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Windows 7: Using Sysprep in Audit mode to deploy Win 7 multiple computers

09 Jul 2015   #11


I did not realize that using sysprep would delete my activation. Furthermore, came to understand that I am using OEM. In any case, have purhcased keys but downgrading to professional.

I want to try this another way without using audit mode, rather sym links.

1) Install OS on 1 PC.
2) Use either this: Profile Relocator Software by Joseph Cox or
3) Use robo copy software to copy all user folders to second drive: Easy RoboCopy - Software Informer. RoboCopy is a Microsoft command-line tool for copying files and folders., followed by
4) Symlink creator software to make hard link (j): Symlink Creator - Software Informer. With this utility you can use the symlink application Microsoft Windows .
5) Then do all of the SSD, service reduction, and all other "tweaks."
6) Install drivers which are the same for two of the three boards (other drivers done after deployment)
7) Windows update
8) Then install software for all users
9) Then clone disk for deployment on other two MBs which are the same
10)Deploy to other computers
11)Install missing drivers
12)Activate the PCs

Will this work? Would you change the order?
By the way, I made a Win PE USB with Macrea Reflect Free and have to say it works well.
A friend of mine who is a computer guy likes Active lavasoft, something like that.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2015   #12

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


I give up. Totally. I totally give up with you.

I wish you luck in your efforts to do the most simple procedure in the most difficult, time consuming and difficult way ever possible. A procedure never in need of any third party programs, you will use two to be sure it will be as difficult as possible and leave as many possibilities for it to go wrong as possible.

I simply do not not understand why you just won't install the Seven on one computer and boot to Audit Mode with no product key, customize it as you want to, sysprep with a generalize switch to keep the customizations at the same time relocating the Users folder, then get (capture) the image with Macrium Free or any other imaging program, and finally deploy (install) the image on any number of computers, whatever hardware they have.

Good luck. You will need it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2015   #13



I am sorry. I posted this before I realized I just needed to purchase keys.

You are right...simply use audit mode.

I was trying to use the stupid disk that turned out to be an OEM. It had worked fine for a time...but now no.

So, what you say makes sense...simply use audit mode...that is what I will do.

I assume I can do all the things I mentioned...just that I will not leave audit mode until all is done...catch one image...then after cleanup catch another.

Is that correct.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Jul 2015   #14

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Note   Note
The below is how I would do it, how I have always done it, and how I will do it in the future. My advice is everything regarding this kind of procedure is only (I repeat: only!) the successful, effortless and no-issues way I have always done it. Other geeks might disagree and give different advice.

  • Install Seven on a reference computer
  • When installation is finished and the OOBE starts, reboot to Audit Mode
  • In Audit Mode, install your software and customize the desktop
  • Do not install any device drivers
  • Follow the instructions in this tutorial to prepare your image for relocating the Users folder
  • When you have created your answer file, installed the software and customized the desktop, run the following commands in an elevated command prompt:
  • First: net stop wmpnetworksvc (to stop the WMP service which when running causes Sysprep to fail)
  • Then: %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:D:\custom.xml (the D:\custom.xml is the name and path of your answer file)
  • Boot the PC with Macrium Boot Disk or any other third party imaging boot disk
  • Create / capture a system image
  • Deploy / Restore this image to any computer you want to

The above more detailed here.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2015   #15



Thanks again.

What do you think of the Pro version of SSD Tweaker.. course all of this can be done manually. Is there a way to incorporate these and also turning off unnecessary services when you run the answer would be great if everything could be accomplished that way.

BTW, the little app for tweaking services, SMART, Tweak Windows 7 Services with SMART Utility : HomePage, is fantastic. I had been doing this manually. I also found Service Hawk but it is rather pricy at $279 for a 3.12 mg file! Restart Windows Services Automatically - Windows Service Monitoring Software

On a final note, I suspect I will be upgrading to Win 10....question is whether it wil be an upgrade or will we be able to to a clean install as was done with the TP.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2015   #16

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Personally I have never used any tweakers, registry cleaners and such. I simply see no point in getting this and that software to do stuff I can do natively in Windows with a few mouse clicks. I would never even dream to use any such third party tools in customizing my Windows.

Of course Windows 10 can be cleanly installed. The most stupid thing MS could do would be to only allow Windows 10 to be installed on systems with a previous version of Windows. That makes no commercial sense. I have installed each and every build of Windows 10 Technical / Insider Preview clean from the ISO I have made myself from the upgrade ESD file. At the moment I am running the Build 10166 released yesterday, as a clean install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2015   #17



I understand what you are saying. You can't control what the "tweaker" does. I was just surprised to find them while doing research. SMART I found on this Forum. I think as long as you review what it has done by comparing to the list, it saves some just automates the process and might be good for those who are not dealing with PCs all the time.

I mentioned the business about clean installs of win 10 because somewhere, some article I read said something about about windows becoming a subscription service.

What do you think of the 10 TP? Have you rendered an opinon on the 10 Forum yet?

BTW, I noticed that you live in Leipzig. I have a friend I have known since I was a kid who moved there. He just came back recently after his mother died. My grandfather's family were originally from Baden Baden. Hmm. I suspect you might have even heard of him, Hugo Gernsback. I am semi retired from medicine and am presently working on projects to better define and promote his legacy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2015   #18

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2015   #19

Win 10

If I understand your last post, you are no longer using 7 or 8.1 but rather the 10 TP. So, I assume you have loaded all of your programs etc.

I am asking because I am wondering if I am going through all this trouble with Win 7 for nothing. Should I just sysprep the TP (if that can be done) and run it with the key provided.

How will you convert the TP to a licensed version? I think the TP will function until October if I recall?

Also, how are you doing clean installs everytime a new build comes out?

Again, maybe I am making a mistake still fooling around with 7. I have had some experience with 8.1 helping friends...essentiall to make 8.1 look like 7 with the various tweeks available...start menu etc. (I really don't like 8.1 at all. It was hard enough for me to jumpt from XP to 7 which I did only about a year ago!) I mean if there is someway for me to sysprep the TP with the programs I use, deploy to 3 computers, update the builds, then convert to licensed copies on the 29th...then perhaps I should do that. I have the TP running on a PC that I do not really use and have not kept up with the builds.

Any advice you have is really, really appreciated...

I am not a computer person by trade, as you now know. (I never would have thought that I would have to become an IT person just to keep the PCs runnng correctly

Also, are you using vmare or vbox...or now just hyper v? Win 10 within Win 10 or linux... I ask because my wife watches news from other countries...or who knows what she does...but she gets malware despite all best virtualization solution for win 10
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2015   #20


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Could you please explain your work flow, what you are doing and want to achieve a bit more detailed? What do you mean with being forced to move Users back to C:, that you cannot keep it as it is?

The Sysprep, to relocate the Users or to modify anything else should of course be the absolutely last thing to do after all customizations and such have been done.

You have been kind enough to advise me. Let me tell you what I have done so far because I don't want to make a mistake:

ultimately, my goal is to deploy Win 7 to three PCs with same MB.
One is for my wife who I need to protect from malware from watching news on all sorts of alternative sites. I have used malwarebytes, supermalwarebytes, and Norton av, and Open DNS...she still get stuff.
So, plan is to give her a browser in virtual pc...maybe win 7 maybe ubantu/wine....not sure.

-installed Win 7 Professional and booted into Audit
-there are two drives 1) SSD 120 gb 2)HDD 1 tb SSD is C: os 80 GB and d: has rest of ssd VBox the HDD is e: data

-I have done all the "tweak's" cutting back services, etc. and working on the desktop, etc.
-did install lan driver so I could do updates
(Should I turn off indexing for all disks, even the second data disk...or only ssd)
-Have not yet installed software...plan to but in Office 2007. Paperport 14, malwarebytes, supermalwarebytes...and few others.
(we don't like explorer..she likes firefox which I think too resource intensive....I like google for its integration...yet to try Vivaldi.

From tutorial...I think I can install software in audit prior to moving users that right

Meanwhile, I am working with AIK (on a different computer but with the same image I plan to use on the computer I am tweaking/installing programs) to write the script. This is where I am. Do I have to install AIK on the computer that I am "tweaking" so that I can get those tweaks to be part of the image...not clear.

Questions: Do I install Vbox on the d: partition or on c:\ with the virtual os on d:\
How do I keep any files generated in vbox...virtual pc from getting written on c....but moved to second HDD e?

Also, do you turn off anything in event logging or in task scheduler?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Using Sysprep in Audit mode to deploy Win 7 multiple computers

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