Issues trying to sysprep a Windows 2008 R2 Server - "Fatal error occured"

Posted on 2011-04-24
Last Modified: 2012-06-22
Hi All,


I have a base Windows 2008 server that we use a template to deploy additional servers on our network. This server changes from time to time and up until now we have merely made the changes to the server - rerun sysprep and the recreated the image.

We now get errors which point to a fatal error I have narrowed down these errors to be because of the following:

"This error may occur if the Windows Software Licensing Rearm program has run more than three times in a single Windows image."

According to MS there is a workaround using settings in the Unattend.xml (which I have not yet needed to use) file relating to SkipRearm see

The question is how do I go about creating the unattended file? It appears that I only need a few basic lines, however everything I try fails. Any ideas?

Question by:ryankahan
    1 Comment
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    You have received this error because you did not generalize and oobe it and your imaged system still same SID and Activation ID. If you intending to deploy same image to multiple servers then you will be in trouble in near future. Please follow the instructions that I have previously created for Win 7 but it also same for Windows 2008.

    1-Downloaded WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit) and installed (Free) On different computer, preferably your tech computer.
    2-Install  your base computer and  first, activate Administrator account (as default its disabled-Right click on Computer icon and manage, local users and groups) and remove the initial admin account the one that you have essentially created at the end of the setup! Now you logged in Administrator account, and install other softwares that you need. Customize desktop, gadgets and other softwares (Office especially-at first run it asking update settings which users will need administrator creditentials to get rid of this screen, its better to do it know so no user will be asked this question)
    3-Now go back to other computer (your tech computer) and create a folder under C: and name it (say WAIK) and copy the Install.vim and Install_Windows 7.clg files which located under sources to the WAIK folder you just created and run the WAIK. You do not need rest of CD components!!!
    4-After finish preparation you will create an answer file (please watch the tutorial how to do this Please use your answer file name as myunattend as I prepared the last command according to that. Most important part here is Copy Profile command which is under Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup (right click and Specialize) and Copy profile must be TRUE. This will change your default profile to the latest state of your Administrator session.
    5-copy that answer file under the Windows\System32\Sysprep\
    6-Now you look at your desktop and make sure everything customized as you wish and type the following command via cmd!! (Not via GUI)
    C:\> CD Windows\System32\Sysprep  (Enter)
    sysprep.exe /oobe /generalize /unattend:myunattend.xml (Enter)

    This command will generalize and reset your arm number and shutdown the server. Before turning on your server you must get your image!!

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