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Windows 7: System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows

11 Sep 2014   #50
DJTest

Micorsoft Windows 8.1 Enterprise X64
 
 

Is there a way to run KMSPico / AutoPico automatic after the installation with any Users Domains?
Only for testing for purposes ofcourse.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jan 2015   #51
bigredeo

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Kari -

I was given the suggestion of using Sysprep for the problem that I'm having. We have these old, old XP PCs that need to be converted to a Windows 7 image here where I work. These will go out to about 300 of our locations around the country. We had to go with Windows 7 (pro) 32-bit images, because some of our older apps are still very much in use and need 32-bit in order to work.
For our XP images, we use Clonezilla with the most recent updates to burn replacement PCs to go out. The new Windows 7 PCs use a SLIC for identification and have to contact the Licensing Server for "windows activation" out of the box and then every 80 days. These PCs are coming to us from a different department with Windows 7 32-bit already loaded and only the Administrator account. I had to write a Powershell program that adds all that we need - two other user accounts (besides Administrator), our apps, printers, Java, Chrome, Adobe, et al. Because of PCI compliance, we also have about 200 patches (mostly Microsoft patches) that run via this Powershell build. It takes a good 3.5 hours for the build script to finish.
What we want to do is then take that completed image with the 3 user accounts (Administrator, User1, User2) and all of our added items and use Clonezilla to save that image. Then use that image as a "master image" from which to burn the other PCs. We were told by someone that Sysprep might work because it would remove all the "unique identifiers" from the image so we could then just use Clonezilla to create our completed image and send it out without worry of it failing Windows Activation. But we just can't seem to figure out the correct Sysprep command(s) we should be using. We don't want the image to boot up with the "Windows Setup" screen where it asks the user to enter their name and then creates an Admin account such as "Eric-PC." We just want our three accounts (including Administrator) to already be there.
Is there a way to do this with Sysprep? Hope that's enough info to go on.

Thank you
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2015   #52
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigredeo View Post
Is there a way to do this with Sysprep?
The simplest way would be to set needed user accounts and automatize the Welcome phase in answer file (see this MS support article), then sysprep the general image with this command:

Code:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:X:\Your_AnswerFile.xml

The above Sysprep command, its switches explained:
  • /generalize = removes all hardware related information like drivers and registry entries, making the image hardware independent. When the image is deployed Windows will install default drivers if hardware specific drivers not available
  • /oobe = when the image is deployed and the PC it was deployed to booted first time, Windows performs a normal first run OOBE / Welcome boot
  • /shutdown = shuts down the reference PC after Sysprep, allowing you to boot with a live OS to capture the image
  • /unattend = location of your answer file, highlighted in above command example as it is the only part of the command you should edit
That's to start with. Please ask if you have any further questions.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2015   #53
bigredeo

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Thanks for the quick reply!

Tried doing this last week with an answer file I created, but ran into a problem with Sysprep also trying to parse an unattend.xml file found in C:\Windows\Panther - my guess is this is the unattend file used by the dept that gives us our original image to use. Is there a way to prevent Sysprep from doing that?

Secondly, we don't want our end users to see that "Welcome" boot. We want them to see the three available accounts - "Administrator"; "User1"; "User2" so they can just login as User1 or User2. Any way to avoid that Welcome screen that makes you change your "Administrator" account to an "Eric-PC" account, for example?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jan 2015   #54
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigredeo View Post
Tried doing this last week with an answer file I created, but ran into a problem with Sysprep also trying to parse an unattend.xml file found in C:\Windows\Panther - my guess is this is the unattend file used by the dept that gives us our original image to use. Is there a way to prevent Sysprep from doing that?
Sorry but without seeing the sysprep logs I cannot tell what went wrong and what could be done to prevent that.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigredeo View Post
Secondly, we don't want our end users to see that "Welcome" boot. We want them to see the three available accounts - "Administrator"; "User1"; "User2" so they can just login as User1 or User2. Any way to avoid that Welcome screen that makes you change your "Administrator" account to an "Eric-PC" account, for example?
Only way to completely bypass the first run boot (OOBE, also called Welcome phase) is to clone / mirror an existing Windows installation and restore it to production computers. This might or might not work as cloning does not make image hardware independent; for that you will need Sysprep which automatically causes the OOBE / Welcome boot to be run.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2015   #55
bigredeo

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Kari -

Running into this problem currently - using your command above with my unattend.xml on a flash drive, after the shutdown, I saved the image via Clonezilla. Then tried to boot up. It went through several different "Setup is checking..." screens and finally came to "Setup is preparing your computer for first use", but then I get "Windows could not complete the installation. To install Windows on this computer, restart the installation." So I can't even get to a point where I can see the sysprep logs - will not boot past this screen. Keeps re-attempting and coming to the same error.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2015   #56
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

That means that Sysprep has failed, most common causes are errors in answer file. To start testing and fine tuning your answer file, I prefer this method:
  1. Install Windows on your reference computer and enter Audit Mode as told in this tutorial steps 2.1 to 2.2.
  2. When in Audit Mode desktop and you can see the Sysprep dialog, select as follows
    • System Cleanup Action: Enter System Audit Mode
    • Shutdown Options: Shutdown
    • Check that Generalize is not selected

      System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows-2015-01-02_20h15_24.png
  3. Now click OK to shut computer down
  4. Create an image. I prefer Macrium for imaging but you can do it with Clonezilla if you are more familiar with it.
  5. Reboot the computer after image is created, it will now boot back to Audit Mode
  6. Create your answer file, modify it when needed.
  7. Sysprep as told earlier.
  8. Again, create an image, then reboot your reference computer to see if it can finalize the installation. If the reference computer boots normally and finalizes the installation the image is ready for deployment. If not, restore the first image you created (step 4 in this list) and try again editing / modifying the answer file.
In the mean time you could post your answer file here, I can go it through to see if there's any obvious errors. If you post it here please replace possible product keys and other sensitive information with XXXX.

Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2015   #57
bigredeo

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Kari -

In all honesty, I took the unattend.xml file that was already in C:\Windows\Panther and edited that for what I thought we might need. I'm thinking this is the file that our other dept normally uses in building the basic system with just Windows 7 and an "administrator" account before handing it off to us. Not being completely clear on all that is needed in said file, it's most likely that I don't need a lot of what's in here. My guess is that I only truly need from about <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" on down. We're looking to have it so that the end users get the PC and it boots up to "Administrator" "User1" and "User2" login options and that they never see the Microsoft Windows Setup screens. I've attached the unattend.xml as a .txt file.


Attached Files
File Type: txt unattend.txt (7.6 KB, 280 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2015   #58
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

That is quite standard answer file, only thing sticking out of it is the autologon of built-in administrator account, but your explanation makes sense, gives reason why it is used.

I would start from scratch. Install, enter Audit Mode, download and install Windows AIK (step 2.3 in this tutorial), make a pot of coffee and start by reading this MS TechNet support article: Walkthrough: Build a Simple Answer File, followed by the video in this TechNet article: Create Answer File, Windows AIK Demo | Deploy Windows 7 | TechNet.

Maybe also see my other more walkthrough like tutorial about sysprep: Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep. At least watch the shorter of two videos in Part 2 in said tutorial to see the procedure in action.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2015   #59
bigredeo

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Thanks - hopefully the videos won't be blocked here!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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