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Windows 7: System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows

30 May 2014   #20
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

To start with, let's make it clear that sysprepping the Windows image with Generalize switch is the only supported by and recommended by Microsoft scenario in transferring and deploying a Windows installation to another computer. This is very clearly stated in this Microsoft support article: Sysprep Command-Line Options.

A quote from said article:
Quote:
Important

You must use the Sysprep /generalize command to generalize a complete Windows installation before you can use the installation for deployment to a new computer, whether you use imaging, hard disk duplication, or another method. Moving or copying a Windows image to a different computer without running the Sysprep /generalize command is not supported.
Following these guidelines told in this tutorial I have never failed in deploying Windows, both at my home network and professionally in corporate environment.

I would start from scratch, installing Windows on a reference computer, entering Audit Mode without setting up users and there installing software, the generalizing the image, capturing it and finally deploying it. Please notice that naturally, both the reference computer and target computers must have the same system (BIOS vs. UEFI), and the target computers must have the same HD structure than the reference computer.

See this article for additional information: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../hh824938.aspx

Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 May 2014   #21
fr0zensphere

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Thank you again for your reply! Of course I did use the generalize command because your other guide that you linked very clearly presents a screen shot of the sysprep tool GUI. I made sure to check-mark the Generalize box. However...

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Please notice that naturally, both the reference computer and target computers must have the same system (BIOS vs. UEFI), and the target computers must have the same HD structure than the reference computer.
Could you please explain what you mean by "must have the same HD structure"? In my case, my original computer (the source) has a 120GB SSD, the target computer has a 1TB mechanical drive.

(They do both have the same motherboard, so they both have UEFI.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2014   #22
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

I explained that badly. Here's what I meant:
  • If the image is made from let's say one 250 GB HDD / SSD with just one HDD / SSD and partition (C:), the target computer must have at least one 250 GB partition available
  • If the image is made from a system with 2 or more partitions on the same, one disk, and all these partitions are included in image, the target computer must have at least 2 partitions on one disk, and all partitions must be at least as big as the original ones
  • If the image is made from a system with 2 or more partitions on 2 or more disks , and all these partitions are included in image, the target computer must have at least 2 partitions on the same amount of disks, and all partitions must be at least as big as the original ones
Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2014   #23
fr0zensphere

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Ok, thank you. So on my source PC I have just 1 drive with just a single partition (C: ). Since the target computer's HDD is much bigger should either of the below scenarios be fine?
1.) I restore the image in such a way that the target drive has a partition (C: ) of the exact same dimensions as the original C: patition, plus a second partition that takes up the rest of the space (plus the 3 hidden partitions that Window made originally, containing boot sector, etc.);
2.) I restore the image in such a way that the target drive has a single C: partition that is much bigger than the original and takes up all of the space (plus the 3 hidden partitions).

Should either of these be acceptable, theoretically?

*******

Another question. Right before I embarked on this sysprep adventure, I made a system image of my first computer using Windows's native imaging tool (in Win7 known as Backup and Restore). I have this image on external drive. If I boot up using my Windows 8.1 DVD and then restore my *first* computer (the one I sysprepped) back to how it was before sysprep, does that count as a "repair install"? I've never restored a Windows image before, so I'm not sure exactly what the terminology is for this action. In other words, if I restore that system image, will I no longer be able to try the sysprep process again (as your warning says that sysprep cannot be run after a repair install)?

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

31 May 2014   #24
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

No. that isn't a repair install, it is a complete return to the moment you made the image.

I haven't used sysprep enough to answer 1) and 2).

Kari will know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2014   #25
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Both your scenarios work. The main thing is that the target has the drives needed, big enough.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2014   #26
fr0zensphere

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Thank you again.

Some progress. I determined a couple things. First, I believe that my image that I was trying to put on the second computer was bad to begin with. Because I had the same exact error message on the original computer (the source). I don't know why I didn't check that earlier in the process. But anyway, I'm currently restoring the first computer to the image I made right before performing sysprep. I will try the process all over. Secondly, I determined why my computer(s) were refusing to boot from the Macrium WinPE rescue disk that is provided in the tutorial by whs. That was due to a setting in my UEFI bios which had CSM disabled. (I think CSM stands for Compatibility support module. When disabled, the next setting after it, "Boot Mode", was set to "UEFI only" which means only UEFI aware operating systems can be booted.) Turning off that setting allowed the Macrium-made WinPE disk to boot up.

Anyway, now I wonder what went wrong after I did sysprep. Maybe it's because I needed to boot the computer to burn the image after sysprep, but then I accidentally booted into Windows part-way before I shut it off again?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2014   #27
fr0zensphere

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Ok tried it again. This time I was very careful. Followed the steps perfectly, but I end up with the same error. Basically, the problem is that after running sysprep, the original computer becomes broken. In your other tutorial that you linked, the next boot after running sysprep shows this:




But for me, my source computer just breaks before it gets to that. I never see the screen that says "Setup is installing devices". Instead I get an error window that pops up and states (as described in my earlier post): "Windows could not finish configuring the system. To attempt to resume configuration, restart the computer." And then it's just an infinite death loop, because the same error pops up after every restart.

Any ideas for why this is happening?

When you say in your tutorial to not run any other programs during sysprep, does this include disabling antivirus? Or anything else? I did not specifically disable the windows media player network sharing service, but I also did not get any error messages from sysprep, so I assumed everything went alright.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jun 2014   #28
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

This puzzles me because as you suspect, something seems to happen to image when it's sysprepped so it does not even work when restored to same computer. I have a few ideas but I want to see the log files first.

This requires some work from your part, hopefully not too much:
  • Restore your working image to reference computer
  • Sysprep again but instead of selecting Shutdown in Sysprep dialog, select Quit (highlighted in screenshot below):
    System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows-2014-06-02_08h30_34.png
  • When Sysprep has finished, get all log files (setupact.log and setuperr.log and all other *.log files) from folders C:\Windows\Panther and C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Panther on the sysprepped system and save them as a Zip packets to an external storage, one Zip packet for each folder
  • Now reboot your reference computer, let it boot to OOBE and see if everything goes well
  • Come back here and post the log files packet, and tell if reboot after Sysprep went OK
Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jun 2014   #29
fr0zensphere

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Hah. Compared to the time and effort I already sunk into this, what you ask is nothing. I'm surprised you're still helping

Short answer: got same error upon reboot after sysprep. This time I tried disabling the antivirus shields and tried disabling the windows media player network storage (it was not on) before running sysprep.

Longer answer: it became obvious after sysprep finished that something was screwed up. Windows started behaving very weirdly. Most things seemed okay (without any thorough testing) but it appeared that anything that had to do with file and HDD management was severely messed up. I was barely even able to get those log files off the system. I started getting weird errors when all I wanted to do was create a new folder on either the desktop or on the external storage. For instance, see my first screenshot:

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a3...pse913614e.jpg
(didn't want to insert image since I captured the full screen)

I created new zipped folder, then right click > rename > type in "panther.zip" > hit enter > got above error. Then I did something similar and got:


(full-screen screenshot can be seen here: http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a3...ps3017d5cc.jpg)

Anyway, I was able to just copy the files onto the root of my external storage, without making any folders. I used an external HDD and then a flash drive to prevent overwriting the setupact.log and setuperr.log from the two different directories. I then made the zipped packages on my laptop. The one named "panther.zip" is from C:\Windows\Panther, and the other one is from Windows\System32... directory.

Thank you!


Attached Files
File Type: zip panther.zip (39.8 KB, 66 views)
File Type: zip system32-sysprep-panther.zip (72.2 KB, 58 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows




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