Sysprep Windows 10 and 11 Machine: Step by Step Guide

With Windows System Preparation Tool (SysPrep), you can create customized Windows 10 or 11 reference images. You can install apps, drivers, and slipstream updates to a Windows installation image. After that, you can deploy your reference Windows image to users’ computers within your company.

In this guide, we’ll show how to use SysPrep to create the ready reference Windows image (we will use Windows 10 22H1 or Windows 11 22H2 builds in this example). You can use this image to deploy Windows on physical or virtual machine (VDI solutions).

What is SysPrep?

Before deploying a Windows image on users’ computers, you need to configure a reference computer. Download the latest Windows build (you can use the Media Creation tool to make Windows installation media) and perform a clean Windows installation on a reference computer or virtual machine. Install the necessary drivers, applications, and configure other Windows settings. The resulting image must be generalized by deleting computer-specific information (SID, GUID, etc.). You can generalize the Windows image with the SysPrep utility.

All the configuration of the operating system before you run Sysprep remains untouched. This includes the installed software, personalization and network settings, installed and pinned Microsoft Store (UWP/Modern) apps on the start screen, File Explorer, and other parameters.

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In Windows 10/11 and Windows Server 2019/2022, the Sysprep.exe utility is located in folder C:\Windows\System32\sysprep.

sysprep

After you installed and configured the reference Windows 10 image in the correct way (with certain installed software, operating system settings, and permissions), you can deploy it to all computers of the company using MDT, WDS, SCCM, or manually (take a look at Deploying Windows 10 with MDT and WDS).

Benefits and Disadvantages of Using Sysprep

Syprep’s benefits:

  • The customized reference Windows 10/11 image allows you to quickly deploy a ready-to-work environment on a user’s computer. You do not need to install drivers, programs, or security updates. Also, no need to configure custom Windows Settings on each computer;
  • You can deploy the Windows image using the answer (unattended.xml) file. After the installation, you do not need to select the various options on the initial Windows Setup screen;
  • At any time, you can extract the image, make changes to it, and update it with the deployment tool.

Disadvantages of Sysprep:

  • The size of the Windows reference image can be significantly larger than the clean Windows 10 or 11 installation ISO image;
  • Periodically you have to update the versions of programs and drivers injected into the reference image, and install the latest security updates;
  • You cannot use the Sysprep tool on domain-joined computers. Sysprep will remove the computer from the AD domain;
  • You can run Sysprep up to 1001 times on a single Windows image. After reaching this limit, you should recreate your Windows image.

How to Create a Windows 10 or 11 Reference Image?

You can create your reference WIM image of Windows 11 or 10 through the following steps:

  1. Perform a clean Windows 10/11 install from the ISO image or installation USB stick, then enter the Audit Mode;
  2. Install apps, drivers, and language packs. Then set the time zone, and configure other personalization settings;
  3. Prepare the operating system environment using the Sysprep utility;
  4. Boot into Windows PE and capture an image using the DISM tool.

Then, the resulting image WIM can be added to the installation disk or deployed using different tools such as MDT, WDS, DISM, or ImageX.

When using Sysprep on modern builds of Windows 11 and Windows 10, you need to ensure that your reference computer or the virtual machine does not have Internet access during the image build and capture process. The fact is that Windows will aggressively update the built-in Windows Store applications if you have Internet access. This may break your Sysprep routine.

In order to disable the automatic updating of Windows store apps:

  1. Unplug the Internet connection (Ethernet) or disable your Wi-Fi adapter;
  2. Run the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) and navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Store;
  3. Enable the policy Automatic Download and Install of updates; sysprep windows 10

If you don’t want to completely block Internet access, set the following ImageState registry parameter:

reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\State" /v ImageState /t REG_SZ /d IMAGE_STATE_GENERALIZE_RESEAL_TO_OOBE /f

And then make changes to file C:\Windows\Setup\State\State.ini

[State]

ImageState=IMAGE_STATE_SPECIALIZE_RESEAL_TO_OOBE

sysprep windows 11

This will stop Sysprep from failing while processing Microsoft Store apps.

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Customizing Windows 11 and 10 in Audit Mode with Sysprep

You need to customize your reference Windows Image in the Audit Mode. You can boot Windows to Audit Mode or OOBE by pressing Shift + Ctrl + F3 on the OOBE (out-of-box experience user experience), or the Windows Welcome screen. You can also enter Audit Mode using Sysprep. To do this, open the Sysprep folder with File Explorer, hold down Shift, right-click on an empty space and select the Open PowerShell windows here or Open in Windows Terminal option.

Then run the command:

C:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe

windows 11 sysprep

In the System Preparation Tool window, select the options:

  • System Cleanup Action: Enter System Audit mode;
  • Shutdown Options: Reboot;
  • Press the OK button.

Sysprep on Windows can be run from the command line with basic options:

sysprep.exe [/oobe | /audit] [/generalize] [/reboot | /shutdown | /quit] [/quiet] [/unattend:answer_file_name]

  • /audit — starts Windows in audit mode. In this mode, you can install additional apps and drivers;
  • /generalize — preparing Windows for image capture. All identifiers, logs, Event Viewer logs, and restore points are removed;
  • /oobe — restarts the Windows in the Welcome screen mode. The Windows Welcome screen allows users to configure Windows operating system, create new accounts, rename the computer, and perform other tasks;
  • /unattend:answer_file_name — allows you to apply the settings from the answer file to Windows during an unattended installation.

windows 10 sysprep

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In our case, Sysprep returns the following error:

System Preparation Tool 3.14

Sysprep was not able to validate your Windows installation. Review the log file at %WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep\Panther\setupact.log for details. After resolving the issue, use Sysprep to validate your installation again.

To find out the reason why Sysprep cannot start on your computer, press Win + R and run the command:

%WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep\Panther\setupact.log

Look for the Error lines in the setupact.log file. In our case, the error looks like this:

2021-11-19 06:12:56, Error SYSPRP Sysprep_Clean_Validate_Opk: Audit mode cannot be turned on if reserved storage is in use. An update or servicing operation may be using reserved storage.; hr = 0x800F0975

2021-11-19 06:12:56, Error SYSPRP ActionPlatform::LaunchModule: Failure occurred while executing ‘Sysprep_Clean_Validate_Opk’ from C:\Windows\System32\spopk.dll; dwRet = 0x975

2021-11-19 06:12:56, Error SYSPRP SysprepSession::Validate: Error in validating actions from C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\ActionFiles\Cleanup.xml; dwRet = 0x975

2021-11-19 06:12:56, Error SYSPRP RunPlatformActions:Failed while validating Sysprep session actions; dwRet = 0x975

2021-11-19 06:12:56, Error [0x0f0070] SYSPRP RunDlls:An error occurred while running registry sysprep DLLs, halting sysprep execution. dwRet = 0x975

2021-11-19 06:12:56, Error [0x0f00d8] SYSPRP WinMain:Hit failure while pre-validate sysprep cleanup internal providers; hr = 0x80070975

windows sysprep

In our case, the reason for the Sysprep error is specified here: “An update or servicing operation may be using reserved storage”. This means you cannot use Sysprep at this time, because your Windows image is locked by some changes. This can be installed updates, installation of Windows features, system programs, antiviruses, etc.

Go to Settings > Windows Updates. As you can see, there are several Pending Updates. Finish installing security updates, restart your computer, and run Sysprep again.

sysprep answer file

Tip. Another error “Sysprep was not able to validate your Windows installation” was covered in this guide.

For other Sysprep errors, you can get detailed information from the log filex. Depending on the stage, Sysprep can write information to one of the directories:

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  • Generalize — %WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep\Panther.
  • Specialize — %WINDIR%\Panther.
  • Windows Unattended installation — %WINDIR%\Panther\UnattendGC.

The computer will automatically restart and boot to Audit Mode. Windows automatically boots and logs in with the built-in administrator account when in Audit Mode. Further, this account will be disabled.

sysprep guide

Windows 11/10 will boot in this mode no matter how many times you reboot your computer until the Sysprep is running.

There is only one visible sign to understand that you’ve entered the Windows Audit Mode desktop — the Sysprep dialog in the middle of the display. Do not close the Sysprep utility window — you will need it at the end of the configuration step. Minimize it.

Configure your Windows reference image in the Audit Mode. We will take a look at several popular steps that sysops configure most often in their reference image.

Step 1: Install OEM Information and Logo

You can set your company branded info in the computer properties windows. In this example, we will configure OEMLogo, Company name, tech support website, and working hours. The easiest way to configure these settings is through the registry. Create a text file oem.reg, and copy the following code into it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OEMInformation]

“Logo”=”C:\\WINDOWS\\oem\\OEMlogo.bmp”

“Manufacturer”=”TheITBros, LLC”

“Model”=”Windows 10 Pro 21H1”

“SupportHours”=”9am to 5pm ET M-F”

“SupportURL”=”https://theitbros.com”

Note. First, create the graphic file C:\WINDOWS\oem\OEMlogo.bmp with your company logo.

To apply the REG file, double-click on it, and accept registry changes. As a result, these settings will be imported into the registry.

how to sysprep windows 11

After rebooting in the System Properties, you can see the following branded info:

sysprep tutorial

Step 2: Install the Drivers and Apps

You can install drivers and third-party programs you would like to see in your Windows 10/11 image.
You can install programs manually, or using the new built-in Windows package manager — WinGet. The WinGet Package Manager is available on current builds of Windows 10 and 11 and allows you to install the required software (about 4000 programs available in WinGet repo).

Let’s say, we want to install Opera, Google Chrome, VLC media player, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, 7Zip, K-Lite Codec Pack Full, and Zoomit using winget. Open the elevated PowerShell prompt and run the command:

winget install --id=7zip.7zip -e && winget install --id=Opera.Opera -e && winget install --id=Google.Chrome -e && winget install --id=VideoLAN.VLC -e && winget install --id=Adobe.Acrobat.Reader.32-bit -e && winget install --id=CodecGuide.K-LiteCodecPack.Full -e && winget install --id=Zoom.Zoom –e

windows 10 sysprep guide

Tip. You can use the WinGet online repository browser (https://winstall.app/) to select the programs you want to install and generate the WinGet installation script.

sysprep windows 10 21h2

Note. Don’t install or update any Microsoft Store apps on a reference computer.

You can also install drivers for all computers and laptops models on which you want to deploy this reference Windows 10/11 image. Download and extract the driver packages to a specific directory. Then search for all *.inf files, and inject all the drivers from the source folder to the Windows image with the PowerShell command:

Get-ChildItem "C:\Drivers\" -Recurse -Filter "*.inf" |

ForEach-Object {PNPUtil.exe /add-driver $_.FullName /install}

If you need to reboot Windows to install the application or update, you can do it. After reboot, the system will return to audit mode.

Note. You can clean up your driver repository from driver duplicates using our script.

Step 3: Disable Telemetry and Data Collection in Windows 10/11

Windows 10 and 11 collect information about the operation of users on the computer. Examples of handwriting and voice samples, location information, error reports, calendar contents — all of these can be sent to Microsoft servers.

If you do not want the OS sending data to Microsoft’s telemetry servers, you can disable the Telemetry and Data Collection services. Run the elevated Command prompt, and execute the following commands:

sc delete DiagTrack

sc delete dmwappushservice

echo ““ > C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-DiagTrack-Listener.etl

REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection" /v AllowTelemetry /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Also, you can disable tracking in Windows 10 and 11 using the DisableWinTracking tool from GitHub.

Step 4: Install Windows Security Update in Audit Mode

Currently, you cannot install Windows updates in the audit mode using the Windows Update section in the Settings panel. The Windows Update checks if the system has completed the OOBE stage. If not, the update won’t be installed.

You can install the security updates from the command prompt using the PSWindowsUpdate Module from PowerShell Gallery. You can install online the PSWindowsUpdate in Windows using the command:

Install-Module -Name PSWindowsUpdate

To download and install all available Windows updates, run the commands:

PowerShell -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -Command Import-Module PSWindowsUpdate;

Install-WindowsUpdate -MicrosoftUpdate -AcceptAll -AutoReboot

That’s all! Available updates will be downloaded from the Windows Update servers and installed automatically.

Step 5: Uninstall Built-in Microsoft Store Apps

Also, you can uninstall built-in Microsoft Store (UWP apps), but it’s really up to you. So, if you don’t want to uninstall built-in apps, just skip this step.

You can remove pre-installed Microsoft Store apps in Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 11 22H2 using the following PowerShell commands:

#AV1 Codec

Get-AppxPackage *AV1VideoExtension* | Remove-AppxPackage

#News app

Get-AppxPackage *BingNews* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Weather

Get-AppxPackage *BingWeather* | Remove-AppxPackage

#PowerShell

Get-AppxPackage *PowerShell* | Remove-AppxPackage

#WebP image support

Get-AppxPackage *WebpImageExtension* | Remove-AppxPackage

#HEIF image support

Get-AppxPackage *HEIFImageExtension* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Windows Terminal

Get-AppxPackage *WindowsTerminal* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Music app

Get-AppxPackage *ZuneMusic* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Movies and TV

Get-AppxPackage *ZuneVideo* | Remove-AppxPackage

#MS Office

Get-AppxPackage *MicrosoftOfficeHub* | Remove-AppxPackage

#People app

Get-AppxPackage *People* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Maps

Get-AppxPackage *WindowsMaps* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Help and tips

Get-AppxPackage *GetHelp* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Voice Recorder

Get-AppxPackage *WindowsSoundRecorder* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Notepad

Get-AppxPackage *WindowsNotepad* | Remove-AppxPackage

#MS Paint

Get-AppxPackage *Paint* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Sticky Notes

Get-AppxPackage *MicrosoftStickyNotes* | Remove-AppxPackage

#PowerAutomate

Get-AppxPackage *PowerAutomateDesktop* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Xbox and related apps

Get-AppxPackage *Xbox* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Feedback Hub

Get-AppxPackage *WindowsFeedbackHub* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Microsoft To-Do

Get-AppxPackage *Todos* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Calculator

Get-AppxPackage *WindowsCalculator* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Alarms and Clocks

Get-AppxPackage *WindowsAlarms* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Teams/Chat

Get-AppxPackage *Teams* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Microsoft Edge

Get-AppxPackage *MicrosoftEdge* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Your Phone

Get-AppxPackage *YourPhone* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Spotify

Get-AppxPackage *SpotifyAB.SpotifyMusic* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Screen & Sketch/Snipping tool

Get-AppxPackage *ScreenSketch* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Solitaire Collection

Get-AppxPackage *MicrosoftSolitaireCollection* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Photos

Get-AppxPackage *Windows.Photos* | Remove-AppxPackage

#OneDrive

Get-AppxPackage *OneDriveSync* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Skype

Get-AppxPackage *SkypeApp* | Remove-AppxPackage

#Xbox Console Companion

Get-AppxPackage *GamingApp* | Remove-AppxPackage

Note. An error may occur during Sysprep (check c:\Windows\Panther\setuperr.log):

Error SYSPRP Package <PackageFullName> was installed for a user, but not provisioned for all users. This package will not function properly in the sysprep image.
Error SYSPRP Failed to remove apps for the current user: 0x80073cf2.

In this case, Sysprep fails after you removing one of the built-in Microsoft Store apps. This is a known Windows 10/11 issue and you can fix it according to the guide.

Generalizing Windows 10/11 Image Using Sysprep

If your computer has a static IP address configured, specify that the address should be obtained automatically (from a DHCP server). You can do that in the network adapter settings.

sysprep windows 10 step by step

Or, you can use the following PowerShell script to automatically get an IP address from a DHCP server:

$IPType = "IPv4"

$adapter = Get-NetAdapter | ? {$_.Status -eq "up"}

$interface = $adapter | Get-NetIPInterface -AddressFamily $IPType

If ($interface.Dhcp -eq "Disabled") {

If (($interface | Get-NetIPConfiguration).Ipv4DefaultGateway) {

$interface | Remove-NetRoute -Confirm:$false

}

$interface | Set-NetIPInterface -DHCP Enabled

$interface | Set-DnsClientServerAddress -ResetServerAddresses

}

Now cleanup your image:

  1. Use the Disk Clean-up tool (cleanmgr.exe) to remove junk and unnecessary files from your computer’s hard disk;
    system preparation tool 3.14
  2. Empty the Recycle Bin;
  3. Delete temporary files and folders (LocalAppData%\temp, C:\Windows\Temp, etc.);
  4. Before running Sysprep, delete all user profiles, except for the Administrator and Default profiles.

After everything is configured, you can run the Sysprep and select the options:

  • System Cleanup Action: Enter System Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE);
  • Shutdown Options: Shutdown;
  • Check the Generalize option.

itbros sysprep

After generalizing the Windows image, it will start from Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) mode and reassign unique SIDs during the first boot.

Using Answer Files with Sysprep for Unattended Windows 10/11 Installation

You can use an answer file together with the System Preparation (Sysprep) tool. It allows configuring unattended Windows Setup settings. This step is optional (used to specify various image deployment options). You can skip this step, and go straight to the step of capturing a Windows image.

The answer file may contain the answer to each question. This must be selected when installing Windows and choosing the initial settings (region, language, product key, keyboard, account, and privacy setting, etc.). Follow the steps during the out-of-box experience (OOBE).

Due to the answer file, the number of installer screens is significantly reduced.

How to Create Windows Answer File Using Windows System Image Manager?

You can create an answer file manually (this is simple XML file). But it’s more convenient to generate the correct answer file using the Windows System Image Manager (SIM) tool. You can do it from the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

Download the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10 or ADK for Windows 11. Use the ADK version for the Windows version you want to deploy.

Run the adksetup.exe file as an administrator. Then select Deployment Tools to install (it includes the latest version of DISM and Windows System Image Manager).

sysprep unattend.xml

You will need install.wim file with the Windows image you want to deploy. You can copy the install.wim file from the sources directory on the installation Windows ISO image. If only the install.esd file is available in the sources directory, you can convert it to the install.wim.

Let’s create an answer unattended file for Windows 10 22H1.

Run the Windows System Image Manager with administrator privileges (C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Deployment Tools\WSIM\imgmgr.exe). Select File > New Answer File.

how to sysprep windows 10

SIM will prompt you to specify a Windows image file for which you want to create an answer file. Specify the path to the before installed install.wim file.

Wait for the SIM to mount the Windows installation image and create the catalog file (.clg). This will take some time, after which the install_Windows 10 Pro.clg file will appear in the directory with the install.wim file.

sysprep step by step

Note. If you try to open the install.wim file of your Windows 10 build using WSIM from an older version of the ADK, you may receive an error message:

Windows SIM was unable to generate a catalog

sysprep win10

In order to fix this error, you need to install the latest ADK and WSIM available for your Windows build.

Select your Windows 10 edition. If there is only one edition of Windows in your install.wim file, it will be selected automatically.

Using WSIM, you can configure various parameters for the answer file. For example, you can configure the Windows product key (if you are using KMS or MAK keys), time zone, organization and owner info, default language and region settings, input locales, etc.

First of all, we need to do the most important thing: to tell Sysprep to copy all our customizations to the default user profile.

To do this, find the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup__neutral in the Windows Image section. Right-click on it and select Add Setting to Pass 4 specialize.

sysprep audit mode

Then, in the Answer File panel, expand section 4 Specialize > amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup__neutral. Set the CopyProfile value to TRUE.

create sysprep answer file

Additionally, you can configure the following options in the Answer file.

Pass 1 Windows PE

Choosing an installation language in WinPE:

Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE

InputLocale: en-US;

SystemLocale: en-US

UILanguage: en-US

UserLocale: en-US

The Windows 10 Product key:

Microsoft-Windows-Setup -> UserData -> ProductKey -> Key = {specify your MAK or GVLK key}

To automatically accept user agreement:

Microsoft-Windows-Setup -> UserData -> AccepptEula = True

Pass 7 oobeSystem

Skip Microsoft account creation screen (MSA):

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup –> OOBE -> HideOnlineAccountScreens = True

Do not ask 3 security questions for your local account:

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup –> OOBE -> ProtectYourPC= 3

Create a local administrator account and set a password for it:

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup –> UserAccounts –> LocalAccounts -> Insert New Local Account

Name: admin

Group: Administrators

sysprep.exe

All empty (blank) answer file parameters must be removed.

To check the settings in answer files, select in Tools > Validate Answer File option. If you configured everything correctly, a message should appear in the Messages console: No warning or errors.

sysprep windows

Save the answer file by choosing File > Save Answer File As > autounattend.xml.

sysprep with answer file

Now you can close WSIM.

Generalize Windows Image Using Answer File

Now you can use your autounattend file to Sysprep your Windows image. Run the elevated command prompt, and execute the following command (replace the path to autounattend.xml with yours):

c:\windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:C:\ps\autounattend.xml

sysprep generalize

Hint. If you want to capture a Windows image running in a virtual machine, you can use the special Sysprep switch /mode:vm:
C:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /mode:vm /shutdown /unattend:C:\ps\autounattend.xml
This mode allows you to generalize the OS for deployment on other VMs. Virtual machine mode only works if you are running Sysprep on a Windows running in a virtual machine. Virtual machine mode generalizes a virtual hard disk (VHD) to be deployed as a VHD within the same virtual machine or hypervisor. The hypervisor and hardware profile must be identical to those on which the image was created.

With the /generalize option the Sysprep will remove unique computer data. This allows you to safely deploy this reference Windows 10 image on another workstation or laptop. After executing the command, the computer will shut down.

Capture Reference Windows 10/11 Using DISM after Generalize

After shutting down your computer, you can capture a customized Windows image using MDT. You can also use other special tools for capturing a Windows image or using DISM. Below we will consider the DISM option.

Note. In previous versions of Windows, the ImageX tool could be used to capture and deploy an image. In the latest Windows 10 and 11 builds, you can do all the things with DISM.

Boot the computer with the Windows reference image into Windows PE. You can do this by booting the computer from the Windows 10/11 installation disc, or recovery disc.

Press Shift + F10 on the first setup screen.

In the command window that opens, type Diskpart command. Use the list vol command to identify the drive letters. In our example, the installed Windows image is located on drive D.

To capture the image, run the command:

dism /capture-image /imagefile:E:\win10referenceimg.wim /capturedir:d:\ /name:"Win10 Pro reference image"

sysprep image

  • /Capturedir — the reference Windows folder.
  • /imagefile — the wim image file that we need to create. Connect an additional disk or USB flash drive to the computer and save the image to it (do not specify the Windows partition here);
  • /Compress — use the /compress:maximum option for best WIM image file reduction (this will increase the image capture time, but save a disk space).

windows 11 sysprep generalize

Hint. You can capture your reference Windows image and immediately save it to a share network folder on your file server (or MDT host). To do this, you need to mount a network drive in WinPE before running the dism /capture-image command:

  1. Initialize network in WinPE and get IP address from DHCP server:
    wpenit
  2. Map a shared network folder using the net use command:
    Net use E: \\192.168.31.20\share

    windows 10 sysprep answer file

  3. Provide user credentials to access shared folder;
  4. Now you capture image over network to a shared folder.

Copy the reference WIM image to the installation drive media (copy and replace file ..\sources\install.wim), or put it into your deployment software (MDT, SCCM).

I enjoy technology and developing websites. Since 2012 I'm running a few of my own websites, and share useful content on gadgets, PC administration and website promotion.
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23 comments

  1. Thanks for a great tutorial –
    Windows 10 version 1607 was the last version I was able to successfully accomplish a Sysprepped image that deployed exactly the way I wanted it to. Since then I have been unsuccessful in even getting windows to prompt the user to enter the COA Product key. With or without an unattend file, with or without entering and activating windows on initial setup, and with and without entering Audit mode on initial setup. I have tried almost every version since 1607 and none of them prompt the user for the COA Product key after running sysprep. Is this a thing, or am I missing some vital information that is not written in any tutorials? can you get it to prompt for the Key after sysprep? how do you do it?
    Thanks! I’ve been struggling with this for years.

      1. Use unattend.xml and for product key put in [key] to use the one from the SLIC bios table, you have to use the KMS setup key for your version for the setup phase and then it will read the key out of the BIOS for the last phase. If you don’t do it this way, it will ask for the key. If you are using different version than what the computer shipped with you have to specify the KMS key to get the correct version. Also, the ei.cfg just have one version.

      2. I’ve been looking for weeks. But I found this:

        @echo off

        if exist c:\prodkey\runonce.txt goto end

        ECHO OutputLineFromLoop >> runonce.txt

        slui.exe 3

        slui.exe

        :END

        I start this from Task Scheduler on first logon, and make shortcut on Desktop if user miss to enter key on firs tun.

  2. in choco install it should be googlechrome, not google-chrome

    But thanks for pointing it out, didn’t even know Chocolatey existed. :-)

    And sadly the OEM info doesn’t seem to work with the newest windows update.

  3. Hi, what is the best way to add the answer file if you already have a install.wim that you want to make unattended?

  4. Awesome job! Congrats! And many thanks!

    Just a stupid Q, though: You mention Windows 11 Version 21H2.

    I upgraded my Windows 10 Pro 21H1 to 21H2 Build 19044.1387.

    Is there a Windows 11 21H2 either?… Or am I missing anything?…

    Again, thanks a lot for such an outstanding W10/11 sysprep guide.

  5. You got all the Windows Update in it + the store bloatware + drivers that were updated + your apps. Mine was 20gb with a Powershell Script that loaded my apps and files that I didtribute on every laptop. Going to go to Chocolatey based on this article.
    Chap Gleason
    Laptops for Missionaries

  6. I’m getting stuck on the last step.
    When I try to run DISM /Capture-Image I get Error 6 The handle is invalid.
    The log shows a few lines of the same error and right before it says The WOF driver encountered a corruption in the compressed file’s Resource Table.
    Any ideas?

    Thank you

  7. Audit mode is compulsory? how to capture image with sysprep just install application run sysprep and capture the image via command prompt after booting from basic iso

  8. I’m hoping someone can help, I’ve been preparing a VM image for weeks using Windows 11 Enterprise 21H2 from the official Media Creation Tool. I’ve been using Virtualbox.

    I have the image sysprepped, shutdown and captured, however, when I boot the VM back up the VM just hangs when coming up. From what I can see, the VM starts and begins its OOBE setup, goes through a Windows black “Getting Ready…” screen for a couple minutes, reboots, and reaches a black “Just a moment…” screen and stays there indefinitely, and never proceeds futher.

    I’ve run over this dozens of times and can’t get the image to boot.
    I’m pretty stuck and I’ve done everything I can find to prepare the system for sysprep.

    Can anyone help please?

    1. I have run into a similar issue. Web Cache can become corrupt when using sysprep to modify the default profile. You need to delete the corrupted files.

      rd /s /q “C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WebCache”
      rd /s /q “C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache”
      del /f /q /a:sh “C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WebCacheLock.dat”

      rd /s /q “C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WebCache”
      rd /s /q “C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache”
      del /f /q /a:sh “C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WebCacheLock.dat”

  9. Thanks, I actually got around this by removing one of my debload scripts carried over from Windows 10.
    That particular script did its best to remove OneDrive in different methods, and removes past default login information.

    It seems that for a fresh install, the script wasn’t necessary and the details on this page are actually working better. Thanks.

  10. Does anyone know if there are updates to this sysprep process to be considered when deploying Windows 11 22H2 which is now released?

    I’ve been using the same process now for 22H2, and found no changes were needed but I’m not sure if I’m missing anything.

  11. Hello Thank you for those Steps !
    i have an issue :once we are in audit mode and after finalizing the customization of windows if i run the sysprep with Generalize its giving issue later on when the users login into the pc the profile loading is very slow average of 7 min .if i run sysprep without Generalize i lose all customization but when user login its work file , so look like generalize make issue with user profiles .do you know alternative solution plz

  12. Hi,

    What’s confusing to me is how is the image supposed to get it’s updates if you shouldn’t update it because it will break sysprep? How would I get the updates installed on the image? That’s my thing because I just want to be able to apply the image to any machine and have very minimal updates. You would think Microsoft would make their product bullet proof that way applying updates wouldn’t break sysprep.

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