microsoft-security-essentials

Sysprep Windows 7 – Third Party Anti-Virus


I have run into about 20-30 people over the last couple weeks that were having trouble sysprepping and they all narrowed it down to the same thing; their anti-virus application. It seems that the Sysprep tool is sometimes not working with a lot of the 3rd party anti-virus applications.

Sysprep sometimes not working with 3rd party anti-virus apps

Anti-Virus Applications with Known Issues

  • Norton 2009
  • McAfee
  • AVG
  • Avira
  • ESET NOD32 4.0 (User reported issues)

Anti-Virus Applications 100% Compatible with Sysprep

And yes, you probably noticed that both applications are made by Microsoft, go figure. If anyone notices any other anti-virus programs that are causing issues with sysprep please comment on here. Or if you have workaround for these anti-virus apps and sysprep working together please comment.

Tip from Erwin below

“If you get the error, boot with shift+F10 and add the parameter /SAFEBOOT:MINIMAL”


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  • Michael

    Figured out how to solve the ESET issue.

    I first tried to install KB981542 hotfix, but it says my system didn’t need it. I started with a Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64 source so it was probably already included.

    Then I tried to delete the registry keys (out of a mix of frustration/desperation) from my pre-sysprep image to see if maybe ESET would rebuild them when sysprep was done…, but I was given a message saying that there was an error, then it hit me… SELF-DEFENSE!

    ESET blocks changes to its registry keys just in case malware tries to disable it by deleting its keys. This disallows sysprep access from these keys during the first-time bootup after you have restored an image on a new machine.

    ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS: Disable Self-Defense in ESET by enabling Advanced Mode, going into Setup -> Advanced Setup, uncheck the Self-Defense box, restart the computer, and then do your sysprep/generalizing/oobe.

    This works for ESET, but there must be some sort of defense mechanism that other AVs employ for their registry keys. Disable them prior to sysprepping and you can enable them afterwards.

    ADDENDUM: You may leave the Self-Defense on in all other accounts (even if you have a User account that you copy to Default) except for the Administrator account that you use when u do the sysprep process. That way, when you restore and create the user account in OOBE, Self-Defense is already active there and all other subsequent created user accounts.

    I’m now looking at a restored, syspreped image that went all the way to the desktop without issue after employing this fix.

    I like giving back… Cheers!

    • grol

      Thank you so much Michael. Disabling Self-Defense worked for me. πŸ™‚

    • Ariel Sagaut

      Michael, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS, Disabling Self-Defense worked for me, Tranks!!!!! again

    • Anhhuydd

      Posted by Michael March 13, 2011

      Figured out how to solve the ESET issue.

      “ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS: Disable Self-Defense in ESET by enabling Advanced Mode, going into Setup -> Advanced Setup, uncheck the Self-Defense box, restart the computer, and then do your sysprep/generalizing/oobe. ”

      Thank you very much!

  • I appreciate you leaving that feedback, and I’m sure others will too. I have edited the post above to see your comment below.

  • Dan

    Michael – THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Johan Isaksson

    Michael – I stand next in line to thank you for that. Have been struggling with this image for like one full week. Now it is solved!!! Thanks again!

  • Cesar

    Michael, thank you oh so very much. You have saved me soooo much future time. My (virtual) hat is off to you.

  • aanais

    je ne trouve pas la case a decocher !!!!

  • Valentin Semashkin

    If Kaspersky Anti-Virus is installed on your computer, then in some cases after launching System Preparation Tool (Sysprep) with the values sysprep /oobe /generalise /reboot and your computer reboot, the error may appear on the screen.
    In order to eliminate the problem, disable your Kaspersky Anti-Virus Self-Defense before launching System Preparation Tool (Sysprep).

    Source : http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208287016

  • If you get the error, boot with shift+F10 and add the parameter /SAFEBOOT:MINIMAL . Your install will continue fine. It took me a while to figure it out, so I thought I could be useful mentioning this workaround.

    • Thank you for sharing this! I will add this as a note above.

  • Tsogoo D

    Hello everyone, writing from Mongolia.

    I successfully syspreped WinXP 32 SP3, Win7 SP1 32, 64. Thank you Brain Jackson and others. You are my savior. I install Comodo Internet Security 6 on my all images. No problem. But you must UN CHECK “Enable enhanced protection mode” in Defense+ -> HIPS behavior. THANK YOU ALL, You all helped me so much. Eternal Blue Heaven bless you all.

    • Glad you got it working! Always a great feeling once you have finished a successful sysprep.

  • Dhilip Anand

    Hooray…!!! Worked like charm by disabling AVG Self Protetion

  • M H. ALI

    There is no need to disable the Self-Defence protection if you are using ESET Anti-Virus whilst Syspreping. There is an option at the ESET Advanced Setup location where you are able to configure rules to allow the MDT Toolkit Workbench on the imaging server to make changes to the registery whilst having the Self-Defence enabled. This is the safest option and the best one for anyone using ESET.