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In Windows 7 testing, get error "windows could not parse or process unattend file for pass [specialize]

Posted on 2011-03-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi,

I have been using a virtual windows 7 machine for testing sysprep scenarios for a rollout shortly.  Problem is no matter what configuration i put the machine in (Apps, no apps, updates, no updates), I always get a "windows could not parse or process unattend file for pass [specialize].  The settings specified in the answer file cannot be applied.  The error was detected while processing settings for component [microsoft-windows-shell-setup] ".

I have also found that the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service (WMPNetwk.exe) could sometimes cause these types of errors, so i always stop the service and disable before running sysprep with my unnattend file.  I have also tried running with a MAK volume licensing key in the unnatend and also without to no avail.  Each time, I revert back to a clean image and do my test again so that i don't have to worry about the re-arm scenario with activation.

I'm literally at my wits end with this one.  At first, i thought it might be a software App issue so i even tried with a snapshot image with no 3rd party Apps added but still fails.

What's interesting is that i can usually run a 'virgin' sysprep install with the generalize switch and no unnatend file fine most times.  It's only when i try to apply the unattend that i get the windows could not parse type error.  For this reason, i had created a very skeleton version of the unnatend with just the specialize and oobe passes applied.  I really need to get this working in order to apply the CopyProfile setting from specialize in order to build a default profile for the machine that will give users a standard feel when logging in.

I am attaching three files here:  the original windows could not parse error, the specialize pass (i had to blur out our product key for privacy reasons) and the oobe pass - all with various settings applied.  Can someone take a look at these files and possibly shed some light on what is going on?

500 points to a solution.  Thanks again guys
could-not-parse.JPG
specialize-pass.JPG
oobe-pass.JPG
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Question by:sparky321
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by:jcimarron
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by:sparky321
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Thanks for your reply jcimarron.  Neither of these fixes my original issue though.  I thought Microsoft finally got it right with Windows 7 but obviously there are still some bugs with deploying for business.
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by:sparky321
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I'm hoping to get this sorted.  is there any other ways of getting the CopyProfile setting applied to a base user logged in to the machine that you are about to image?
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ivanoviola earned 500 total points
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When you created your XML file using WAIK, did you use the wim image from the Windows 7 installation disk which you used to install on your image computer?  

Looking at the 3 files you posted, the only thing I can suggest is try leaving the computer name field empty. Other than that all seems to be fine.

I've created an article on Windows 7 sysprep. It may give you some ideas regarding problems you may experience. If you continue to have problems you could give it a try. I've been using this process for the last two years without problems.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/A_3095-Windows-7-Sysprep.html

Let me know how it goes.
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by:sparky321
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@ ivanoviola:

I will check on the xml file and how it was created under WAIK and update this thread.  Thanks.
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@ ivanoviola:

I went back and checked the source of my unattend xml file.  It was from another Win 7 Pro disc but may have been slightly different than the version i have been using for vmware.  Anyways, created a new unattend xml file from the vmware instance and voila! it works!

I now have a common feel for any users logging in with desktop themes e.t.c. Only one issue though, i keep losing my custom toolbar that i create.  Do you know what pass i need to set so that I retain the custom toolbar created?  Thanks again.

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by:sparky321
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Nice one, it pays to check your unnatend source to make sure it matches the current version of Win 7 you need to sysprep!
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by:ivanoviola
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Are you referring to IE toolbar? I'm really not sure. I set all my settings in my xml for Internet Explorer but I don't see anything for the toolbar.
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by:sparky321
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No, I created a custom toolbar called quicklaunch on the taskbar that looks more like the XP version.  I then populate that with the icons i need in there.   When i run sysprep, it completely wipes away the settings for this and puts back on the 'default' pinned icons on the taskbar.

Any ideas, let me know, thanks.

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by:ivanoviola
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I've been able to pin shortcuts to the quick launch using a vbs script. The script only runs when the user logs in for the first time. I don't know about a custom toolbar. Sorry.
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Ok, thanks.  I'll open another thread for this issue.
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