable users to customize their Windows installations by creating user accounts, naming the computer, and performing other tasks. Any answer file settings specified in the oobeSystem configuration pass are processed immediately before Windows Welcome starts.

  • /reboot Restarts the computer—use this option when auditing the computer and for verifying that your OOBE customizations work properly.

  • /shutdown Shuts down the computer once Sysprep has finished its work.

  • /quiet Runs Sysprep without displaying any onscreen confirmation messages. This is useful when you need to automate Sysprep.

  • /quit Closes Sysprep after running the commands you specified.

  • /unattend:answerfile Applies settings contained in the specified answer file to Windows during unattended installation.

In addition to running Sysprep from the command line or from scripts, you can also select certain Sysprep options from the UI by typing %systemroot%\system32\sysprep\sysprep with no parameters following it, which opens the dialog box shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Sysprep Preparation dialog box


Although Sysprep is generally useful for preparing Windows installations for image capture, there are some limitations for its use with Windows Server 2008. Specifically, the following installed server roles cannot be resealed using sysprep /generalize for preparing them for imaging:

  • All Active Directory server roles, including AD CS, AD DS, AD FS, AD LDS, and AD RMS

  • DNS Server

  • Fax Server

  • File Services

  • Network Policy and Access Services

  • Print Services

  • UDDI Services role

  • Windows Deployment Services

  • Windows SharePoint Services

For any of the roles listed, you must install the particular role after installation is finished for the role to work properly. In addition, the following role-related limitations also apply to using Sysprep:

  • The Web Server (IIS) role does not support Sysprep with encrypted credentials in the applicationhost.config file.

  • The Terminal Services role does not support Sysprep when the master Windows image is joined to a domain.

Other -----------------
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 14) - Configuring Proxy Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 13) - Configuring Caching Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 12) - Enabling Cache/Proxy
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 11) - Configuring Security for Windows Media Services
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 10)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 9) - Using the Multicast Announcement Wizard
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 8) - Using the Unicast Announcement Wizard
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 7) - Using the Create Wrapper Wizard
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 6) - Configuring Source Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 5)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 4) - Creating a New Publishing Point
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 3) - Using Windows Media Services Management Tools
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 2) - Installing Streaming Media Services
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring Windows Media Services (part 1)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 6) - Using an SMTP Virtual Server
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 5)
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 4) - Securing Access to an SMTP Virtual Server
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 3) - Configuring General SMTP Server Settings
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 2) - Creating a New SMTP Virtual Server
- Windows Server 2008 : Configuring SMTP (part 1) - Installing the SMTP Server Feature
 
 
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