Disk imaging using Windows 2000 Sysprep : System Preparation Utility


Microsoft has targetted the System Preparation Tool (sysprep.exe) specifically
for organizations that use disk cloning for mass deployments. Sysprep strips the
SID from the PC being imaged and installs a miniature version of Windows Setup.
You then use the imaging software of your choice to clone the “reference
machine”.

When you start a new PC using the new image, mini-setup runs allowing you to
specify network info, languages and locales, display settings, … The
mini-setup can be scripted by having an answer file, sysprep.inf, and thus the
imaging process can be totally hands free.

The target PCs must use the same HAL, NTOSKRNL.EXE, and boot device.

The sysprep support files must be in the C:\SYSPREP folder of the image. The
required sysprep files, sysprep.exe and setupcl.exe, can be copied from the
Deploy folder on the W2K installation CD. Of course to have a fully automated
installation, you need to create a customized sysprep.inf file. Run setupmgr.exe to select the options needed for your
deployment. The answer file must be named sysprep.inf and must exist in the
C:\SYSPREP folder in order to automate the mini-setup process on the clone. The
C:\SYSPREP folder will be removed as part of the installation process when the
image is generated.

sysprep has four primary parms:


  • /quiet : forces mini-setup to run in silent mode
    quiet means no user
    interaction. used with an answer file


  • /nosidgen : mini-setup runs, but SID is not changed
    use /nosidgen if
    your cloning product handles creating unique SIDs


  • /noreboot : computer will not automatically reboot
    not sure why you
    would use this since the point is an automated installation


  • /pnp : this forces Plug and Play device detection
    not useful if hardware
    is not compatible. Otherwise, it makes for smoother installation.

You run sysprep and then create the clone image. You
are now ready to mass deploy your workstations.

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