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Windows 7: System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows

08 Jan 2015   #60
bigredeo

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Kari - Finally got sysprep to work, but running into a couple of problems. Here's what I did to make it work - first, I took out the AutoLogon of the unattend.xml file. Burned a PC back to its original image (just the Windows 7 Pro OS with an Administrator account) and ran Sysprep with "Audit Mode", Generalize un-checked, and "Quit".

When it was done, I ran my Powershell Build which added the accounts, apps, printers, all that we need. When it was done, I ran Sysprep with "OOBE", Generalize checked, and "Shutdown". Booted that image up with an ISO key to save it via Clonezilla to a server. When it was done, I booted it back up and it went through all the "Sysprep is starting services..." et al. It then finally came up to the Windows Set-up page. I hit Ctrl+Shift+F3 so it would let me login as Administrator - which worked, except it tried to auto-logon Administrator and failed. Was able to login properly after that. When I logged in the Sysprep GUI was there, which I expected. Hit Cancel on that, then changed the computer name (Sysprep seems to give it some long name with "WIN-" followed by letters/numbers?) back to our needed computer name, which requires a reboot. Did the reboot and goes all the way back through the "Sysprep is starting services..." screens again, which I did not expect. It again tried to Autologin "Administrator", but is either sending the password blank or putting in the wrong password. I press Enter and login again as Administrator. And again the Sysprep GUI is there.

Logged off and it gave me "Administrator" and "Other User" rather than "Administrator" and our two other accounts names, which I'll call "User1" and "User2". I logged in as "User1" under "Other User" and it went through our Setup scripts to create the desktop for the user and configure the system to work for our needs, but when it was done - there was the Sysprep GUI again on the Desktop! And every time I reboot it, it goes through "Sysprep is starting services" as if it's booting up again for the first time.

So my issues are -

  • It tries to Autologin the "Administrator" account.
  • Acts like it's booting up for the first time during every reboot.
  • The Sysprep GUI is on the Desktop every time you try to login to any account.

Aggravating to come this close, but not figure out how to correct these three things. I did burn the image I'd saved onto another computer and was able to activate both with OEM (slmgr.vbs) and it gives them separate Activation IDs and CMIDs, but I noticed that with Group Policy the SIDs were identical on each PC. I thought Sysprep is supposed to remove that information as well, so that when I run Group Policy on each PC, new SIDs are given?

Thank you.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Jan 2015   #61
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

I read your post, first read did not open it for me completely. Give me some time, I'll brew some coffee and read it again with thought .

Back in 5 maybe half an hour so .
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2015   #62
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

OK.

Let's start with what Audit Mode is: it's a special mode of Windows only meant to be used for image customization. The CTRL + SHIFT + F3 key combination when in Welcome Mode (last phase of installation, adding PC name, user and so on) is not to login as administrator but to interrupt Windows installation and enter Audit Mode.

When in Audit Mode, each reboot brings Windows to Audit Mode if the user has not specifically exited it with Sysprep switch OOBE. In other words, selecting Reboot from Start Menu when in Audit Mode will keep Windows in Audit Mode also after the reboot, showing the Sysprep GUI.

You are for some reason in this Audit Mode reboot loop and have not exited it properly. The Sysprep GUI is a clear telltale, it is only shown in desktop after sign in in Audit Mode.

The correct way to do what you are trying to do, as far as I can tell (the example below starts from scratch, installing Windows to your reference computer):
  • Install Windows, enter Audit Mode with CTRL + SHIFT + F3 after the last reboot when installation boots first time to Welcome Mode
  • In Audit Mode, click the Cancel button to close Sysprep GUI, install your stuff, customize Windows as you wish
  • When everything else is clear, create your answer file
  • Sysprep with following command and switches: sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:X:\Your_AnswerFile
  • When computer has shut down after sysprep, boot it with your imaging live CD (CloneZilla, Macrium etc.) and create your image for deployment. NOTICE! Do not boot reference PC from the newly sysprepped HDD before you have created the image!
  • Now test that the image works by booting the reference computer from the sysprepped HDD. If it boots OK, the image created in previous step is OK and can be deployed

About the computer name, seems Sysprep uses default name because answer file does not contain information about preferred computer name. See step 2.4 in this tutorial, find the below screenshot with explanation in said step and set computer name properly:
Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2015   #63
bigredeo

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Thanks again for the quick reply.

I get that about bypassing the Windows Welcome/Setup is used to put me back in Audit Mode, but I don't want that Windows Setup in the first place because I don't want it to create a named account (i.e. Eric-PC) in place of the Administrator account (which is the problem I ran into the first time I tried Sysprep).

I have this section near the very end of my unattend.xml:

<OOBE>
<HideEULAPage>true</HideEULAPage>
<NetworkLocation>Work</NetworkLocation>
<ProtectYourPC>3</ProtectYourPC>
<SkipUserOOBE>true</SkipUserOOBE>
</OOBE>

Shouldn't that "SkipUserOOBE" eliminate my seeing the Windows Welcome?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

08 Jan 2015   #64
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

It can't be totally eliminated. When the sysprepped image is deployed, Windows needs to set itself up before the end user can be signed in.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Apr 2015   #65
Diatomacious

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

I've installed Windows 7 Pro x64 to a virtual machine. Booted into audit mode from the OOBE welcome screen with ctrl+shift+F3 and installed service pack 1 and all windows updates. I then use the system preparation GUI to Boot to OOBE, generalize and shutdown. Reboot into generic WinPE for Windows 7 AIK and capture the drive image with imagex. All seems to go without a hitch and I'm able to restore the system from the created wim file but I cannot create an image catalog of the captured wim with System Image Manager in order to create an answer file for reinstallation. Is this normal for a captured image or am i doing something wrong. My technician and install machines are both x64 so shouldn't be a different architecture problem.

Here is a screen shot of the error


I'm attaching the WSIM log as well... tho not much info in it


Attached Files
File Type: txt Windows System Image Manager Log.txt (1.4 KB, 109 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Apr 2015   #66
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Diatomacious View Post
I've installed Windows 7 Pro x64 to a virtual machine. Booted into audit mode from the OOBE welcome screen with ctrl+shift+F3 and installed service pack 1 and all windows updates. I then use the system preparation GUI to Boot to OOBE, generalize and shutdown. Reboot into generic WinPE for Windows 7 AIK and capture the drive image with imagex. All seems to go without a hitch and I'm able to restore the system from the created wim file but I cannot create an image catalog of the captured wim with System Image Manager in order to create an answer file for reinstallation. Is this normal for a captured image or am i doing something wrong. My technician and install machines are both x64 so shouldn't be a different architecture problem.

Here is a screen shot of the error


I'm attaching the WSIM log as well... tho not much info in it
Hi Diatomacious, welcome to the Seven Forums.

I am not sure I understand you correctly. Why would you need to create another answer file for further installs? The captured image when used on another machine will install Windows exactly as it was prepared by you, with your original answer file. When installation is finalized (OOBE) on your technician machine after you have captured the image you can find your original answer file (unattend.xml) in C:\Windows\Panther folder.

The subsequent installs do not need to be sysprepped.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2015   #67
Diatomacious

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Hi Diatomacious, welcome to the Seven Forums.

I am not sure I understand you correctly. Why would you need to create another answer file for further installs? The captured image when used on another machine will install Windows exactly as it was prepared by you, with your original answer file. When installation is finalized (OOBE) on your technician machine after you have captured the image you can find your original answer file (unattend.xml) in C:\Windows\Panther folder.

The subsequent installs do not need to be sysprepped.
Sorry for the misunderstanding... I should have noted that I did not originally use an answer file for installation. So if I'm to understand correctly I should just use an answer file created from the catalog off the installation disc for installation of the sysprepped image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2015   #68
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

When installing Windows 7, either for one computer only or on a technician computer in order to create a deployment (install) image, let the install run normally until you reach this dialog after the last reboot. press CTRL+SHIFT+F3 to restart in Audit Mode:
Create an answer file using either an exisitng catalog file, or let Windows SIM create it from install.wim file. Notice that if your install media is write protected, for instance a DVD, SIM cannot use the install.wim as it needs both read and write rights to this file. In this case copy the install.wim from INSTALL_MEDIA\Sources folder to desktop, check the properties of the file after it's copid to be sure it is not READ ONLY, and use this copy to create the catalog.

Now create your answer file and use it when sysprepping. If making an image for later use, use the /shutdown switch with sysprep to shut down the PC after the Sysprep has finished, then capture the image. When image is created, you can reboot the computer and it finishes the installation.

To put it very simple, you will not need the answer file anymore. Your technician computer is now sysprepped with your answer file, as is the image you captured for later use. All installs (deployments) using this image will create an identical Windows, set up as you told in your answer file.

You might find more usable information in this tutorial: Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep. It is basically same as this one but goes more in-depth, being a walkthrough guide for the whole process.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2015   #69
xbuenacausa

7x64
 
 

Hello Kari and thank YOU very much for taking the time and sharing your knowledge.

In the section 2.4. Create an Answer File
when it says:

"Browse to your Windows install media (DVD or USB), open the folder Source and select the file install.wim."

I only have an install.esd file...

Seeing the txt that came in the w7 i got i see:

* Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 Multi-8 ESD April 2015

[ RELEASE INFO ]
* File: Win7.X64.MULTi8.Apr2015.iso
* Source: X17-59465
* Size: 3,55GB
* Format: Bootable ISO

[ CONTENTS ]

* Integrated / Pre-installed in Audit Mode:

* .NET Framework 4.5.2
* Internet Explorer 11
* Hotfixes - 2015-04-14

* Setupcomplete / Post-install:

* NDP45-KB3037581
* KB890930
* Defender Updates

* install.wim compressed to recovery format (install.esd)

My goal was to do your tutorial but with the most update version of w7 i found to avoid as much as possible to mess with updates before sysprepping but im really far cause im stuck at the begining of the creation of my answer file !

Thank YOU for YOUR Time !
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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