Sysprep and networking components

Sysprep can be used to prepare Windows servers for image-based deployment, and IT shops who are planning on deploying servers to branch offices often use Sysprep and disk imaging tools for this purpose. Someone asked me once whether they could also pre-configure a server with networking components like DNS and DHCP services and then sysprep the server for deploying to multiple locations.

The answer is no, you can’t do it that way. Why? Because Sysprep resets your network settings, so you’ll lose any customizations you’ve configured.

What’s the alternative? Script the following post-deployment tasks for the branch office servers you plan to deploy:

  1. Use Sysocmgr.exe to automatically install networking components like DHCP and DNS (see
  2. Then use netsh.exe to configure networking settings for these services (see


Mitch Tulloch is lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is THE book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. Mitch is also the author of Introducing Windows Server 2008, the first book from Microsoft Press about the exciting new server platform. For more information on these and other books written by Mitch, see

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