# Sysprep a Windows 7 Machine – Start to Finish

This is the old version, please see the new Sysprep a Windows 7 Machine – Start to Finish V2.

Note – I highly recommend creating a boot or rescue disk before starting any windows 7 technical projects. There are many tools in the market and I use Spotmau BootSuite rescue software and boot disk utility because of it’s versatile features and top notch performance.

## Windows 7 Sysprep

Last Updated on 10.04.12

This is a step by step guide on Sysprepping a Windows 7 machine from start to finish. I cannot take full credit on this because my first article had so many helpful comments and discussions that this is simply a combination of all the good advice written into a working guide. (I would especially like to thank George for his input on Cscript for auto activation and Nathan for input on Sysprep Audit Mode). This will guide you through the following:

• Audit Mode
• Building the unattend.xml file in WSIM
• copyprofile=true command to copy the default profile (no manual copy)
• Prompt for a computer name
• Administrator account logs in first time automatically
• Activate windows automatically with Cscript;
• Successfully copy over taskbar icons;
• Delete unattend.xml file automatically upon completion of re-image.

Tip. In case you want to sysprep Windows 10, you can use our step-by-step guide.

Here is a list of what you will need:

First we are going to walk through building the unattend.xml file (answer file) and then we will walk through the actual Windows 7 imaging process.

### PART 1 – XML FILE CREATION

#### Step 1

If you have a Windows 7 installation DVD, insert it now. Or if you have an ISO of 7, go ahead and extract it to a folder on your desktop. (I recommend 7-zip).

#### Step 2

Launch Windows System Image Manager. Your start menu should look like the image below:

#### Step 3

Under the “Windows Image” header, right click and select new image.

#### Step 4

You will now want to browse to the .CLG file in your Windows 7 installation (I am using Windows 7 Enterprise x64 in my example). It is located in the sources folder. See Image below. You can select either the .clg file or the install.wim. Both will have the same result.

#### Step 5

Now we need to create a new answer file. Go to the file menu and select “Create New Answer File.” Right after creating one, go ahead and simply go to file menu and select “Save Answer File.” This will give your XML file a name and save location. I chose to name mine unattend.xml. Now you see we have two category folders, Components and Packages. Under the Components folder you see that we have 7 options:

• 1 windowsPE
• 2 offlineServicing
• 3 generalize
• 4 specialize
• 5 auditSystem
• 6 auditUser
• 7 oobeSystem

#### Step 6

These are very important as these are the steps in which the unattend.xml file is sequenced.
The next part is a little confusing. You are going to add components, from under the “Windows Image” section on the bottom left hand side to the passes on your Answer File. To add a component, you can right click on them and select “add to # pass”. There are many different options you can add, but they have to be done in a certain order and pass otherwise your sysprep might fail. I am simply going to use the one I created as the example.

##### 1 windowsPE

Nothing required in my example.

##### 2 offlineServicing

Nothing required in my example.

##### 3 generalize

amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP_6.1.7600.16385_neutral
Set 1 for SkipRearm to allow up to 8 rearms

##### 4 specialize

amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Deployment_6.1.7600.16385_neutral
Order: 1
WillReboot: Never
RunSynchronousCommand[Order=”1″]
RunSynchronous

amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP-UX_6.1.7600.16385_neutral
SkipAutoActivation: true

amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_6.1.7600.16385_neutral
Computer Name: Leave blank (we will deal with this at the end)
CopyProfile: true
Registered Organization: Microsoft (you must leave this in this section)
Registered Owner: AutoBVT (you must leave this in this section)
ShowWindowsLive: false
TimeZone: Pacific Standard Time

(Please view TimeZone settings here -> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749073%28WS.10%29.aspx)

You can delete other sub-header components if you don’t need them.

##### 5 auditSystem

Nothing required in my example.

##### 6 auditUser

Nothing required in my example.

##### 7 oobeSystem

amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core_6.1.7600.16385_neutral

InputLocale: en-us
SystemLocale: en-us
UILanguage: en-us
UserLocale: en-us

amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_6.1.7600.16385_neutral

AutoLogon

Enabled: true
LogonCount: 5
FirstLogonCommands

CommandLine: cscript /b c:windowssystem32slmgr.vbs /ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX (windows 7 license key)
Order 1
RequiresUserInput: false
CommandLine: cscript /b c:windowssystem32slmgr.vbs /ato
Order 2
RequiresUserInput: false

SynchronousCommand[Order=”1″]

SynchronousCommand[Order=”2″]
OOBE
HideEULAPage: true
NetworkLocation: Home
ProtectYourPC: 1
UserAccounts

LocalAccounts

If you have questions, look at my image above to see full layout of components, it should help.

#### Step 8

If you want the sysprep to prompt for a computer name you need to remove a line from your XML file. Open up your XML file you saved with notepad and remove the following line:

### PART 2 – IMAGING PROCESS / RUNNING SYSPREP

#### Step 9

Install Windows 7 (Enterprise) from CD or USB flash drive, when you arrive at the welcome screen and it asks you to create a username, hit ctrl+shift+f3.
This will reboot your machine and put your windows build in ‘audit’ mode.

#### Step 10

On reboot, you’ll automatically be logged in under the built-in Administrator account. A sysprep GUI box will appear, but you can close it and NOW begin to customize your profile.

#### Step 11

Install any software/drivers, make any profile customizations, etc.
If you need to reboot, the computer will boot you back into the Administrator account. You will be stuck in this audit mode until you run sysprep with the /oobe parameter. After doing so, sysprep will delete/clean up the Administrator account, but if you have copyprofile=true in your unattended answer file, it will copy the customized Admin account to the default profile before deleting it.

#### Step 12

On the PC you are going to be running sysprep on, you need to create a folder called scripts in this directory: %WINDIR%Setup. Now you are going to create a CMD file within the %WINDIR%SetupScripts directory. Right click and make a new text file called SetupComplete.txt. Remove the .txt extension and replace that with .cmd. You now have a SetupComplete.cmd file which windows will read the first time it boots up from the sysprep. We need to place a script inside the CMD file. Edit the cmd file with notepad and insert this line: del /Q /F c:windowssystem32sysprepunattend.xml. This script will delete your unattend.xml file after it has been used. The unattend.xml file is also copied to the C:WindowsPanther directory, so you will want to add a second line to the CMD file, del /Q /F c:windowspantherunattend.xml. If you have passwords or cd keys stored in that xml file you don’t have to worry about it being left on the computer.

UPDATE AS OF JUNE 16TH: Read my Taskbar Icons Tutorial before continuing.

#### Step 13

Once you have everything configured correctly, Copy or move your unattend.xml file to : C:windowssystem32sysprep. Now to run sysprep, navigate to that sysprep folder, hold SHIFT and right click and select “Open New Command Windows Here”. Next, input the following commands:

sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:unattend.xml

#### Step 14

Turn the computer back on and boot to WinPE 3.1 environment (USB stick or CD/DVD). You can use my theITBros WinPE3.1 BootLoader to boot up from USB or CD and capture your image. Capture image and save image to network location.
A Dell 960 or GX755 is a good standard for capturing when you want a generic image for use with multiple systems. Might require injecting additional drivers for 3rd party brands, HP, etc. Most should work though right out of the box.

#### Step 15

On reboot, Windows will run out of the box, as the /oobe is intended. As long as you put your cd key into the unattend.xml file, windows will be activated automatically in the background, you will be automatically logged into the administrator account, and the unattend.xml file is deleted. You are now ready to use the computer or join it to the domain. Enjoy!

1. Posted by Long
• Posted by Chris Gralike
• Posted by Christopher Denny
• Posted by James
• Posted by rebel47
• Posted by Eric Hermecz
• Posted by Tim
2. Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Eric Hermecz
3. Posted by John
• Posted by aerilus
4. Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by David
• Posted by Antunes
• Posted by One happy chappy
• Posted by Ben
5. Posted by Jesse
6. Posted by Mike
7. Posted by John
8. Posted by Jay
• Posted by Dennis
• Posted by Shaun
• Posted by Shaun
• Posted by aerilus
9. Posted by Kyle
10. Posted by Bill Swallow
• Posted by NeedHelp
• Posted by NeedHelp
• Posted by Holly
11. Posted by Brian Jackson
12. Posted by Eric
• Posted by George
• Posted by Joe P
• Posted by Joe P
• Posted by rafael serbia
13. Posted by tal-t
14. Posted by Marc DeSilva
• Posted by Eric Z.
15. Posted by Sam
• Posted by Ralph
16. Posted by Pieter
• Posted by Bob O
• Posted by Bob O
• Posted by Bob O
• Posted by Bob O
• Posted by Bob O
17. Posted by Devon
18. Posted by Mike
• Posted by Dash
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Stretch
• Posted by Bryant
19. Posted by Justin
20. Posted by Michael
21. Posted by Juan
22. Posted by Justin
23. Posted by Phil
24. Posted by Wajhi
25. Posted by Patrick
26. Posted by frame45
27. Posted by Chris
28. Posted by David
• Posted by Robret
• Posted by Bob
29. Posted by Dan
30. Posted by Rick
31. Posted by Richard Davis
• Posted by Vaughan
• Posted by Dan C
• Posted by rantyracer
• Posted by Sean Cotter
32. Posted by Daniel
33. Posted by Robert
34. Posted by Gary Wertman
35. Posted by Christopher Denny
36. Posted by user101
37. Posted by Roger
38. Posted by Clifton
39. Posted by Steven Khieu
• Posted by Dash
40. Posted by ndog37
41. Posted by Hank
42. Posted by Thomas
43. Posted by Rick
• Posted by Thomas
• Posted by rick
44. Posted by Joe
45. Posted by James
46. Posted by Funkyman
47. Posted by rantyracer
48. Posted by Calcaterra
49. Posted by Gene
50. Posted by Happy
51. Posted by Luis
• Posted by Luis
• Posted by Brian Jackson
52. Posted by Luis
• Posted by Luis
53. Posted by Luis
• Posted by Luis
54. Posted by Boris
55. Posted by David Henderson
• Posted by Brian Jackson
56. Posted by Mike
• Posted by Mike
57. Posted by Mike
58. Posted by Alex Smith
• Posted by sxewhodey
59. Posted by Babs
60. Posted by ChrisTxHouston
61. Posted by Jonathan
62. Posted by sxewhodey
• Posted by sxewhodey
63. Posted by Khat
64. Posted by Sharon
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Yuri Olinares
65. Posted by Caleb
66. Posted by Joe
67. Posted by Alex 'Freedom' Haines
68. Posted by Justin Time
69. Posted by Antoine
70. Posted by morry davis
71. Posted by Francis Brooks
• Posted by Shane Hale
72. Posted by mrm3th
73. Posted by Joe
74. Posted by Joe
• Posted by mark
75. Posted by londo342
76. Posted by Andy
77. Posted by JP
78. Posted by Michael
79. Posted by Michael
80. Posted by Champ
81. Posted by cthao
82. Posted by JohnA
83. Posted by Anders Jensen
84. Posted by Tom Y
85. Posted by Robert Martel
86. Posted by Ron
87. Posted by mark
88. Posted by Mike
89. Posted by IT Genre
90. Posted by Rich F
91. Posted by Joe Bova
92. Posted by Joe
• Posted by Paul
93. Posted by Danu
94. Posted by Michal
95. Posted by Chris
96. Posted by Bill
97. Posted by Dan
98. Posted by Priit
99. Posted by John
100. Posted by Mike
101. Posted by Tim
• Posted by darkflux
102. Posted by Paul Barrette
103. Posted by Tim
104. Posted by Matt Pickles
105. Posted by Trevor
106. Posted by EricZ
107. Posted by Garvie
108. Posted by Duke
109. Posted by Sean
110. Posted by emin cetinsoy
111. Posted by jessica
112. Posted by T800
113. Posted by Meff
114. Posted by kevin
115. Posted by Mrockwell
116. Posted by Rick
117. Posted by Matt
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Matthew Galiano
• Posted by Matthew Galiano
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Matthew Galiano
• Posted by Matthew Galiano
118. Posted by Darren J Taylor
119. Posted by David Brumbaugh
• Posted by Brian Jackson
120. Posted by Upendra Gandhi
• Posted by darkflux
• Posted by Upendra Gandhi
• Posted by darkflux
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Brian Jackson
121. Posted by darkflux
• Posted by Brian Jackson
122. Posted by PinYoProductions
• Posted by Tommy Meyn
123. Posted by CenterThinker
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by CenterThinker
124. Posted by Franklyn Arnett
• Posted by Fid
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Brian Jackson
• Posted by Sal Monella
125. Posted by Emanuele Missud
• Posted by Alex G
• Posted by Emanuele Missud
• Posted by Alex G
• Posted by Emanuele Missud
• Posted by Alex G
• Posted by Emanuele Missud
126. Posted by Emanuele Missud
127. Posted by Firekeeper
128. Posted by steve
129. Posted by bob
130. Posted by Διονύσης
131. Posted by Tayyib Ahsan
132. Posted by GrizzlTooth
133. Posted by Jonathan Schaumloeffel
134. Posted by Ishmal Jutt