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Last Updated December 10, 2003

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Windows 2000 System Preparation (Sysprep) Utility

Sysprep is a small utility that prepares a system on a hard disk for duplication (or cloning) and customization. It does not perform the actual duplication of the master image onto target machines (third-party utilities are required for this purpose), but ensures that the security identifiers (SIDs) are unique for each target system. Sysprep also invokes a Mini-Setup Wizard, which can be used to customize duplicated images with computer-specific information such as user name, computer name, time zone, and domain membership. Sysprep is included on the Windows 2000 operating system CD in the \Support\Tools\Deploy.cab folder.
Where to Start...
Automating Windows 2000 Deployments with Sysprep
This document discusses how to use Sysprep©a simple utility that prepares a system on a hard disk for duplication and customization?in the rapid deployment of the Windows 2000 operating system on many computers with compatible configurations. 

Cloning Windows 2000 and Using Sysprep
Microsoft Support WebCast teaches you the proper procedures for the use of Sysprep on cloned installations of Windows 2000. You can use this presentation to guide your way to a successful deployment of Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server throughout your organization.

Microsoft Stops Cloning Around 
A quick look at the support Microsoft has added to W2K to alleviate past problems with disk cloning suffered by NT4 admins, including an introduction to the System Preparation Tool. Source: BrainBuzz.com

Windows 2000 System Preparation Tool, Version 1.1 
The Windows 2000 System Preparation Tool (Sysprep) Version 1.1 enables administrators to prepare Windows 2000 System Images as part of an automated deployment. Sysprep 1.1 is an update to Sysprep 1.0 and adds the ability to reduce the number of images required in a deployment by supporting multiple mass storage controllers.

Using Sysprep
Best Practices for Using Sysprep with NTFS Volumes 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 240126 - You can use the System Preparation tool (Sysprep) for Windows 2000 to prepare a working Windows 2000 installation to be cloned. After you run Sysprep, you can use third-party disk-duplication software to create and apply the images. Depending on the third-party software you use to create and apply the images, you may be able to shrink or increase the disk image to fit the size of the target disk. For example, the image may have been created using a 12-GB disk but be applied to an 8-GB disk.

How to Add Customized User Settings When You Run Sysprep
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 291586 - This article describes how to add customized user settings when you run the Sysprep utility (Sysprep.exe).

How to Clear the Paging File When You Use the Sysprep Tool Prior to Imaging Windows 2000 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 295919 - This article describes how to automate the removal of a paging file by using the Microsoft System Preparation (Sysprep) tool prior to imaging Windows 2000 (to reduce the time to copy an image or reduce its total size).

How to Disable Mini-Setup Wizard on a Computer on Which You Used Sysprep 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 287506 - After you run either the Sysprep (Sysprep.exe) or Riprep (Riprep.exe) utility on a host computer to prepare it for cloning, you may want to undo the changes that Sysprep made to the host computer's registry so that the Mini-Setup Wizard does not run when you restart the computer, thereby returning the host computer to its original state prior to the use of the Sysprep or Riprep utilities. 

How to Use Cmdlines.txt File During Sysprep.exe Setup Wizard 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 238955 - This article describes how to include a Cmdlines.txt file to run commands when you are running the mini-Setup portion of Sysprep.exe. These commands can include tools to gather information, install programs, or make changes to the system. 

How to Use the System Preparation Tool to Prepare Computers for Shipping 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 251241 -
When you run the Microsoft Windows 2000 System Preparation (Sysprep.exe) tool in audit mode, after the computer completes a mini-setup and returns for the end user first boot, you might see one or more windows open on the desktop and the Sysprep folder now resides on one of your hard disk drives

HOW TO: Use the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep.exe) to Perform Disk Duplication
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 298491 - This step-by-step article describes how to use the System Preparation tool (Sysprep.exe) to perform disk duplication. You can use the cloning process to use an image of a Windows 2000 installation with its installed programs and data, for mass deployment of exactly the same installations throughout your organization. One problem from duplicating an installation of Windows 2000 is that each cloned computer has the same security identifier (SID) and computer name. This may prevent the cloned computers from functioning correctly in a workgroup or a domain. To work around this problem, administrators use the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep.exe) to remove configuration settings that are unique to the computer such as the computer name and SID. The resulting image can then be safely reused for installation on other computers..

Limited Custom Settings in Setup Manager When Creating an Answer File for a Sysprep Installation  
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 260375 - When you use Setup Manager to create an answer file to use with a Sysprep installation, only one additional option under Custom Settings for Network Settings is available. 

PRB: How to Use the System Preparation Tool to Prepare Computers for Shipping  
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 251241 - When you run the Microsoft Windows 2000 System Preparation (Sysprep.exe) tool in audit mode, after the computer completes a mini-setup and returns for the end user first boot, you might see one or more windows open on the desktop and the Sysprep folder now resides on one of your hard disk drives. 

System Preparation Tool (Sysprep) Script File Keys 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 196667 - When you use the Microsoft System Preparation (Sysprep) tool, a wizard runs the next time the computer is started after the tool prepares the computer and copies an image to the computer. You can automate this process by creating a script 

User Rights Required to Run the Sysprep.exe Program
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 270032 - When you attempt to run Sysprep.exe version 1.0 or 1.1, you may receive the following message You must be an Administrator to run this application even though you are logged on as Administrator. 

Using the System Preparation Tool on Dissimilar Computers 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 216915 The System Preparation tool (Sysprep) for Windows 2000 is used to duplicate fully installed versions of Windows 2000. In most of the cases, the computers are identical. However, there may be cases in which the target computers are not identical to the computer from which the image was created.

Windows 2000 System Preparation Tool and Answer File Usage 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 216937 - Windows 2000 System Preparation (Sysprep.exe) tool and answer file usage is different from Microsoft Windows NT 4.0. In addition, the answer file name and location where it needs to reside for Setup is changed. 

System Preparation Tool and Answer File Usage 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 314460 - The Windows XP System Preparation file (Sysprep.exe), the Riprep tool, and answer file functionality are different from those same elements in Microsoft Windows NT 4.0. Additionally, the name and location of the answer file have been changed 

Troubleshooting
An Error Message May Be Displayed When You Use the Sysprep 1.1 Tool on a Computer with McAfee VirusScan Software 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 298554 - After you run the Microsoft System Preparation (Sysprep) tool on computers that have Network Associates McAfee VirusScan version 4.5 or 4.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) installed, you may receive the following error message when you attempt to access the VirusScan console (Avconsol.exe): You do not have sufficient rights to perform this task. Please make sure that you have Local Administrator rights on this computer before attempting this task again. Also, if you select the "Maximum Security" method during the McAfee software installation process, or you install the McAfee software before or after you run the Sysprep tool, you may receive the same error message. 

Computer Does Not Join a Domain During Mini-Setup 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 328609 - If you try to join a computer to a domain during the mini-Setup portion of Sysprep, you may receive the following error message: You have entered an invalid password. Would you like to proceed for now and try joining a domain later? The computer may successfully join the domain after the computer restarts and completes the mini-Setup process. 

Computer May Hang After Using Sysprep on ACPI-Enabled Computer 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 259144 - After you run Sysprep to build a master copy of a hard disk, the computer may stop responding (hang) with a blank desktop on an Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) enabled computer. 

Duplicate Computer Names Are Created When Sysprep.exe Generates Random Computer Names Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 317606 - When you deploy an image on your network computers, the computer names that are generated by Sysprep.exe may be duplicated. If this occurs, you may receive an error message that indicates that duplicate computer names exist on your network. 

FAT32 to NTFS File System Conversion Does Not Work When Using Sysprep
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 259303 - When you attempt to convert a partition from FAT32 file system to NTFS file system during a Sysprep cloning operation, the conversion may be unsuccessful. Depending on the method you use to attempt the conversion, there is either no error message. 

Installation of Drivers from a Removable Location May Not Work with a Sysprep Image
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 304974 - When the Mini-Setup program attempts to verify a driver that is embedded in a Microsoft System Preparation (Sysprep) image, the program prompts the user for the driver, unless the original driver is still in the original installation location 

Network Adapter Configuration Remains After Running Sysprep
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 256620 - When you remove a network adapter from a computer, the configuration information for the adapter remains stored in the registry in case you reinstall the adapter in the computer. 

SIDWalker Cannot Handle Wide Character Folder (Object) Name
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 269685 - The SIDWalker utilities cannot handle wide character (for example, Japanese) named folders. 

Statically-Entered TCP/IP Settings Are Not Present After Sysprep 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 271369 - After you run the System Preparation tool (Sysprep.exe) mini-Setup Wizard, TCP/IP settings that were statically entered, such as DNS server settings, may be lost. Also, the computer configuration settings may return to obtaining an IP address 

Sysprep Does Not Change ACLs on Registry Keys 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 251042 - When you clone a system by using the System Preparation tool (Sysprep.exe), Access Control Lists (ACLs) applied to registry keys are not changed during the mini-Setup wizard. When you view the permissions on keys on which the ACLs were modified, you may receive an "Account unknown" error message or the old Security ID may be displayed 

Sysprep.exe Installation with Server Appliance Kit Does Not Work 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 320086 - A custom installation that is created by using the Server Appliance Kit and Sysprep.exe may not work correctly. After you run Sysprep.exe, an "Account Unknown" error message may be generated during logon. 

Sysprep.inf File Is Not Read from the Disk When You Use the Mini-Setup Wizard 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 288326 - When you use the Sysprep utility (Sysprep.exe) to deploy Windows 2000 computers, you can supply the Sysprep.inf file by inserting a disk into the disk drive, and restarting the computer. When you restart the computer, the Mini-Setup Wizard starts. However, in some cases, the Sysprep.inf file cannot be read from the disk that is used when the Mini-Setup Wizard is started. 

Sysprep.exe May Re-Enable the Encrypting File System 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 294844 - When you disable Encrypting File System (EFS - on a Windows 2000-based computer, EFS may become re-enabled. 

Sysprep Mini-Setup Wizard Repeats in a Continuous Loop 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 277835 - If you run Sysprep 1.1 on a Compaq Proliant DL380 computer, when you restart the computer after the Mini-Setup Wizard finishes, the Mini-Setup Wizard starts again. This process repeats in a constant loop. 

Sysprep "-pnp" Switch May Not Install Non-Native Signed Drivers 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 260319 - If there is a device (such as a network adapter, video adapter, or audio card) that is installed during the original installation (that is, during the building of the image), Windows seems to retain the .inf file that is used to install the device. Typically, this is the native driver/.inf file. Using the Sysprep tool on the image does not seem to clear out the information as it is supposed to. When you attempt the installation of an updated driver (signed or test-signed) by using the OEMPnPDriversPath entry in the Sysprep.inf file, Windows defaults to the original .inf file that it used to install the device the first time. 

Sysprep Resets Custom Connectoid Names in My Network Places  
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 244836 - When you use the System Preparation tool (Sysprep), any custom connectoid names you created on the master images are reset to their default names when the image is applied to the target computers.

The Computer May Stop Responding During the Shutdown Process When You Use the Sysprep Tool
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 288977 - When you use the Microsoft System Preparation (Sysprep) tool to create a disk image, the computer may stop responding during the shutdown process. 

The Microsoft Systems Preparation Tool May Reset the Computer Back to Its Default Regional Settings 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 284962 - When you create an image with the Microsoft System Preparation (Sysprep) tool, you can use an English-based (United States) version of Windows 2000 to build a master image and you can add support for additional languages as well as change the default language setting to another language by using the Regional Settings tool in Control Panel. However, after you run the Sysprep tool and copy the image to a target computer, the language settings on your computer may have been set back to their default settings.

The Sysprep.exe Tool May Reduce the Maximum Registry Size (Q299688) 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article If you use the Sysprep.exe tool version 1.1 to deploy Windows 2000, the maximum registry size limit may be reduced by 10 megabytes (MB) after the mini-Setup wizard finishes. To view this value, click Start , point to Settings , click Control Panel , double-click System , click the Advanced tab, click Performance Options , click Virtual Memory , and then click Change. 

Unable to Access Encrypted Files After Using Sysprep.exe 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 288348 - If you encrypted files on a Windows 2000-based computer by using Encrypting File System (EFS), you may lose the ability to access or decrypt these files if you run the System Preparation tool (Sysprep.exe) on the computer. 

Unsigned Drivers Not Installed During Sysprep Mini-Wizard Without "-pnp" Switch 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 256204 -
The Sysprep mini-wizard automatically installs any PCI/PC Card device as long as the following criteria are met: 

Using Sysprep May Result in "Stop 0x7b (Inaccessible Boot Device)" on Some Computers 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 257813 - When you use Sysprep (including versions 1.0, 1.1, and later versions) to create images for computers, some computers may generate a "Stop 0x7b" error message upon reboot after the mini-Setup wizard finishes. 

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