575 votedIf you found this information useful, click here to vote! No registration required.

Following on from my popular post regarding Windows 7 deployments using sysprep I needed to find out what the differences were  for Windows 8.  Most of the overall process is the same, however to highlight where it may be different for Windows 8 I have indicated these steps with this: W8

Hint: In most cases throughout this tutorial, file names, script commands and the like are case sensitive.

Table of Contents:
Section 1 : Install Windows 7 and programs
Section 2 : Create an unattend.xml answer file
Section 3 : Create a script to remove the unattend.xml file after deployment
Section 4 : Image before sysprep
Section 5 : Run sysprep and image
Section 6 : Deploy image

Section 1 : Install Windows 8, Applications and Customisations

  1. Install Windows 8 from DVD or USB flash drive
  2. Important: When you arrive at the Welcome Screen (where you are asked to create a username and account) press CTRL+SHIFT+F3 to enter into ‘audit’ mode.  The computer should restart and automatically log you into a temporary built-in administrator account.  Cool ‘ey!
  3. Warning:  After system startup, a sysprep GUI box will appear.  Close this box (DO NOT PRESS ANY BUTTONS as this will activate the sysprep process and you may need to reinstall!).
  4. Now install any Windows Updates and deployment wide programs (such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Flash Player, Java, printer drivers etc). You can restart if required because you will automatically be logged back into this temporary built-in administrator account. You will be stuck in this audit mode until sysprep is run later in the process.
  5. Remember to license and activate any required software (except for Windows as sysprep will undo Windows Activation); this will be remembered and you won’t have to perform it on each the deployed computers individually.
  6. Hint:  Any modifications you make to this user profile will be automatically copied to the local system default user profile.  So if you don’t use roaming profiles, this is a great time to adjust your start menu, desktop wallpaper and icons, and general profile modifications as these settings will apply to all newly created users on the system.  W8 Tiles can be a strange beast when you make your first image.  Read through this Microsoft Support Article regarding problems that can occur from removing tiles – and a resolution on how to uninstall them if you don’t want them in your base image.  To remove all the Apps, you will need to utilise PowerShell:
    Foreach ($x in (Get-AppxProvisionedPackage –Online)){
     Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online –PackageName $x. PackageName
     }
  7. Customise the Windows 8.1 start screen to how you want it to appear for all users, then export the start screen using PowerShell (reference: http://stealthpuppy.com/customizing-the-windows-8-1-start-screen-dont-follow-microsofts-guidance/ Thanks John):
    Export-StartLayout -As BIN -Path DefaultStartScreenLayout.bin -Verbose

    Then import:

    POWERSHELL -NonInteractive -Command Import-StartLayout -LayoutPath .\DefaultStartScreenLayout.bin -MountPath %SystemDrive%\
575 votedIf you found this information useful, click here to vote! No registration required.


Section 2 : Create an unattend.xml answer file

  1. W8: ADK not WSIMHead over to the Microsoft website to download Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8, if you don’t have it already. Why?
  2. W8Install Windows ADK on any compatible system, this doesn’t need to be your base image system (in fact it is better not to, however you can uninstall it after creating your unattend.xml if you like).
  3. Once installed, open the Windows System Image Manager by searching from the [start] menu. ADK looks pretty boring:
    images2
  4. W8You may need to copy the “install.wim” from the Sources folder on your installation media to a writable destination as Windows ADK will need to create the Catalog file, I copied mine to the Desktop.
  5. Under the ‘Windows Image’ heading (bottom left) right click on ‘Select a Windows image or catalog file’, you will be presented with a file open dialogue.  Select this W8install.wim file.
    images
  6. The Windows SIM will generate the compatible catalog file required.
  7. Hint: If you experience errors during the catalog file generation it most likely is that you are running the incorrect bit version of Windows ADK, ensure you are running 64 or 32 bit Windows that matches Windows ADK.  Also try running “dism /cleanup-wim” from the Command Prompt to clean up any previously attached wim files.
  8. In the File menu select to ‘Create a New Answer File’
  9. The overall idea of this utility is to create an unattend.xml file that the sysprep utility can utilise to preset settings during the Windows Setup process of the deployed image.  Items like creating local user accounts, setting the Windows Product Key, setting the locale (language) information, setting network location settings and other items that you are normally presented with when installing Windows 8.  As these settings are most often consistent across all of your deployment, it makes sense to set them automatically.  These next few steps may seem daunting at first, however all we are doing is obtaining possible options from the ‘Windows Image’ that we have loaded from step 4 and importing these options into the answer file, then specifying these settings.
  10. In the ‘Windows Image’ area (bottom left) select ‘amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP_6.2.9200.16384_neutral‘ (amd64 may also be x86 if you installed in 32bit) right-click it and select ‘Add to parse 3 generalize’.  This moves this option into our answer file. Now select this item in the main window, this will show you the possible configuration options in the ‘Properties’ window on the right.  Set ‘SkipRearm’ to 1. Hint: Technically this should overwrite the Windows 8 rearm limit from 3 to unlimited.  Sometimes this hasn’t worked for me, and you could end up with a useless image after 3 sysprep’s.  I will show you later [Section 4] how to ensure to overcome this.
  11. Now you have performed one setting and realised ‘it’s not that bad‘ you should be able follow these steps for the following items:

– amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Deployment_6.2.9200.16384_neutral into parse 4 specialize, right-click on RunSynchronous and add a command, then select ‘RunSynchronousCommand[Order=”1″]’ and in Properties add the following:

Order: 1
path: net user administrator /active:yes
WillReboot: Never

– amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP-UX_6.2.9200.16384_neutral into parse 4 specialize

SkipAutoActivation: false (false will ensure that if you have used a volume license key Windows will automatically activate for you)

– amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_6.2.9200.16384_neutral into parse 4 specialize

Computer Name: Leave blank
CopyProfile: true
Registered Organization: (you must leave this as is in this section)
Registered Owner: Windows User (you must leave this as is in this section)
ShowWindowsLive: false
TimeZone: AUS Eastern Standard Time (Must be spelt exactly according to TimeZone settings here from Microsoft’s website)

– amd64_Microsoft-Windows-International-Core_6.2.9200.16384_neutral into parse 7 oobeSystem

InputLocale: en-au
SystemLocale: en-au
UILanguage: en-au
UserLocale: en-au

– amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_6.2.9200.16384_neutral into parse 7 oobeSystem

RegisteredOrganization: Your Company Name
RegisteredOwner: Your Name
AutoLogon

Enabled: true
LogonCount: 5 (this will automatically log into the following account this number of times after setup so you can easily perform other software activations etc.  Logging out will override this setting.)
Username: administrator

Password: Administrator Password

FirstLogonCommands (right-click and add 2)

SynchronousCommand[Order=”1″]

CommandLine: cscript //b c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX (windows 8 license key)
Order: 1
RequiresUserInput: false

SynchronousCommand[Order=”2″]

CommandLine: cscript //b c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato
Order: 2
RequiresUserInput: false

OOBE

HideEULAPage: true
NetworkLocation: (Home/Work/etc)
ProtectYourPC: 1

UserAccounts

AdministratorPassword: Administrator Password
        On LocalAccounts, right-click and select action: AddListItem (this automatically creates a local Admin account)
LocalAccount[Name=”Administrator”]

Description: Local Administrator
DisplayName: Administrator
Group: Administrators
Name: Administrator

Password: Administrator Password

Important Security Information

Any passwords you have set in the answer file are stored unencrypted.

Ensure you protect this file, especially if you entered a local administrator account password.

575 votedIf you found this information useful, click here to vote! No registration required.


Section 3 : Create a script to remove the unattend.xml file after deployment

  1. On the deployment base image computer open Notepad and enter in the following lines:
    del /Q /F c:\windows\system32\sysprep\unattend.xml
    del /Q /F c:\windows\panther\unattend.xml
  2. These lines of code will delete the unattend.xml file from the computer once the Windows Setup is finished with them (this file is copied into the panther directory during setup hence the two lines)
  3. Save this file to the desktop called SetupComplete.cmd (ensure to change the file type from .txt to all types so the file doesn’t get saved as SetupComplete.cmd.txt)
  4. Now create a folder called Scripts in this directory: C:\Windows\Setup\ and drag this file into it (you may be prompted for Administrator authority).  Hint:  Windows will automatically check for the existence of this file and run it after Windows Setup has completed, feel free to add anything else into this file you think may be helpful at this stage.
575 votedIf you found this information useful, click here to vote! No registration required.

Section 4 : Image before sysprep

  1. This is an optional step, however it is a lot easier down the track to restore an image of your current system to apply updates/modifications to before you run sysprep.  This also ensures that you don’t run into any activation issues (as mentioned earlier Windows 8 has a maximum number of 3 rearms before the image can no longer be sysprepped, rendering your image useless for deployment).
  2. Use your preferred PE boot environment to upload the image to a server (I use DeployStudio as we are a majority Mac school, however it still supports Windows PXE boot and you can share the same Windows image on PCs as well as bootcamp partitions).  Please let me know if you would like a blog post about this section in more detail!
575 votedIf you found this information useful, click here to vote! No registration required.

Section 5 : Run sysprep and image

  1. Ensure your unattend.xml file is in: C:\windows\system32\sysprep
  2. Hold SHIFT and right-click on the sysprep folder and select ‘Open New Command Windows Here’
  3. Input the following command to initiate sysprep loading the unattend.xml file (this is all one line of code):
    sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:c:\windows\system32\sysprep\unattend.xml
  4. Once the computer has finished the sysprep process it will shutdown ready for imaging!
  5. Image the computer.
For further explanation on sysprep and all available switches visit this Microsoft Article.

575 votedIf you found this information useful, click here to vote! No registration required.


Section 6 : Deploy image

  1. Once you have your sysprepped image, deploy it to your clients using your usual imaging process
  2. The computer will restart twice after the image has been applied, installing device drivers and preparing the system for first boot
  3. You should be prompted for a computer name, enter a unique name and continue.  You will notice you will not be prompted for any other information as this has all been supplied from the unattend.xml file
  4. You should then be automatically logged into the Administrator account that was created from the unattend.xml file to enable you to join the computer to Active Directory and run any other post-imaging tasks you may require.
  5. Hint:  It is worth checking on one computer that the unattend.xml file has been deleted as well as any other testing you may wish to perform.
  6. Hint:  If you need to update the base image, restore the pre-sysprep image and follow from Section 5.

I hope you have found this tutorial informational and helpful.  Please don’t hesitate to comment if you have any suggestions/feedback or otherwise.

575 votedIf you found this information useful, click here to vote! No registration required.
Tagged with →  
Share →

58 Responses to The Complete Guide to Preparing a Windows 8 Deployment Image using Audit Mode and Sysprep with an unattend.xml Answer File

  1. Stern says:

    I’ve used this method many times in windows 7 without issue, and understand the process. but for me, the ‘change pc settings’ button does not work when i click on it in audit mode. It doesn’t matter how many times I wipe and reinstall, or if i run all updates etc, the ‘change pc settings’ button does not work. You have any ideas why this might be? Thanks!

  2. Marc says:

    Great article. I’m just wondering if anyone’s verified this with Windows 8? (I saw that the title of the article mentions 8 but the steps always refer to Windows 7). Anyone noticed any differences in the sysprep process between 7 & 8?

  3. Sam says:

    Hi Marc,
    This article is very similar to Windows 7 as the process is very similar, however this article has modifications in it for Windows 8.
    Kind regards,
    Sam.

  4. Michael Jude says:

    Good article. Familiar with the Windows 7 process but right out of the start, I am unable to load the install.wim into Windows System Image manager. I updated and installed to the most current version of the tools. Scratching head :(

    • Michael Jude says:

      Found that I was having issues because it was at the root of C.
      Place it (copying from the DVD-Rom) in the admin profile on the desktop and it asked me to create a file and began to open.

      • Sam says:

        Hi Michael,
        Yes, Section 2 step 4 indicates that it needs to be copied to a writable location, I used the Desktop also.
        Sam.

  5. Stijn says:

    Hi,

    I just got into this before i even googled this but anyhow…
    i created an account, actived the built-in admin then removed my initial account and started to intall all programs and upfates with that account.
    This does not mean I’m in audit-mode but is there a way to copy this admin-profile to the default-one?

    What i also noticed it that you can’t open any apps using this account. But maybe it’s because it’s a local account and not a MS-account?

    Good tutorial buy the way :-)

    Stijn

  6. Dave says:

    Hello,

    Thanks for the detailed HOWTO, however, I’ve followed the steps and after sysprep I am logged on as the local Administrator with metro/Start screen up and all my tiles I added are listed, as well as default tiles. I’ve tried these steps several times and each time I log on as a user, existing or new, the metro/Start screen always loads default tiles in addition to the tiles I modified during Step 1 Section 6.

    As a side note, I had installed AVG 2013 prior to sysprep and after imaging and sysprep I ran into an error that Windows could not load the configuration. After a few hours of troubleshooting I found AVG requires avgprep tool to be run prior to sysprep. Once I performed the required steps I was able to boot, complete OOBE, and log in.

    Thanks,

    Dave

    • Sam says:

      Hi Dave,
      Thanks for the comment. I will add some updated information regarding this, but it may be worth checking out the resolution section of this Microsoft Support article. It describes removing Apps not just from the Sysprep user account (built-in Administrator) but uninstall it completely.
      Please let me know if this was successful for you and I will update the process.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  7. madoui says:

    Great article; it’s nice if microsoft let you write their help files instead of wasting readers time.
    Thank you.

  8. Greg Russom says:

    I would like to take sometime to tell you how helpful this article was for me. It was very useful and went flawlessly.

  9. Jack Nolan says:

    Great article.

    One issue I have is that I can’t use IE for downloading software in this account. If I login as another user, will it auto delete that account? Will any user then be able to use the software I install?

    Thanks.

    • Sam says:

      Hi Jack,
      Yes, as long as the application is installed for All Users it will stay in the image. As Windows 8 is quite different and displays Apps using tiles, I’ve found this customization a little more cumbersome than Windows 7, however once you understand how it operates it gets easier. Check out one of my previous comments to Dave regarding tiles.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  10. Aaron Priest says:

    I ran into an odd issue with sysprep and windows 8 last night. I’ve been doing this for years with Windows 7 and several months with Windows 8. The Steam Powered client (an .msi file) would not install on my laptop, I kept getting Windows Installer errors 2502 and 2503. It would install fine in audit mode, but not after sysprep and creating a new account with administrator rights. Turns out I had to add my user account to have write permissions to C:\Windows\Temp even though the administrators group already had it and my account was a member of that group. What is sysprep on Windows 8 missing with the C:\Windows\Temp folder that was working with Windows 7? Any ideas? I can’t roll out an image to clients before they accept a EULA and create an account this way.

  11. Sigfried says:

    HI!

    Great guide. Just a little confused about the upload part. I’m planning to deploy from an USB stick.
    Is it the complete image I have to copy + unattend.xml or?

    • Sam says:

      Hi,
      I have to admit I have never deployed using USB, I usually use PXE. The unattend.xml file however will be included inside the OS image that you create.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  12. Libby says:

    Some Questions:

    Can I install the ADK on a windows 7 machine?

    Can the ADK be installed on the same machineas the Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows 7 or does it need to be on a different machine? I have the AIK installed on a Windows 7 machine currently.

    And if the ADK replaces the AIK, does one uninstall AIK and install ADK or does the ADK just update and rename the AIK?

    As others before me have stated, this is a very nice resource.

    • Sam says:

      Hi Libby,
      Thank you for your comments! ADK is for Windows 8 and AIK is for Windows 7. Microsoft changed the name however it is a very similar product. It can be on the same machine that you are imaging – however you should uninstall it before creating your image otherwise it will be on every imaged machine.
      If you are using Win 8, I recommend uninstalling AIK and installing ADK. :)
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  13. Grenage says:

    Excellent guide, thank you for writing it; certainly made creating W8+W8.1 images for our WDS server easy.

  14. Sergio says:

    Hi, I’m following your really precious guide to deploy Win8 on a number of PCs: some of them are new Lenovo and therefore have their Product Key recorded into the BIOS; others have to be upgraded from OEM Win7, and we need to use a MAK Product Key provided by our Group.
    The question is: how can I deal with Product key input and Windows activation?
    In the first case, minisetup should be able to get it from BIOS and skip user’s input; in the other, user should be asked to input the provided Product Key.
    How can I prepare a unique unattend.xml file ?
    Thanks in advance,
    Sergio

    • Sam says:

      Hi Sergio,
      You will most likely need to create two separate unattend.xml files and therefore two images and deploy appropriately. In one, you will need to script to obtain the BIOS key and apply it. In the other, simply leave the Windows Key blank in the creation of the unattend.xml and it should be prompted for on first boot.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

    • Chuck says:

      I am deploying 22 Dell computers which have the OS key in the BIOS. I would appreciate any info you can provide regarding the creation of a script to obtain the BIOS key and how to place it in my unattend.xml file. Thanks much.

  15. Matt says:

    Hey, I just wanted to say thank you! Great guide here that includes a lot of info that isn’t very easy to find. All the other guides I have looked at go into a lot of detail about how easy wds is to use and not a lot of detail on how to use it. You did a good job covering deployment from start to finish.

    • Sam says:

      Hi Matt,
      Sorry I haven’t replied earlier. I’ve been a little absent from my blog and I am going to get back into it.
      I wanted to thank you for your positive comment. I am hoping to start a monthly newsletter or podcast and would love for you to check back and follow me. I am always looking for ideas to write/talk on so make sure you send those through too!
      All the best,
      Sam.

  16. Marten says:

    One question I have about this is specific to start screen organization – how do I check and/or modify the items in the start screen? If I go to

    _Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup-/StartTiles I see a good list of start tiles etc but no reference to the actual application that is bound to this or that start tile, nor do I see a way to delete such start tiles.

    Case in point, want to unpin IE, and pin Chrome.

    • Sam says:

      Hi Marten,
      Thanks for your comment. This Microsoft article outlines the processes you can utilise to customise the start screen. Personally, I think the easiest method is to ensure you log in using the Audit Admin account, then customise it, and utilise the CopyProfile declaration in the unattend.xml. I hope this helps you in the right direction.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  17. John Thayer Yates says:

    Great how to article. The only thing missing is how to best customize the Start Screen. Need to Export and Import

    http://stealthpuppy.com/customizing-the-windows-8-1-start-screen-dont-follow-microsofts-guidance/

    This combined with other ideas presented here make for a perfect image!

  18. Ronald says:

    I love this article…
    I’ve read the Windows7 and 8 now, you mention in Section 2 and step 10 to overcome the rearm limitation. I’m not saying it’s not there but I apparently am not sure where you’ve mentioned how to overcome this limitation. Please point it out to me if I’m just not seeing it. thank you!

    Cordially,
    Ronnie
    Gainesville, FL

    • Sam says:

      Hi Ronnie,
      Thanks for the comment. The method I utilise is to image the PC prior to running sysprep. This way, you can restore this pre-sysprepped image at any time and it holds the zero count. Each time I need to update the image I download this one onto a PC then apply updates and changes, image it again as my new pre-sysprepped image then run the sysprep process.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  19. Jules says:

    Hi,
    I just have a question, Can we authenticate the PC on a domain when we’re on the “audit administrator mode” ?

    • Sam says:

      Hi Jules,
      Thanks for your comment. No I wouldn’t recommend this as when a computer is bound to the domain, a Unique Identifier (UID) is created for the computer account in Active Directory. If this same UID is cloned to all of your computers, Active Directory actually won’t be able to tell them apart as this is what it utilises to identify the computers, not the computer name. If you were to do it however, say to test out some group policies or mapped drives etc, I believe that the sys prep process will unbind and remove the domain binding. Although I haven’t tested this. If you do, ensure to remove it from the domain prior to running sys prep and creating your image.
      Hope this helps.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

      • Sam says:

        Hi Jules,
        Just a followup thought. If you are interested in having the PCs join the domain automatically after the image has been applied, look into utilising the SetupComplete.cmd file and either the netdom command for < XP or PowerShell: Create a PowerShell file C:\windows\system32\sysprep\joinDomain.ps1 containing:$domain = "myDomain" $password = "myPassword!" | ConvertTo-SecureString -asPlainText -Force $username = "$domain\myUserAccount" $credential = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($username,$password) Add-Computer -DomainName $domain -Credential $credential

        Reference

        Modify the SetupComplete.cmd file:

        del /Q /F c:\windows\system32\sysprep\unattend.xml
        del /Q /F c:\windows\panther\unattend.xml
        Powershell.exe -executionpolicy remotesigned -File C:\windows\system32\sysprep\joinDomain.ps1
        del /Q /F c:\windows\system32\sysprep\joinDomain.ps1

        Reference

        Don’t forget that last line to delete the PowerShell script after it has been run – as it will have a domain administrators password saved in it!

        And this will need testing, as I’m not entirely sure when this is run. It may run too early (before giving the computer a name) in which case you might need to add it into the built-in administrators startup items…

        Kind regards,
        Sam.

  20. Doug D says:

    Sam,
    I hope you see this comment. I tried to find your information, but this site doesn’t share any of the info it seems.

    Anyway, on section step 2… I tried this and got into the built in administrator account. I thought it was awesome, but the problem is that I couldn’t do Windows updates. I kept getting some error and finally found out with the help of forums, it was because I was in this audit mode. So, I rebuilt the machine and this time I didn’t go into audit mode. I installed all my apps and got all the important Windows updates. Now I would like to get back into this audit mode so I can setup the profile how I would like for it to look for all users. How do I do that… or is it even possible at this point?

    Thanks,
    Doug D.

    • Sam says:

      Hi Doug,
      Unfortunately you cannot enter Audit Mode except with a fresh install.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

      • Doug D says:

        I thought I read somewhere that you can re-enter audit mode by running sysprep /audit. This will force the computer to enter audit mode the next time it reboots. If this is true, I could do that and then setup the profile how I want it to look and then run the sysprep again that points to my unattend.xml file. Does that make sense to you? You certiainly know more about this stuff than I do, so I would like your take on it.

        Thanks again,
        Doug D.

  21. Eric L says:

    Can’t thank you enough for this great guide. I work for Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and we are working on creating a fresh 8.1 image for students. I followed these steps but ran into one issue, after i captured the image and pulled it down onto a machine some of the preferences are not how we left them before sysprep. For instance we changed the desktop background and added some shortcuts to the taskbar and that didnt carry over. The desktop shortcuts and programs did but nothing else. Curious the image we set as the background was not stored locally anywhere on the machine, possibly that is the issue there. Did i perhaps miss a step or a setting somewhere that made the image lose these settings?

    Thank you

  22. Chester T Field says:

    Thanks for this, very handy. Have verified it works on Windows 8.1 Pro (Build 9600). I wasn’t able to run Windows Update (would just search for updates forever) but I installed this PowerShell module:

    http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/2d191bcd-3308-4edd-9de2-88dff796b0bc

    And followed the instructions here:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/80ea7f39-c8f4-4547-940a-f87a1790f4ed/windows-81-wont-get-updates-in-audit-mode

    And it worked like a snake on Christmas!

  23. Jeff says:

    I followed this process but if I login as a non admin user it logs in using a temporary profile. Any idea what causes this?

  24. Jack Nolan says:

    Hi,

    I’m wondering if you can talk about the most common issues when the client won’t boot. Everything worked great but when I bump the image down, Windows says it can’t complete configuration and to restart. When I restart it just says the same thing over and over.

    Thoughts?

    • Sam says:

      Hi Jack,
      When this has occurred to me in the past, it has often been a driver issue. Are you able to attach the hard drive to another computer and inspect the logs?
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  25. Jando Zamora says:

    Hi,

    after i do sysprep generalize, windows get stuck at “finalizing your settings” step. It can stay there for hours, and never pass that step. Could you provide any thought on how to avoid this issue?

    • Sam says:

      Hi Jando,
      Thanks for your comment. Apologies for the delay in my reply.
      Thankfully if you are happy to put in the investigative work, there are some log files which you can inspect.
      generalize is usually found: %WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep\Panther
      specialize is usually found: %WINDIR%\Panther\
      Unattended Windows setup actions is usually found: %WINDIR%\Panther\Unattendgc
      Obviously in order to be able to read these files you need an OS to attach this hard disk to which is failing. You could either run a PXE environment or boot from a live Ubuntu CD – after all it is just a text file on a partition :)
      Kind regards,
      Sam

  26. Scott Frazho says:

    Hello,

    I am running the sysprep command on the computer to generalize it and shut down and I am receiving a fatal error from sysprep. I have verified the script we made and the unattend.xml is in the proper place.

    The sysprep logs show a lot of “Failed to secure driver file” for a bunch of Intel drivers.

    Any advice?

    • Sam says:

      Hi Scott,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I have run into this situation previously and most of the time I found it was to do with graphics drivers. I never looked deep enough to really work out why, but can I suggest you build your image as normal EXCEPT don’t install any better graphics drivers. What you can do as part of the first boot script or through the sys prep itself, inject the drivers AFTER. So you set it all up with scripts or sys prep – run sys prep which injects the drivers after first boot.
      Hope this offers some guidance. If you ended up finding a solution it would be great if you could share it back.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  27. Igor says:

    Thanks, working perfectly on Windows 8 SLO 64 bit…

    Regards, Igor

    • Sam says:

      Hi Igor,
      Excellent its great to know that my guide is still functional. If you do find any changes or have any tips to share, please let us know!
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  28. Robert says:

    Please do a blog post about Image Before Sysprep in more detail. Thanks!

    • Sam says:

      Hi Robert,
      Thank you for your comment. I will make sure it is on my list to get done. Thanks for letting me know as it is the content which is asked for which I get done the quickest.
      Kind regards,
      Sam.

  29. Jay says:

    Hi Sam,

    Great information. I have read of folks having a fatal sysprep error 3.14 due to metro apps. Does your processes resolve that issue?

  30. cm says:

    Hi,
    Isn’t at the the computer name prompt, not the user account, that you should enter audit mode?

  31. Maz says:

    Excellent guide, however I really could not make unattend.xml o work. I am using Server 2008 R2 as WDS and Client image is Win 8.1 Pro.

    The guide really helped me for sysprep but unattend process really is a challenge on Win 8.1 Pro. Anyone successful in using unattend.xml on Win 8,.1 Pro with 2008 R2 (WDS) ? If so please share your xml files here.

    please note for full automation process we need two XML files. One for windows deployment setup and one for customisation of Windows image.

    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/jj648426.aspx
    Performing an unattended installation

    ——————————————————————————–

    Optionally, you can automate the entire installation. To do this, you use two different unattend files: one for the Windows Deployment Services UI screens, and one for the latter phases of Setup.
    • Windows Deployment Services client unattend file. This file uses the Unattend.xml format and is stored on the Windows Deployment Services server in the C:\RemoteInstall\WDSClientUnattend folder. It is used to automate the Windows Deployment Services client user interface screens (such as entering credentials, choosing an install image, and configuring the disk).

    • Image unattend file. This file can use either the Unattend.xml or Sysprep.inf format. It is stored in a subfolder (either $OEM$ structure or \Unattend) in the per-image folder. It is used to automate the remaining phases of setup (for example, offline servicing, Sysprep specialize, and mini-setup).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *