What is Sysprep? 

Sysprep is a Microsoft System Preparation Tool to prepare Windows Operating System for imaging with other OS Deployment tools (Dell KACE K2000 Appliance) to configure New Installations of Windows onto new hardware. 


When you run Sysprep, it will prepare the machine for Disk Imaging by creating a New Computer Security Identifier (SID), delete all previous User-Specific and Computer-Specific settings, domain account and other data during the next boot up. 


Sysprep.exe is located at %WINDIR%\system32\Sysprep directory and only the Administrator can run sysprep.exe command line. Use Sysprep for a Clean OS Install and not for Upgrade Installation of Windows that has already been deployed. 


When a Sysprep-ed Windows boots up for the first time, Windows Product Activation Clock will begin its countdown and you can only use sysprep /generalize for a Maximum of 3-times to reset the clock. 



How to use K2000 to deploy new OS to nodes:  


By using Dell KACE K2000 Appliance, we can capture & customized Windows Image as "System Images" (K2000>Deployments>System Images). 



Deployment to Nodes with the SAME Hardware: 

1. Install Windows Reference OS Image - install on same Hardware, with Drivers & Apps.  

2. Boot and install Device Drivers / Apps. 
3. Update Windows 
4. Sysprep /oobe /generalize - remove system-specific data from Windows Installation - Event Logs, Unique SIDs & other unique info.  - 
5. /oobe - instucts Windows  to run Windows Welcome at the next boot up. 
6. Shutdown - you can specify c:\Windows\System32\sysprep>sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown
7. Boot to KBE (K2000 BOOT ENVIRONMENT) > Imaging> Capture image of this machine
8. Capture the Windows installation with K2000 
9. Create a Reference image to install with the same hardware. 



Deployment to Nodes with DIFFERENT Hardware:
1. Start with Windows Reference OS Image.  
2. Install Image to the Computer with 'Different Hardware'. 
3. After installation, run c:\Windows\System32\sysprep>sysprep.exe /audit  /generalize /shutdown

4. Boot the computer to Audit Mode - enable you to install 3rd-party apps, device drivers and to test the functionality of the computer
5. Capture Image by using K2000 KBE (K2000 BOOT ENVIRONMENT) > Imaging> Capture image of this machine
6. Save this Reference Image (K-image) to install on Computers with the same Configuration.

7. If you have Computers with different hardware, boot to Audit Mode
8. Install Additional Apps & Updates based on customer's orders. 
9. Run  c:\Windows\System32\sysprep>sysprep.exe /oobe /shutdown

When you deploy Images by using sysprep /generalize, use either /oobe or /audit which is part of the requirements because you can not run /generalize as the only option. 


User's Experience will not be ideal if you use /audit for their next reboot, Windows will run specialize Config pass, PNP and other setup tasks before WINDOWS WELCOME screen and will delay their First Logon.