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Sysprep Windows 7

Posted on 2014-12-17
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I'm trying to create a windows 7 image since I have many pc's with of the same hardware.  I haven't done this in a while but in Win XP I would have to run sysprep before I created the image.  Do I still need to do that in Win 7 to regenerate the sids?  Also I was going to use clonezilla to create an image for multiple machines that I can store on a usb drive for quick restores.  Is clonezilla the best free utility or is there something better to use?
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Question by:bsjj2727
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by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40505643
Microsoft only officially supports imaging that uses Sysprep.  In the real world, you can probably get by without it on workstations (not servers) but I always say do whats supported so you have the option to call Microsoft for help.   Other utilities, even Russinovich's own NewSID from the Sysinternals, will not do a good job or can even damage your install.  Sysprep is the only way.  It's free, and its built in so use it.  Don't forget, you can only Sysprep an image 3 times then you're locked out and have to start fresh.  Don't try and hack around it either... the limit is Microsoft's and its there for a reason.

Side notes with Sysprep:  Make this registry key change BEFORE running sysprep to keep all of the drivers you install:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\Sysprep\Settings\sppnp

set PersistAllDeviceInstalls to 1.

As far as imaging software, Clonezilla, Casper, or my personal favorite Acronis will all do a good basic job with advanced features depending on licensing and feature-set of each vendors utility.

And for more information, check out this thread:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_28113660.html?related=28582967

Thx
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by:bsjj2727
ID: 40505654
how do you run it in Win 7 do I need the iso, I remember have to extract a cab file in Win XP
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by:Rob G
ID: 40505655
35. Simplify Cloned Machine Setups. You can't run Sysinternals' newsid utility to change the identity of a cloned Windows 7 machine (either a virtual machine or imaged PC). Instead, create a template installation then run sysprep /oobe /generalize /reboot /shutdown /unattend:scriptfile. Clone or copy this virtual machine file. When it launches, it will get a new SID and you can fill in the name. The reference for building unattended script files is at tinyurl.com/winunattend.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.10.77windows.aspx?sid=5cbb6c33dee24e04beee633c420481a2




I use clonezilla often, while i can't say it is the "best" it is free, and easy.. familiar for me to use.. So i just use that.. I know you can use other GUI oriented ones, but i think i have become so used to clonezilla i don't bother with the other ones..


Hope that helps..

NOTE: You don't need to sysprep cloned machines if.. IF there is no software installed on it.. There is some issue with the autoSID configuration in Windows 7 that messes up, if there is software installed already..

Otherwise you shouldn't need to run sysprep at all.. "Kinda pointless, if there is no software i know" Just pointing that out..
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by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40505688
You dont need the ISO; its built in to Windows.  Run this from Start --> Run to pull up the GUI::

C:\Windows\System32\sysprep\sysprep.exe


Or... from command line:

C:\Windows\System32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /generalize /shutdown


Hope this helps get you started.  You'll need to read up more as you go (extra features like unattended answer files, etc. expand your abilities) as well as experiment to make sure everything you install tolerates the Sysprep treatment.  As Rob G. mentioned there are a few apps that don't tolerate it well, but I've found they're pretty few and far between.

Thx
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by:Neil Russell
ID: 40505704
"NOTE: You don't need to sysprep cloned machines if.. IF there is no software installed on it.. There is some issue with the autoSID configuration in Windows 7 that messes up, if there is software installed already..

Otherwise you shouldn't need to run sysprep at all.. "Kinda pointless, if there is no software i know" Just pointing that out.."

Wrong.  
If your machines are company machines and you ever need ANY kind of software support from Microsoft then You sysprep.

If a machine is cloned but not sysprepped it is unsupported.

If a machine ever takes part in network controlled applications like WSUS or enterprise AV systems then not sysprepping will cause problems.

Microsoft do not support image distribution without sysprep for a reason.
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by:Rob G
ID: 40505732
Wrong.  
If your machines are company machines and you ever need ANY kind of software support from Microsoft then You sysprep.

If you are in IT you never need help from microsoft..
Otherwise why hire you and not just go to microsoft?
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by:Neil Russell
ID: 40505736
Oh dear Rob.  
To have an opinion that states "I'm in IT so I never need help from Vendors" does not exactly put you in great light.  But thats just MY opinion on yours of course.

Nobody in IT can put there hand on their heart and say "I know it all, I don't ever need help"
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by:Rob G
ID: 40505760
Neil, You are absolutely right.. But that is why they have google, bing, and EE.. You never bring your car to the dealer, because they will rob you blind.. you also don't bring your OS to the vendor for the same reason.. Unless it is under warranty... That's not knowing everything, that's called being resourceful..

You can go deeper into it if you want..
Einstein challenged newton..
http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/history/einstein.html

Do you think that someone who challenges the rules or does something that may not be supported by everyone is wrong?
If you do, i feel bad for that cold dark lonely place you live in..
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by:Neil Russell
ID: 40505765
It's not about challenging, it's about providing your Employer or client with a fully supported system and keeping ALL of your options open.

There is no GOOD reason not to sysprep other than "I don't like Microsoft telling me what to do".
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by:Rob G
ID: 40505806
So.. what is the good reason of using something that a 3rd party manufacturer made simply to make things easier for those who have not used sysprep?

Failure to sysprep with IE10? (Installed software)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2868126
Failure to sysprep with Apps installed in 8+ (software installation)
https://4sysops.com/archives/how-to-remove-windows-8-apps-before-you-run-sysprep/
Failure to sysprep if you have had any issues on the PC or the pc was from an upgrade licence
http://www.sevenforums.com/installation-setup/314747-fatal-error-when-running-sysprep.html
Failure to sysprep with unsigned drivers
https://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/VCL/Sysprep+Fails+Because+of+Unsigned+Storage+Drivers

And lastly the guide for using your sysprep..
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/319903-windows-7-image-customize-audit-mode-sysprep.html

Now since i have proved my point..
Why would anyone opt to care if microsoft will cover the OS?
How often do you think the people who post here call Microsoft? I doubt that they ever do, why would they.. so that they can ask why something isn't working on a desktop??? Why wouldn't you just reformat it at that point? Do you call microsoft everytime you have a desktop issue? Why are you on here then? I am having a hard time understanding the point of telling someone they are wrong because they don't do things by the book..
Hell look at vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 do you think that microsoft is good at making decisions? Since i noticed you have an MS cert.. Do you think that everything in that test was spot on? have you ever had to fix something a non-microsoft way? I am just trying to understand your logic here...

I can tell you for sure..
WSUS and any basic enterprise AV will work fine using clonezilla, but i can also tell you that sysprep will fail if you have an enterprise AV pre-installed (Norton or Kasperski). Where as Clonezilla will not..
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by:Neil Russell
ID: 40505839
Rob, we pride ourselves on not only answering questions as accurately as we can but also offering advice that is lawful and conforms with ANY suppliers license conditions.

Microsoft license only allows you to use image distribution if you are a volume licence holder using volume licence distribution media. (Some minor exceptions document by Microsoft).

Because there is software out there that allows you to do something does not make it correct.

You provide links to other forums that discuss end user issues that are in fact, in some cases, a direct breach of license terms.
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Expert Comment

by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40505881
As a consultant we should absolutely Sysprep when imaging,  we should and do absolutely seek help from Microsoft for complex problems (if for no other reason for expediency) and we should be responsible enough to build an environment that doesn't violate terms of service, licensing agreements, supported configs, etc. for our clients every time.

Bsjj we're sorry you got caught up in this.  

Back to the issue... Use Sysprep everytime.  It's your friend.  It lets you image and reduce implementation efforts 95% or more.  There's always a hack around things, but save those for emergencies... Don't build an environment on a method you know isn't supported.... don't be that kind of engineer with your company's resources.  Build it right from the start.  

Look over the comments; decide who sounds like professional experts and who has lots to learn.

Here Endeth the lesson :-)
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Expert Comment

by:Alex Haines
ID: 40506836
Rob please back down as you are not doing any of us any favours. In response to your previous comment:

Failure to sysprep with IE10? (Installed software)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2868126
Failure to sysprep with Apps installed in 8+ (software installation)
https://4sysops.com/archives/how-to-remove-windows-8-apps-before-you-run-sysprep/
Failure to sysprep if you have had any issues on the PC or the pc was from an upgrade licence
http://www.sevenforums.com/installation-setup/314747-fatal-error-when-running-sysprep.html
Failure to sysprep with unsigned drivers
https://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/VCL/Sysprep+Fails+Because+of+Unsigned+Storage+Drivers

And lastly the guide for using your sysprep..
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/319903-windows-7-image-customize-audit-mode-sysprep.html

Why would you SysPrep an upgraded machine?
Why are you running unsigned drivers?
Why are you not deploying a customised IE10/11 msi through GP?
Why are you not following the laid out best practice guidelines and arguing that you know better?

It's almost as bad as when someone says they can make kit wine better than the manufacturer of the kit wine can. How many man hours of research do you think goes into these recommendations? Yes it is nice to be able to tinker and find workarounds for things if needed but when building and deploying an image like the OP originally wanted they should be using Audit Mode on a fresh install and then using SysPrep - simple!
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Author Comment

by:bsjj2727
ID: 40507181
So just to follow up here I downloaded a Win 7 pro iso, installed all my drivers, updated windows, installed all my 3rd party apps, I did not license windows and I did not attach this to my corporate domain.  I then ran sysprep and used the settings OOBE and to generalize.  I shut the PC down and created my image with Clonezilla.  I will then use this image for my future PC's.  So that way I can use the target PC's license key etc.  Is there any issues with this setup?
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Chach DalSanto earned 500 total points
ID: 40507217
If your Win 7 ISO image is Volume License, and I'm assuming the PC's are OEM licensed, you'll need to tweak the license you hold just a bit but it is allowed.  Here's the details so you are in compliance with Microsoft Licensing:

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/product-licensing-faq.aspx

About 1/2 way down the page there is a topic called Re-imaging Rights.  Read that paragraph, and look up the link to the Microsoft OEM System Builders Guidelines for further reading.

Thx
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Expert Comment

by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40507233
Oh; one more thing...  :-)

Just make sure you test thoroughly before mass deployment.  You mentioned you haven't done imaging in a while.  It's the same rules as before, there are still some few applications or driver packs that don't tolerate imaging well and will need to be installed after the imaging.  This could be manually, or with GPO delivered install packages, or a third party solution.  But thats another discussion.

Keep Calm & Carry On!
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 40553669
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
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by:Chach DalSanto
ID: 40553670
I feel like Neilsr, Alex Haines and myself should split points for this.  We, all 3 of us, gave unified, supported and documented recommendations on what he needed to do.  As well as professional real world advice.  Feel like author of the questions may have been scared off somewhat by the comments of a certain user that has since been deleted from this thread.

 Thx
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