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Sysprep Image 3 Times?

Experts:

I'm running into a problem where I can only Sysyprep my corporate Windows 7 Image 3 times before I run into fatal errors during the Generalize Phase of Sysprep. According to the research I have done, Microsoft recommends you rebuild your image from scratch at this point. I was wondering what anyone else does to get around this?

More Background Info
Here is the way I have things setup:
I have my master Windows 7 image
Each month I want to update the image to incorporate the latest Windows/Adobe/Java updates
After making the updates, I have been Sysprep'ing the image, and saving the Ghost files
On the fourth iteration of the image, I recieve an error during Sysprep

I have found these links:
http://blogen.creed-tech.net/miscellaneous/sysprep-your-windows-os-for-more-then-3-times/
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929828

After following these steps, I added this code to my answer file:
 
<settings pass="generalize">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
            <SkipRearm>1</SkipRearm>
        </component>
    </settings>

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This seems to allow Sysyprep to proceed, but the rearm count never goes back to three and Microsoft doesnt recommend leaving that section of code in the answer file:
 
You must make sure that the <SkipRearm> setting is removed from the final unattended file that is used to deploy computers in a production environment. If <SkipRearm> is not removed from the unattended file that is used to deploy computers in a production environment, the KMS current client count does not increase for new clients that are added to the network.

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Soooo....How do you get around this? Did I do something wrong when I was following those steps? I find it hard to believe that corporations out there have to completely rebuild their Windows image every 3rd iteration of Sysprep. Please help!  

Thanks a bunch!!

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Author

Commented:
From this post,
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itproinstall/thread/89017cfe-0aa1-421f-846b-fabf906432c2

"If you sysprep a machine and make an image, then deploy that image, your sysprep count is already down 1, and you will only have 2 sysprep's remaining on the newly imaged machine.

I would suggest you get your image the way you want and then make an image of it before you sysprep. That way the count remains at 3. Then restore that image and make changes to it.
"

Does anyone else do this? It sounds like a decent idea.
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Top Expert 2012

Commented:
Yes, essentially you need to do a bit of juggling with your images to ensure that you don't reach the maximum limit of three Sysprep occurrences.  Just like you, I have read some articles online that mention how to reset the rearm count, but in my experience none of them seem to work gracefully.

If you are relatively prudent with your image updates and your Sysprep captures, you should still be in good shape.  Should you ever lose track of the count, remember that you can check on any Windows build by opening a command prompt (that doesn't necessarily need admin rights) and enter the following syntax:

slmgr.vbs /dlv

After several seconds, a window will appear that includes the proper information:

Remaining Windows rearm count: 2
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Top Expert 2012
Commented:
To give you a good example, at work we receive a master image from our higher headquarters that has been Sysprepped and deployed to us on a dual-layer DVD.  As a result, the Sysprep/rearm count has been reduced by one.

Our team will take that image and install it on a local machine, then test it, customize it and fine-tune it to suit our needs.  Once we are sure that we are comfortable with the end result, we will Sysprep that image.  Now, our rearm count is down to one.  But we will take that image and ensure that we set aside backup copies.  In other words, we will never let the Sysprep/rearm count run out.  If we have a major update to install, we will take one of the clones and update it accordingly before performing another Sysprep on it and installing it on a large scale.  However, our "real" master image with one remaining Sysprep/rearm has been preserved for future use.

Hope that helps clarify things a bit.
If you're always using the same PC to build the image on, then you can do this:

1) Install/update Windows, then image before sysprepping. Keep this image1.
2) Sysprep and then image for deployment. Image2

Whenever you need to update your windows image, first restore image1 to the PC, then repeat the steps.
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Author

Commented:
Thanks for the responses. I need to do a bunch of work now, but this should help us out going forward!
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Top Expert 2012

Commented:
You're welcome... glad to help!

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