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Windows 7: Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep

26 Aug 2015   #140
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by xcyborg009 View Post
After transferring both the \Users and \ProgramData to D, still a folder \ProgramData remains on C containing two of my programs ie;malwarebytes and microsoft security essentials. Can these be safely deleted?
Hi Xcyborg009, welcome to the Seven Forums.

Do not delete them! You can hide them if you don't want to see them. Some programs are coded using absolute paths instead of environment variables. These leftover folders are needed for those programs but they will always remain really minimal in size.

Read this post in another Seven Forums tutorial for more information: User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

As it happens I just explained this absolute path vs. environment variable at our sister site the Eight Forums an hour or so ago, that post might give you additional information: User Profiles - Relocate to another Partition or Disk - Page 68

Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Aug 2015   #141
Dfb

win 7 professional x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dfb View Post
I,m surely missing something here and after trawling this site i,m hoping you could shed some light.
Hi Dfb, welcome to the Seven Forums.

I think the easiest and fastes solution for you would be to your host computer to download and install Macrium Reflect Free, run it once and follow the on-screen instructions in creating a Macrium boot disk.

That's the method I am currently using, works for 100% sure. Just boot your vm afterwards with the Macrium boot disk and create your image.

Kari
Hi Kari, Apologies for the belated reply, but thank you for the above response. As it turned out i left the pc alone and returned to it 24 hrs later, redone everything again only to notice Macrium WAS in the PE menu. I was thrown by the version icon, ie the one in your tut, my version was totally different and i just didn,t notice.
Anyhow, image created and tested fine. Thanks again, keep up the great work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2015   #142
jameswalters33

Windows 7 32
 
 
Drivers I would like to keep them if possible

Hi there

I have been tasked with imaging x30 laptops all the same model

How would I keep the drivers? also is it possible to make the answer file join a domain?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2015   #143
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jameswalters33 View Post
Hi there

I have been tasked with imaging x30 laptops all the same model

How would I keep the drivers? also is it possible to make the answer file join a domain?
Hi James, welcome to the Seven Forums.

When the /generalize switch is not used, all device drivers will be kept. To keep the drivers when the /generalize switch is used with sysprep you need to use PersistAllDeviceInstalls component in Generalize pass and set its value to TRUE:
Code:
<PersistAllDeviceInstalls>true</PersistAllDeviceInstalls>
Read more: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/...(v=WS.10).aspx

Joining the domain in an answer file, see these two support articles:Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Sep 2015   #144
Clairvaux

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 
Maintenance - About not cleaning the register

Hi Kari,

Maintenance-wise, you said :

Quote:
Windows 7 is extremely good in taking care of itself. A general consensus seems to be that you do not need and should not use any so called optimizers and cleaners. Any modifications in system registry made by these "tools" most probably causes more harm than when registry is left alone.
What is your take on uninstallation ? I have been using Revo Uninstaller Pro for a long time, rather than the Uninstall feature of Windows 7. Preferably in Traced Mode (which records, then undoes the installed software's steps). After running the software's own uninstaller, it offers to search for leftovers in the register, with three options, from the safest to the most agressive. I've always used the most agressive, and Revo has practically always found leftovers not taken care of by the software's own uninstallation process.

Revo then offers to delete selectively whatever it has found (or nothing at all). I've always selected for deletion all top-level items in which the name of the software appears (or a name obviously related to it) -- and most of them are identified as such.

I know some people discourage the use of third-party uninstallers. There is also the issue of software encroaching very deeply into the system, such as anti-virus or imaging software, which some people argue should be better left to their own uninstallers.

I install and uninstall a lot. What do you think ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2015   #145
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Clairvaux View Post
I install and uninstall a lot. What do you think ?
My answer to your question is probably not what you wanted to hear but here we go:

Revo is quite OK, I have heard, not doing any harm per se. I have never used it myself, can't offer an objective opinion.

Removing a few obsolete registry entries does not make you PC boot or work faster, nor do you gain any storage space by removing a bit or two. All other "leftovers", would be interesting to see some real facts and results from an uninstaller user from lets say a period of one year, how many kilobytes storage space was gained always using an uninstaller compared to uninstalling only using Programs and Features. I would be surprised if the space gained exceeded a megabyte or two, altogether, meaning that the storage space you got using an uninstaller was something like 0.8% to 1.5% of a 120 GB HDD and 0.2% to 0.5% of a 500 GB drive. Totally meaningless. In fact, you save multiple times that storage space by not installing the uninstaller.

I have never used any registry editors, uninstallers and especially not these infamous "I do nothing Windows hasn't already done but I want you to buy me" tuning utilities. Word "never" is used here quite freely, I have some recollections using some utilities tool in Windows 98 and older versions sometime end of last millennium.

I never "clean" the registry. I edit it sometimes manually when for instance a feature needs to be turned on or off by changing the value of a certain DWORD, but that's it. I never, and this is literally never, I never use any third party uninstallers. I never "tune" my PC with any tweakers or utilities. In my professional life, the registry cleaners, uninstallers and tuning utilities are the first programs I uninstall when taking care of a customer's computer.

I can summarize the above by using the words you quoted in your post, adding something:

Note   Note
Windows (all versions) is extremely good in taking care of itself. A general consensus seems to be that you do not need and should not use any so called optimizers and cleaners. Any modifications in system registry made by these "tools" most probably cause more harm than when registry is left alone.

I very strongly recommend never to use any cleaners, uninstallers, tweakers and tuning utilities. Already by not installing them you save a lot of more storage space these utilities can ever save for you. None of them makes your PC boot or work faster. A bit or two, a line or dozen smaller registry does not make your PC faster.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2015   #146
Clairvaux

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

Thanks, Kari. I have never felt the urge to use any "optimizers" and I hate tinkering with the registry, but what is the alleged advantage of uninstallers, or C-Cleaner's registry cleaner, for that matter ? If it's only to save space, it's obviously pointless with the size of today's hard disks. If it's speed, it's very doubtful too.

Isn't the perceived, suggested or hoped-for advantage rather to avoid problems ? Such as : leaving something there that could break things ? Indeed, is it possible that a registry leftover would break things, as opposed to (allegedly) just slowing them down ?

I think I decided to buy Revo Uninstaller Pro after having a hell of a time trying to get rid of Acronis True Image, in order to replace it first with Paragon Backup & Recovery, then by Macrium Reflect. Newer versions of Acronis by themselves broke my PC (and many others'), and having more than one imaging software "down there" (or remnants of a badly-working one, plus a well-behaved one) seemed like a very bad idea. I suppose one could still find long threads of people discussing how to try and completely uninstall the very reluctant Acronis, ditto for some anti-virus which even have dedicated uninstall tools some people would recommend you to download to that effect, on top of the "normal", included uninstaller.

There is one definite advantage to Revo Uninstaller : it often finds leftover empty folders after the regular uninstall. Admittedly, empty folders cannot do any harm (can they ?), but, from my point of view, tidiness is an important aspect of general computer safety and robustness. I hate to stumble upon strange folders six months after the fact, and having to wonder : what's this ? is this really needed ? Knowing where you put things and keeping to your own classification rules helps you stay in control.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Sep 2015   #147
Clairvaux

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 
Possible adjustments to this sysprepping plan

Hi Kari,

You've convinced me. I'm going to reinstall by following your tutorial in this thread (and parts of others), but I'd like to tweak it a bit. Here are some questions I have and assumptions I'd like you to challenge.

First, my background :

1. I have a single PC and I'm the sole user, so including the post-OOBE user settings and activation in my zero-day image would be a plus to me.

2. I use Macrium Reflect Professional 5.3, and the Windows PE-based rescue disc made with it. Macrium has already installed the WAIK 3.0 for its own use. I've discovered that I could play right now with the Windows SIM while under normal Windows working mode, which was great fun. I have now generated a tentative answer file.

Redeploying to a different hardware is not my primary concern. If I need to do it some day, I plan to do it with Macrium, which claims to permit that.

My questions :

1. Is it all right to clone the fresh install with Macrium after OOBE, launching the software from within Windows, and not before, as instructed ? I also plan to make a pre-OOBE image with the Macrium rescue disk, just in case. But my main backup would be the former.

2. Is there any reason not to build one's answer file with SIM before reinstall, as I've already done ?

3. Can I skip the described WAIK installation phase while in Audit Mode ? I plan to reinstall Macrium at that point instead, which would, supposedly, install WAIK again for its own use.

As a matter of fact, I tried to install a freshly downloaded version of WAIK under normal Windows working mode, only to be met by an offer to repair the existing installation, and no other option.

4. Where does one have to save the answer file ? In this tutorial : User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation, you saved it to the D: drive (which I also did for my present install, and it worked), but here : System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows, you say it has to be on removable media.

5. I am confused about choices which might be incompatible during sysprepping. For instance, I understand that customizing the Default User Profile requires the Generalize switch, which removes any hardware-specific items. Drivers, for instance.

Since I certainly want to take advantage of a custom User Profile, I understand my drivers need to be installed after OOBE. I also plan to include them in my zero-day image, of course. Any problems doing that ? Can motherboard chipset drivers be upgraded at that stage ? (I don't have RAID.)

But aren't things such as naming the PC and entering the product key also hardware-specific ?

That's what you show here how to do : System Preparation Tool - Use to Customize Windows, and what you included in your answer file there is exactly what I want to do (and maybe a bit more). However, you do use the Generalize switch in that tutorial. Isn't that supposed to wipe out the product key and such ?

I hope I haven't been too long ! Thank you for your attention.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2016   #148
Urthboundmisfit

Win 10 Pro x64, Win 7 Pro x64
 
 
Thanks Kari, great tute!!!

Quote:
Sorry, you cannot give reputation to this post.
Why not?

Thanks Kari, even a relative Sysprep n00b like me was able to understand/execute my first attempt at Audit Mode/Sysprep... +Rep & Kudo's!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2016   #149
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Thanks

BTW, I do not understand the rep quote in your post?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep




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