How to Install, configure and applying Sysprep to clone a hard drive – Windows
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2. Sysprep.exe and Setupcl.exe (v1.1) are also on the Win2000 SP2 CD under \SUPPORT\TOOLS in the Deploy.cab file. Open the Deploy.cab file and extract Sysprep.exe and Setupcl.exe. Even if you have installed SP2, you will not have these files on your computer unless they existed in winnt\system32 before installing SP2.
3. Sysprep is made up of 3 files: Sysprep.exe, Setupcl.exe and Sysprep.inf.
Sysprep.exe is the program that prepares your PC for cloning (or disk imaging), Setupcl.exe is the mini-setup wizard, and Sysprep.inf contains configuration settings used when a newly imaged PC is first started.
For a lengthy discourse on what Sysprep does see the documentation that comes with the Sysprep 1.1 download (Sysprep.doc).
4. Start out by installing your OS on your Master build computer. Logon to the PC as an Administrator (WinNT, Win2000) install any service packs and updates. Then create a temporary user account say, TestPC, and add it to the Administrators group. Logoff Administrator, and logon as TestPC. Install any applications that you will need. Configure the apps, desktop, Windows Explorer, and anything else you would normally install/configure for your PC.
5. At the root of your drive that has the Winnt folder, create a directory called Sysprep. It has to use this name. In that directory copy the sysprep.exe, setupcl.exe and sysprep.inf if you have one. So you would have c:\sysprep with the above files in it.
Note: You can also place the sysprep files on a floppy disk instead of the hard drive, and then insert the floppy in the destination computer during boot up.
6. Also, since Sysprep enumerates (or rediscovers) hardware the first time the cloned PC boots up, you may need driver files for some hardware if the drivers don’t come with your OS installation files. If this is the case, create a drivers directory underc:\sysprep and in the drivers directory create a separate folder for each device that needs drivers installed. For example, if you need to add drivers for your video card and NIC, you could create:
c:\sysprep\drivers\video and c:\sysprep\drivers\nic.
In each of those folders (..\video, ..\nic) copy the needed driver files. These files must contain not only the driver files, but an .inf and a .cat file for the device to be installed. Do not copy a binary file (.exe) that your hardware manufacturer created to update your hardware.
You then must indicate in your sysprep.inf file the location of these files.
(see the example sysprep.inf below)
Important: If the hard drive controller(s) in your your destination PC(s) are different than your Master PC, you have to indicate in the sysprep.inf file how to locate the .inf file for those controller(s). See the NewSysprep.doc file that comes with sysprep1.1 for an explanation of how to do this. There are also example .inf files that show you this information.
7. Once you have your Master Build PC configured and the Sysprep directory structure created, logoff user TestPC and log back on as Administrator. Open Control Panel, System, User Profiles and copy the TestPC profile to the Default User profile.
Make sure to give the Everyone group access to this profile. Doing this will ensure that whoever logs on to the PC will receive the profile (applications, desktop settings, configurations) that you created using TestPC.
You can now delete the TestPC user account and it’s profile directory structure. It will no longer be needed.
8. You should now delete any left over files. You can use the Disk Cleanup wizard under Programs, Accessories, System Tools to do this. This will get rid of any Temp Internet files, Temp files, and any unnecessary files on the PC.
9. When installing the OS on a Master Build PC that will be using Sysprep, you should configure the PC to part of a Workgroup, not a Domain. However, you might need to get application files from a server or some other files from a Domain server to complete the PC’s setup. If this is the case, go ahead and join a Domain, but make sure to set the PC back to being a member of a Workgroup before running Sysprep.
10. You are now ready to run Sysprep.exe. Open a command prompt, change to c:\sysprep, and run sysprep.exe. A dialog box will popup asking if you really want to do this, click OK, and Sysprep will run. It only takes a couple of seconds for Sysprep to do it’s job.
Sysprep.exe has command line switches you can use:
/quiet Prevents confirmation dialog boxes from being displayed to the user while Sysprep runs on the master computer. This is useful for the administrator who wants to automate Sysprep by adding it to the GuiRunOnce key of the Unattend.txt file.
/nosidgen Notifies Sysprep not to generate new SIDs on the reboot (note that the disk cannot be duplicated if this switch is used). This is useful for the administrator who doesn’t intend to clone the computer on which Sysprep is running or who wishes to preinstall domain controllers.
/reboot Forces Sysprep to reboot the computer at completion instead of shutting down, and then start Mini-Setup. This is useful for auditing the system and verifying that Mini-Setup is operating correctly.
/noreboot Prevents sysprep from shutting down after running.
/pnp Forces a complete re-enumeration of all devices in the system. This will add about 5 to 10 minutes to the duration of the Mini-Setup Wizard. For Plug and Play devices, this switch is not required; it is only useful when ISA or other non-Plug and Play devices that cannot be dynamically detected exist on the target systems.
/forceshutdown Forces the system to shutdown in the case where the system will not do so normally after running Sysprep.exe (with or without using the /reboot switch). This option is available only in Sysprep 1.1.
11. Once Sysprep is finished and your PC is shut down, use your disk imaging software to create an image of the hard drive. This is usually is done with a bootable floppy with the disk imaging software on it.
This image can then be applied to other PCs. When the newly imaged PCs boot up, the mini setup wizard in Sysprep will run, and use the settings in the sysprep.inf file to configure the new PC.
If you don’t use the sysprep.inf file (this is optional), then you will be prompted to enter
configuration information, much like a regular Windows install.
Sysprep.inf is used to answer questions that would normally be asked by the mini setup wizard that runs on a cloned PC when it first boots up.
The sysprep.inf file is structured very much like the unattend.txt file created in Setup Manager for unattended installs. Not all of the settings from unattend.txt can be used in sysprep.inf. See the Unattend.doc file that comes with Sysprep 1.1 for proper usage.
Setup Manager can be used to create the sysprep.inf file, or you can create it manually. If you are going to use Setup Manager, make sure to use the version that comes with Windows 2000.
;This is a sysprep.inf
;the following optional line means Setup won’t pause for anything, including errors
UnattendedMode = FullUnattended
OemSkipEula = Yes
;this line tells Sysprep to look in these directories for Driver files not included with the OS
OemPnPDriversPath = Sysprep\Drivers\Video;Sysprep\Drivers\Nic
;you have to use a number for the time zone. 035 is U.S. EST
;these number can be found in the deploy.doc file that comes
;with sysprep 1.1 from MS
timezone = 035
;use an asterisk to indicate a null admin password
adminpassword = *
OEMSkipWelcome = 1
;use this line to skip confirmation of regional settings
OEMSkipRegional = 1
;use this line to run a command when the mini install wizard runs
Command0 = “regedit.exe /s c:\rstpage.reg”
;you could add a computername = line in this group, but
;since each computer will have it’s own name, by leaving
;out this line you will prompted for the computer name
;when the mini setup wizard runs.
fullname = “Accounting Dept”
Orgname = “My Company”
productid = xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
;use this group to configure your graphics card
ConfigureAtLogon = 0
BitsPerPel = 16
XResolution = 1024
YResolution = 768
VRefresh = 75
AutoConfirm = 1
;this is the only acceptable setting under [Networking]
InstallDefaultComponents = Yes
JoinDomain = MYDOMAIN
CreateComputerAccountInDomain = Yes
DomainAdmin = user_name
DomainAdminPassword = password
- It is a good idea if your destination PCs are the same as your Master PC (the PC you ran sysprep on and created an image from). This isn’t an absolute necessity, but try to have the hardware as close as possible. Especially the hard drive controllers. TheNewSysprep.doc file goes into a discussion about different hard drive controllers, so read it.
- Sysprep should be run on Windows installations located only on the C: drive.
- Make sure you are using the latest version of the sysprep files.
- Make sure the BIOS on the master and destination computers are the most current.
- Sysprep requires the reference or master PC must have compatible hardware abstraction layers (HALs) – that is, the HALs supported on each of the computers must be in the same general family,
i.e. Â Intel single processor to Intel single processor or Intel dual processor to Intel dual processor, or ACPI compatible to ACPI compatible.
- Read through the Sysprep.doc file that comes with Sysprep1.1. It contains much more information about what Sysprep can do, and how to use it.
- Check the MS Knowledgebase for Sysprep. There are at least 78 pages dealing with Sysprep!! Look through these for tips and possible problems before using Sysprep (there are a few gotchas you might experience after using sysprep).
- Sysprep can be run on Windows 2000 Pro and Server, but not on Windows 2000 Domain controllers. It can also be used on NT Workstation and Server, but again, not on Domain Controllers.
- Don’t forget that Sysprep (using the mini setup wizard on a cloned PC) re-enumerates your hardware including network cards, video cards, sound cards, memory, processor and so on. Things like your IP settings, or video settings will be reset to whatever you indicate in the sysprep.inf file, or they will use defaults if you don’t use the .inf file.
- Sysprep should not be used to prepare the operating system for imaging if the computer has software installed that is dependent on the computer’s Security ID (SID). This is because the SID is removed by sysprep.
- The size of the destination computer’s hard disk must be at least the same size as the master or reference computer’s hard disk. If the destination computer has a larger hard disk, the partition size on the destination hard disk will be the same as that of the master computer. However, you can use the ExtendOemPartition key in the Sysprep.inf file to extend the primary partition provided that it is formatted with the Windows NT file system (NTFS).