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Windows 7: User Profile - Customize During Installation

16 Jul 2013   #10
FrancisL

Windows 8 Pro 64 bit
 
 

I donít understand what is the exact purpose of preparing in two (or several) passes? Does it improve the probability of success? On the other hand, if the sysprep finally fails, it amounts to the same thing, unless maybe if an image of the disk had been made between the 2 passes.

BTW, to make a image after the first preparation pass (could be useful because it takes a long time to execute Windows Update and the driver updates), I suppose I could replace /boot with /shutdown like this:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /audit /shutdown /unattend:G:\DefaultProfile.xml
Then boot on the disk imaging software CD, make the image and reboot normaly the PC to continue the preparation.



Thank you,
Francis


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Jul 2013   #11
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Francis, I do not like any third party shell replacement software. My personal experience is that they screw the sysprepping process.

The idea described in my last post is just a theory, never tested by me. The first sysprep run is to create those modifications I know will work regarding default user profile, the second run then to add third party shell modifications.

Your PC, your Windows, your decision. In my honest opinion you are trying too much, I find it a bad idea to implement any third party shell modifications into the default user profile. In case you want to try, I still believe it's better to do first the things that will work, and only then start to play with additional stuff.

How many user accounts you will need on your Windows 8 PC? Will they all be Microsoft Accounts or local accounts?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2013   #12
FrancisL

Windows 8 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Hello,

There must be something wrong or missing in the procedure described in this tutorial. I have applied it again carefully, it doesnít work. To be clear, here are the steps I have followed:
1. Installing Windows (pro, 64 bit)
2. Entering Audit Mode during first boot (ctrl-shift-F3)
3. Making a few basic customizations (a shortcut on the desktop, changing options in Windows explorer, changing the home page in IE).
4. In a elevated command prompt window : %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /reboot /unattend:G:\DefaultProfile.xml
(with 2 changes in the original DefaultProfile.xml file : on my PC, the letter of Cdrom is F and the system is "Windows 8 PRO")
For the rest, I agree. I should not install a shell modification into the default user profile. Notice however that disabling Windows Store should not be a problem as you can do this using Group Policy editor.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2013   #13
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

The procedure works, have never failed me. It is also the only officially supported method for copying default user profile by Microsoft (Support Article KB973289). I will do some test installs later today when home to check, will return with my findings.

In the mean time, a few questions:
- Which kind of install media you are using? Original Windows 8 DVD, ISO burned to a DVD / USB?
- Is the install media official and valid? How big (exactly) is the Install Media \Sources\Install.wim file?
- Do the drives F: and G: remain as drive F: and G: after you have exited from Audit Mode and booted to OOBE, or do they have gotten other drive letters?

Not disabling Windows Store while sysprepping is my recommendation; any tampering with the Store & Store Apps packages might cause sysprep to fail (one example here). I admit it might be and certainly looks to be too cautious from me, but as our Seven & Eight Forums tutorials are read by so many, I want to be extremely cautious in what I suggest and recommend as to avoid liability, the follow-up posts starting "You said I could do this and it makes my PC to crash". Call me chicken if you'd like to!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

17 Jul 2013   #14
FrancisL

Windows 8 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
In the mean time, a few questions:
- Which kind of install media you are using? Original Windows 8 DVD, ISO burned to a DVD / USB?
- Is the install media official and valid? How big (exactly) is the Install Media \Sources\Install.wim file?
- Do the drives F: and G: remain as drive F: and G: after you have exited from Audit Mode and booted to OOBE, or do they have gotten other drive letters?
- Original DVD from Fujitsu.
- \Sources\Install.wim file : 3,03 GB.
- The drive letters remain (at installation time, I have defined 3 partitions -> C,D,E.)

Best regards,
Francis
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2013   #15
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FrancisL View Post
Hello,

There must be something wrong or missing in the procedure described in this tutorial. I have applied it again carefully, it doesn’t work.
There must not be, and there is no errors or wrong or missing in the procedure described in this tutorial.

I did three test installs today, one on a physical machine (Windows 8 Pro x64) and two on virtual machines (one each, x64 and x32). I followed this tutorial of mine to the letter as if I didn't have any former experience from sysprep. Copying the default user profile worked like a charm in all three test installations, as it has always worked for me when properly done.

Please enlarge the screenshots to see the explanations from the process.

Starting situation, Windows 8 booted to Audit Mode during the installation, logged in as built-in administrator, at this point still no user specified user accounts created:
User Profile - Customize During Installation-2013-07-17_161100.png
Customizing the default user profile:
User Profile - Customize During Installation-2013-07-17_161634.png

User Profile - Customize During Installation-2013-07-17_162237.png

User Profile - Customize During Installation-2013-07-17_163344.png
At this point, everything customized as I wanted, I copy & pasted the answer file from the tutorial to a USB stick E:, and run the sysprep command with said answer file in elevated Command Prompt as told in tutorial:

Code:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /reboot /unattend:E:\DefaultProfile.xml
No issues there, Windows booted to OOBE / Welcome Mode as instructed by the sysprep command's /oobe and /reboot switches. I entered the initial user details and logged in to Windows 8.

Start Screen after booting to Windows OOBE mode first time after sysprepping and exiting Audit Mode. Already before entering the desktop it is obvious that copying the default profile has worked, as the Start Screen Desktop tile is showing the desktop background I specified in Audit Mode instead of the default Windows 8 desktop background:
User Profile - Customize During Installation-2013-07-17_184421.png
Everything is there as customized:
User Profile - Customize During Installation-2013-07-17_185346.png
Notice that the Desktop Toolbar did not copy over to the default user profile, being the only one of my modifications which "failed". Actually, it did not fail; Customizing the Start Menu (7 only) and the Taskbar (both 7 & 8) is limited while customizing the default user profile. Read more here: How To: Customize the Windows 7 Start Menu and Taskbar Using unattend.xml - Ask the Core Team - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

I can reproduce your issue, customization of default user profile not working even sysprep gives no error messages, only in these two ways:
  • The value of the ProcessorArchitecture variable is wrong in answer file. It must be amd64 for x64 systems, regardless if the actual processor is Intel or AMD, and x86 for 32 bit systems

    -- OR --

  • The install.wim file is not a valid, original Microsoft Windows install.wim file, or is of wrong bit architecture (for instance when sysprepping a 64 bit system with a 32 bit install.wim file)
In both these cases above I get no error messages when sysprepping but the default user profile will not be customized, for obvious reasons (user errors).

Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2013   #16
FrancisL

Windows 8 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Thank you for your explanations and efforts to make everything clear, again. I think that I have applied the procedure exactly as explained. I don't have Windows 8 PCs under the hand anymore. I should get a few more at the end of August and experiment again with sysprep. In the mean time, I'll contact Fujitsu to get an advice.

Francis
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2013   #17
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

OK, good to know.

I am sorry it did not work for you. As told in my previous post for me it fails only if I knowingly make errors in answer file in my efforts to reproduce your case. Without errors, following the instructions in tutorial the method works always, both in Windows 8 and 8.1.

An idea, it's of course up to you if you want to try once more: The only thing I can think of that you have differently than me is the Windows 8 Pro install media. You told you have Fujitsu's Windows DVD instead of stock Microsoft one.

If you are willing to do some further testing, you could download the official Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 90 Day Trial version and do the following:
  • Download the Enterprise Trial x64
  • Open (extract) the ISO file you downloaded, copy \sources\install.wim to a DVD or another external device like a USB stick
  • When sysprepping your Windows 8 Pro, use path to this Enterprise install.wim instead of that from Fujitsu DVD
It just might work. The install.wim in all Windows editions contains information for all Windows editions, so using an Enterprise install.wim although answer file says Windows 8 Pro is not a problem.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Aug 2013   #18
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Kari is this similar to what you do in another great guide?
An Old School Geekís approach to Installing & Setting Up a Windows PC

I think they each should have a reference to the other, they seem to go together like hot dogs and mustard, or whisky and cigars.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Aug 2013   #19
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quite a lot of what I have handled in various sysprep related tuts can and should be cross referenced. I need to check them all to see if more cross linking would serve the purpose. Thanks for mentioning it .

However, the sticky thread you mentioned is more a general "This is how I set up a Windows PC" post, whereas this tutorial is more an in-depth guide in customizing the default user profile. For an average user with one or two user accounts the sticky is enough, this tut is more for those who like me have a need to set up, use and later change several user accounts. This method is only needed on systems where certain requirements must be filled when a new user profile is created.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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