Windows Sysprep distributions

The BMC Client Management - Software Distribution allows you to use Windows Sysprep distributions. The System Preparation (Sysprep) tool prepares an installation of Windows for duplication, auditing, and customer delivery.

Duplication, also called imaging, enables you to capture a customized Windows image that you can reuse throughout an organization. Audit mode enables you to add further device drivers or applications to a Windows installation. After you install the additional drivers and applications, you can test the integrity of the Windows installation. Sysprep also enables you to prepare an image to be delivered to a customer. When the customer boots Windows, Windows Welcome starts.

Sysprep must be used only to configure new installations of Windows. You can run Sysprep as many times as required to build and to configure your installation of Windows. However, you can reset Windows activation only up to three times. You must not use Sysprep to reconfigure an existing installation of Windows that has already been deployed. Use Sysprep only to configure new installations of Windows.

If you intend to transfer a Windows image to a different computer, you must run sysprep /generalize , even if the computer has the same hardware configuration. The sysprep /generalize command removes unique information from your Windows installation, which enables you to reuse that image on different computers. The next time you boot the Windows image, the specialized configuration pass runs. During this configuration pass, many components have actions that must be processed when you boot a Windows image on a new computer. Any method of moving a Windows image to a new computer, either through imaging, hard disk duplication, or other method, must be prepared with the sysprep /generalize command. Moving or copying a Windows image to a different computer without running sysprep /generalize is not supported.

Benefits of Sysprep

Sysprep provides the following benefits:

  • Removes system-specific data from Windows. Sysprep can remove all system-specific information from an installed Windows image, including the computer security identifier (SID). The Windows installation can then be captured and installed throughout an organization.
  • Configures Windows to boot to Audit mode. Audit mode enables you to install third-party applications and device drivers, as well as to test the functionality of the computer.
  • Configures Windows to boot to Windows Welcome. Configures a Windows installation to boot to Windows Welcome the next time the computer starts. In general, you configure a system to boot to Windows Welcome immediately before delivering the computer to a customer.
  • Resets Windows Product Activation. Sysprep can reset Windows Product Activation up to three times.

Limitations of Sysprep

Sysprep has the following limitations:

  • You must use only the version of Sysprep that is installed with the Windows image that you intend to configure. Sysprep is installed with every version of Windows and must always be run from the %WINDIR%/system32/sysprep directory. (Windows 7 and later)
  • Sysprep must not be used on upgrade installation types. Run Sysprep only on clean installations.
  • If you plan to use the imagex /apply command to apply a Windows image to a computer, the partition layout on the reference and destination computers must be identical. For example, if you capture a customized Windows image on drive D, you must always deploy that image onto drive D of the destination computer. The following list describes the partition settings that must be identical across the reference and destination computers when you use the imagex /apply command.
    • The partition number where Windows 7 is installed must match the original computer layout.
    • The partition type (primary, extended, or logical) must match the original computer layout.
    • If the partition is set to active on the reference computer, the destination computer must also be set to active.
      In some cases, customized applications that are installed before the Windows image is recaptured might require a consistent drive letter. Some applications store paths that include the drive letter of the system. Uninstallation, servicing, and repair scenarios might not function appropriately if the drive letter of the system does not match the drive letter specified in the application. Deploying customized Windows images to different drive letters is not supported.
      The recommended practice is, if you are installing customized applications, to deploy your Windows image to the same drive letter.
  • The Plug and Play devices on the reference and destination computers, such as modems, sound cards, network adapters, and video cards, do not necessarily have to be from the same manufacturer. However, the drivers for these devices must be included in the installation.
  • If you run Sysprep on an NTFS file system partition that contains encrypted files or folders, the data in those folders becomes completely unreadable and unrecoverable.
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