Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: New Installation: How to Create a General System Image in Audit Mode


New Installation: How to Create a General System Image in Audit Mode

Create a System Image with your software installed but without any user accounts or activation information
Published by Kari
04 Jul 2012
Published by

Note   Note
Audit Mode is a very practical way to prepare a system image without any user specific information like usernames or computer name. With it you can create a General System Image that gives you always when used a fresh, clean Windows 7 setup as if it were a virgin, fresh install, only difference being your software, drivers and updates are already installed. Using System Image recovery is a much faster method to start fresh than reinstalling everything.

When recovering image created with this method, computer will start in so called First Run OOBE mode without any user accounts but all drivers, software and updates installed, stopping to ask for initial username, computer name, language (if additional languages installed), time zone, network and homegroup settings. An image includes no user accounts, no activation information and no SID so you always start fresh.



This tutorial takes you through following steps:
  1. Installing Windows 7 and entering Audit Mode during first boot after the installation
  2. Installing drivers, software, software updates and additional languages (Ultimate and Enterprise editions only)
  3. Creating a system image
  4. Booting to Windows Welcome (OOBE)

    Note   Note
    Notice that Windows Update does not work in Audit Mode.

Step 1: Install Windows 7
  1. Beginn installation of Windows 7 as told in this tutorial
  2. When you reach step 11 in above mentioned installation tutorial, DO NOT ENTER USERNAME AND COMPUTER NAME! Instead press CTRL + SHIFT + F3:
    .

    .
  3. This reboots Windows 7 now in so called Audit Mode using built-in administrator profile. There's no need to set up user accounts for now
  4. Continue installation from installation tutorial's step 15
  5. Finally Windows 7 starts in Audit Mode. Click Cancel to close System Preparation Tool for now:
    .
Step 2: Install drivers, software and updates
  1. Install all third party drivers needed (audio, video etc.)
  2. If using Ultimate or Enterprise editions, install additional language packs if needed
  3. Install your software (third party browsers and mail clients, MsOffice, PhotoShop, Flash Player, PDF reader etc.)
  4. Install software updates
  5. If you want to change where all future User accounts will be located, you can relocate the main Users folder now as told in this tutorial: User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation
  6. When ready, continue from Step 3
Notice: Installing drivers, updates and software might cause your computer to reboot several times. As long as you have not selected to exit Audit Mode, Windows reboots always automatically back to Audit Mode. In this case just close the System Preparation Tool as told above in Step 1.5.

Step 3: Create a System Image

When you are ready with customization, close all open applications and Explorer windows, and open an elevated command prompt. Give the following command:
Code:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /shutdown
Windows will now run the System Preaparation Tool (sysprep) and shut down.

Now the only thing missing is creating the image. Boot the PC with the boot disk of your chosen imaging application and create the image. You can use any third party imaging application, my choice is the free edition of Macrium Reflect. Here you can find an easy to read, complete tutorial showing you how to do it with Macrium


Step 4: First boot (Welcome or OOBE boot)

When image is done, shut down the PC. Remove the boot disk of the imaging application, turn the PC on to start Windows . It will now boot to a so called First Run OOBE (Out-of-Box Experience) boot, stopping to ask initial user profile name and computer name as told in this tutorial, Step 11 and further. If language packs are installed (Ultimate or Enterprise only), initial first boot also asks user in what language he / she wants Windows to be set up.

Now you have your Windows 7 set up, with a System Image that you can use anytime you want to get fast back to fresh Windows.

Have Fun!

Kari




04 Jul 2012   #1
JaidynM

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows 8 Consumer Preview x64/Ubuntu 11.04
 
 

Very nice tutorial Kari, well done.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2012   #2
F5ing

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Nice!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2012   #3
essenbe
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Enterprise X64/Windows 10 Pro X64/Linux Mint
 
 

Nice tutorial, Kari. Very useful.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

04 Jul 2012   #4
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Thanks geeks. I've been using this method to create initial images. It is nice after recovery to be able to start fresh in case you need / want to change your earlier username or computer name and so on. It's like a totally fresh, clean install except all your software is already installed, all drivers updated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2012   #5
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

Good tute Kari

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2012   #6
F5ing

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Thanks geeks. I've been using this method to create initial images. It is nice after recovery to be able to start fresh in case you need / want to change your earlier username or computer name and so on. It's like a totally fresh, clean install except all your software is already installed, all drivers updated.
Just curious. Does changing computername create the same kind of filesystem/registry "mess" that occurs when username is changed?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2012   #7
banal

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Mannnn Kari,
Thanks for the info. Very informative.
Cheers mate.
Banal
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2012   #8
DjMaj

Windows 7 x64
 
 

When i get to Part 3: Create a System Image ( while still in audit mode apparently , should i chose the option Quit ? )
i tried to backup the system and i received a message that says something like you can not do a backup in maintenance mode ? Can you please explain how to fix that ? thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2012   #9
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DjMaj View Post
When i get to Part 3: Create a System Image ( while still in audit mode apparently , should i chose the option Quit ? )
i tried to backup the system and i received a message that says something like you can not do a backup in maintenance mode ? Can you please explain how to fix that ? thanks.
I will do some testing, updating tutorial if / when needed. Just give me some time.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Comment

 New Installation: How to Create a General System Image in Audit Mode




Tutorial Tools




Similar help and support threads
Windows 7 Tutorial Category
Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep
How to Create, Customize, and Maintain Windows 7 Image in Audit Mode with Sysprep Tool There were two things that made me start writing this tutorial. First one was a very misleading article I read on the Internet and the second one was this response on another tutorial of mine: We...
Tutorials
Windows 7 pro - Create system image only system c: drive
I have a 1TB drive that partioned with 120gb system and rest is a non primary/non boot data partition volumn.. I've never used windows 7 create system image, but want to . When I try to create a system image it insist on backing up both drives. I don't see how to deselect the data drive. Is...
Backup and Restore
Create OS image only for re installation from Partitioned Hard drive
Not exactly sure how to explain or even exactly what im looking for but basically I had an older laptop running windows 7 home premium that allowed me from the boot menu to re install windows & home premium w/o key or anything. It was placed on a partition of my hard drive. I would like to do this...
Backup and Restore
Activating an local partition to the protection system in audit mode
HI I have partitioned a disk into two primary partitions. On one of them, I installed Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate 64 bit, but, during its installation, I pressed, the Ctrl+Shift+F3 sequence to go in audit mode. Now, wanting to activate the D local partition to the protection system, I wrote:...
Installation & Setup
Create a System Image Shortcut - Create
How to Create a "Create a System Image" Shortcut in Windows 7 This will show you how to create a Create a System Image shortcut in Windows 7. To be able to use this shortcut, you must be logged in as an administrator. EXAMPLE: Create a System Image
Tutorials


Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 15:30.

Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App