Sysprep XP SP3 / Copy Administrator Profile

Here is our tutorial on sysprepping a Windows XP SP3 machine. When you sysprep a machine you are basically wanting to clone the settings from that machine to another one. You also want it to copy those changes to each profile, correct?

Sysprep a Windows XP SP3 machine

Well, in order for the sysprep to successfully copy over the administrator profile to the default profile for each user you have to add an extra line to the sysprep.inf file or else it won’t work in Service Pack 3 like it did in Service Pack 2.

Step 1

The first step is to download the Sysprep App which is included in the CAB file for Windows XP Service Pack 3 Deployment Tools.

Step 2

Next go to the PC you are going to be sysprepping and create a folder on the root of the C: drive called sysprep.

Step 3

Next you will need to extract the contents of the file you downloaded in Step #1 to the sysprep folder on the root of the C: drive.

Step 4

Now we are going to run the sysprep Setup Manager. Double click on setupmgr.exe.

Sysprep Setup Manager

Step 5

Click Next and it is going to ask you whether you want to modify an existing Answer File or create a new one. We are wanting to create a new one, so again click next.

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Sysprep - New or Existing Answer File

Step 6

You now have three options: Unattended Setup, Sysprep Setup, or Remote Installation Services (RIS). In this example we are going to select the Sysprep setup option and then click next. (This creates a sysprep.inf file)

Sysprep - Sysprep.inf File

Step 7

Select Windows XP Professional and click next. (This will also work on Windows XP Home, Windows Server 2003 Standard, Web, and Enterprise.)

Sysprep - Windows XP Professional

Step 8

In this step it is asking you if you want to fully automate the installation. That is up to you, either way works fine. In this example I will be using the “No, do not fully automate the installation.”

Sysprep - Fully Automate or Not?

Step 9

Now we are at the configuration page. There is a lot in here so I am not going to go into detail. In fact, you don’t even need to input anything here for the sysprep to just work. However, everything you input in here will save you time and help shape your image.

Sysprep - Configuration Page

Step 10

Once you are all done, you should be at the bottom and selected on “Identification String”; click Finish and it is going to prompt you for a location to create and save the sysprep.inf file. The default location is fine, as it will need to be within that sysprep folder on your C: drive. Once you hit ok you will then need to click “Cancel”. There is no close button.

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Sysprep - Saving the Sysprep.inf File

Step 11

Now you should verify the sysprep.inf file by double clicking on it and opening it up with Notepad.

Sysprep - Verifying the Sysprep.inf File

Step 12

There were a few changes with Windows XP Service Pack 3 and sysprep. The administrator’s profile is no longer copied over to the default profile. You will need to add a line within the sysprep.inf file to regain this important function. Under the InstallFilesPath section add this:


Once done, hit save.

Sysprep - Adding line to sysprep.inf so the administrator profile will copy over to default profile

Step 13

Now you are ready to start the sysprep, reboot, and capture your sysprepped image. Double click on the sysprep.exe and then select the following three options in order: Use Mini-Setup, Shutdown Mode: Reboot, and click Reseal. Make sure you have your media ready to capture your image. If you reboot fully without booting to your capturing software it will ruin the sysprep and you will have to redo the sysprep.

Sysprep - Preparation Tool 2.0

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  • Nate

    We are transitioning to Win 7 Pro later this year, But I still need to transition a couple of our older XP images. This is actually what I was looking for. Thanks alot.

  • Ville


  • Chris

    I recently was given 8 DELL 755’s. All the same specs. I would like to clean them up and resell these on Ebay. Would I need to run sysprep on the machines or can I just make one XP SP3 machine and use a disk cloning software (such as Easeus disk copy) and clone them?

    Kind regards,


  • nick

    One benefit of Sysprep over clone is that a new SSID is generated..
    If you are on a domain (or home ork?) and you simply clone, then ActiveDirectory will complain about identical SSID’s.