sysprep windows 10
Feature Windows 10

How To Master Sysprep Windows 10 – Step By Step Guide

One of the most important business tasks is to recreate identical configurations of the Windows OS for hundreds of employees. With the Sysprep Windows 10, you can design a reference image and install updates, apps, and drivers in the desktop photo. 

However, before cloning a Windows 10 installation, you should first remove the system ID (SID). To do this task, you may want to use the Windows System Preparation Tool or Windows 10 Sysprep

If you are still in the dark about how to Sysprep Windows 10, refer to our article below for a specific guide to deploying it smartly.

What Is Sysprep Windows 10?

Sysprep Window 10, or Microsoft System Preparation Tools for Windows 10, is used to replicate, examine and deliver necessary installations for Windows’s operating systems. It is a command-line tool that runs physically or via a script. 

sysprep windows 10

Companies use Sysprep to clone a Windows installation and deploy it across numerous computers. Nevertheless, you should construct a reference image first before deploying it on users’ computers. 

If you clone Microsoft Windows without running Sysprep, it would be troublesome. Since Windows Server, Windows 10, and other versions of Windows contain security identifiers (SIDs) that are not the same with every computer. 

That is why you need Sysprep to generalize Microsoft Windows by eliminating those security identifiers and specific information from other computers. It would help if you did not touch the configuration, including network settings, software, and other operating system parameters, before running the Sysprep.

Normally, in Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10, the Sysprep location is in folder C:\\Windows\System32\sysprep.

Features Of The Sysprep Windows 10

Here are some of the outstanding features that the Sysprep contains:

We can use Sysprep to copy an established image from Windows across many similar computers. It is called a build-to-plan (BTP) image. 

A business may want to use Sysprep to initiate a quality desktop image using a mix of applications and drivers and then utilize that image for similar computers within the company. 

Sysprep applies the same Windows photo as a solid ground for multiple PCs and adds more applications and drivers for each system. A hardware provider will then make a different image on that detailed system. This can also be called a build-to-order (BTO) image. 

The last characteristic of Sysprep is the audit mode that customizes the Windows desktop image. This feature allows for more scripts, drivers, and applications. Furthermore, audit mode guarantees that the image is installed properly and the system operates smoothly. 

After the Windows image is tested, the Sysprep oobe command will tell the system to initiate the installation on the following boot cycle. 

What Are The Benefits and Limitations Of The Sysprep Windows 10?

After understanding several features of Sysprep, our experts will analyze the pros and cons when using it:

Benefits of Using Sysprep Windows 10

One of the advantages of using Sysprep is that users can automatically set up by providing the deployment of the Windows 10 Sysprep answer file. This file will give answers to those questions that the operating system usually asks when setting up. 

Utilizing an answer file makes the Setup operate in an unattended mode and install Windows in a predetermined way. The answers are written to a file named Unattend.xml so that when a Sysprep image is used along with an answer file, Windows will be installed to the system disk in conjunction with the file’s parameters. 

Moreover, the Sysprep answer file can also run ancillary tasks, including connecting the PC to a Windows Active Directory domain, which allows it to properly manage by its other Windows gadgets. 

Another benefit of Sysprep is the reference image will assist you in applying a ready-to-work atmosphere on another user’s computer. You will not have to install other programs, updates, or drivers on each PC.

Additionally, you can extract and make changes and update the Windows 10 image with the deployment tool.

Drawbacks Of Using Sysprep Windows 10

One downside of Sysprep is that you can only use it when making a desktop image that will be applied in setting up the new Windows 10 installations. Remember not to use the Sysprep to alter a Windows setup that is already running since it may interrupt the whole operating system. 

Plus, you can only use the Sysprep up to eight times for a Windows image. After that, the user should recreate another Windows image for their desktop. 

Another disadvantage is that the proportion of the image can be remarkably bigger than the Windows 10 ISO image. You would need to upgrade the new versions of drivers and programs related to the Windows reference photo. 

How To Use Sysprep Windows 10 To Create A Reference Image?

With the following steps, creating a reference Windows Imaging Format (WIM) of Microsoft Windows 10 will not be an arduous task anymore:

  • Step 1: Perform Windows 10 installation from the ISO photo and join the Audit Mode.
  • Step 2: Install drivers, applications and set up the system settings.
  • Step 3: By utilizing the Sysprep utility, prepare the system properly.
  • Step 4: Start the Windows Preinstallation Environment and capture the image with the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool. 

When you finish, you can add the final image WIM to the installation disc or use several tools, including DISM, ImageX, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), or Windows Deployment Services (WDS).

How To Customize Windows 10 In The Audit Mode Using Sysprep

To perform this task, you may want to change Windows 10 to Audit Mode or Sysprep oobe (out-of-box experience user) on the installed Windows 10 OS by pressing Shift + Ctrl + F3 on the OOBE or directly on the Windows Welcome home screen. 

Also, you can use Sysprep to shift into the Audit Mode by following the command below:

C:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe

 sysprep windows 10

Then, look at the System Preparation Tool (SPT) window and choose the options as described below:

  • System Cleanup Action: Boot into System Audit Mode
  • Shutdown Options: Press reboot
  • Then select the OK button

The PC will then restart automatically and enter Audit Mode. Microsoft Windows 10 can log in and boot with the incorporated administrator account within Audit Mode. Moreover, it will disable this account. 

Until the Sysprep is in operation, Windows 10 would join in this mode regardless of how many times you reboot your PC. Therefore, there is one sign to know that you have joined Audit Mode: the Sysprep box in the middle of the screen. 

Remember that you should not shut down the Sysprep utility window because you may need it when finishing the configuration stage. Just minimize it if possible. In the Audit Mode, you are now able to configure the Windows 10 reference photo. 

We will discover some Windows 10 Sysprep guide with common stages that sysops usually configure in the reference image. 

Stage 1: Install The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Logo & Information

During the first step, you can select the company-branded information in the properties windows on the computer. In the example below, we will set up the company name, OEM logo, technology support website, as well as working hours. 

To construct these settings, go to the registry and make a text file oem.reg, then replicate the following command below into it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OEMInformation]

“Logo”=”C:\\WINDOWS\\oem\\OEMlogo.bmp”

“Manufacturer”=”insert your company’s name”

“Model”=”Windows 10 Pro 1909”

“SupportHours”=”9am to 5pm ET M-F”

“SupportURL”=”insert your website”

Note. First, create the graphic file C:\WINDOWS\oem\OEMlogo.bmp with your company logo.

After that, to deploy the registry file, you click on it twice and allow all registry adjustments. Consequently, all of the changes will be imported into it. Then, you can see the branded information below when completing resetting the system properties.

Stage 2: Install The Applications And Drivers

You are able to install third-party applications and other drivers that your business wants to have in the Windows 10 reference photo. You can do this by using manual programs or Chocolatey – an integrated package manager on Windows 10.

To install Chocolatey, start the PowerShell console with administrator advantages and enter these commands below:

Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; `

iex ((New-ObjectSystem.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(‘https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1’))

You may then want to restart the PowerShell console. Accordingly, you can now install more drivers and programs with only one command. For example, we want to download Google Chrome, Adobe Photoshop, VLC, Zoom, and Adobe Lightroom via Chocolatey, and we will select the command:

choco install google-chrome, adobephotoshop, vlc, zoom, adobelightroom

Besides, you can find these kits by their names with the command search opera on Chocolatey. 

You may also want to install them for laptops and computers that you would like to apply this Windows 10 reference image in terms of drivers. Download the driver kits to a detailed directory and search for *.inf files. Afterward, insert the drivers there to the Windows picture following the command:

for /f %i in (‘dir /b /s *.inf’) do pnputil.exe -i -a %i

If you want to reboot Windows 10 to update or install the program, just do it, and the system would come back to Audit Mode. 

Stage 3: Disable Data Collection And Telemetry In Microsoft Windows 10

Windows 10 gathers data on the users on the laptop, including voice samples, handwriting pieces, locations, calendar contents, and reports. The information will then be delivered to the Windows 10 servers. 

Therefore, if you do not want the OS delivering data to Microsoft Windows’s telemetry servers, it is viable to deactivate the data collection and telemetry services. You have to start the command prompt and do the commands below:

sc delete DiagTrack

sc delete dmwappushservice

echo ““ >C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-Dia

Track-Listener.etl

REG ADD

“HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection” /v AllowTelemetry /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

You can turn off Windows 10 tracking services utilizing the Disable Win Tracking application from Github as well.

Stage 4: Put The Windows Security Update In The Audit Mode

Since the appearance of Windows 8.1, businesses can no longer install updates via the Windows Update Center located in the settings bar in the Audit Mode. If the Window Update Center sees that the system has finished the OOBE step, the update will activate. 

You may want to take the PS Windows Update Module from the TechNet Gallery to upgrade the operating system from the console. You should duplicate the PSWindowsUpdate.zip to a USB drive and, importantly, right-click on the zip file, then Properties, Unblock.

After unblocking the zip, you will see two folders:

  • %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Windows\PowerShell\Modules;
  • %WINDIR%\System32\Windows\PowerShell\v1.0\Modules.

To initiate and download all accessible Windows updates, press commands: 

PowerShell -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -Command Import-Module PSWindowsUpdate;

Get-WUInstall -AcceptAll -IgnoreReboot

Stage 5: Remove The Built-in Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Apps

This step is up to your preference. If you wish to install built-in apps such as UWP and UWM, please pass this step. But if you do, on the PowerShell console, paste the commands below:

Get-AppxPackage *3dbuilder* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *windowsalarms* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *windowscalculator* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *windowscommunicationsapps* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *windowscamera* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *officehub* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *skypeapp* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *getstarted* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *zunemusic* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *windowsmaps* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *solitairecollection* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *bingfinance* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *zunevideo* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *bingnews* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *onenote* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *people* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *windowsphone* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *photos* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *bingsports* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *soundrecorder* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *bingweather* | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage *xboxapp* | Remove-AppxPackage

Using Sysprep To Generalize Windows 10 Picture

If your PC has an IP address, ensure that the address must be automatically acquired from a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). You would like to perform this in the network adapter setup. 

When everything has been set up, execute the Sysprep, then choose these options:

  • System Cleanup Action: Start the system OOBE (out-of-box experience)
  • Shutdown Options: Click shutdown
  • Test the Generalize choice

Use Windows Sysprep Answer Files For Unattended Windows Installation

The answer file and the Sysprep allow you to build the unattended Windows Setup. You can move on to the next stage since it is not mandatory and jump right to capturing a Windows picture. 

The Windows answer file consists of answers to all questions. You should select this file when configuring Windows and opt for the first settings (language, keyboard, account, region, and more). Thanks to the Windows 10 answer file, the installer screens will be greatly decreased. 

Creating Windows Answer File With The Windows System Image Manager (WSIM)

This answer file can be made manually, but it will be easier to produce the accurate answer file via the WSIM plugin. You can complete this task via the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK). Start the adksetup.exe with administrator advantages, then install the Deployment Tools. 

You also have to duplicate the install.wim file from the directory on the Windows 10 ISO image. And now, let’s make an answer file for Microsoft Windows 10.

You can run the WSIM like this (C:\Program Files(x86)\Windows Kits\10\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Deployment Tools\WSIM\imgmgr.exe). Then Select File and New Answer File. 

It would be best if you waited for the WSIM to ascend the Windows installation picture and made the catalog file (.clg). This task may take time, and problems may also arise during this step. That is the reason why you have to install the new WSIM 1903 and unzip the file archive to disc. 

With WSIM, you can set up multiple parameters of its answer file. Then, we should demand Sysprep to duplicate all of the alterations to the default user profile.

Within the Windows Image, choose the amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup__neutral section. Right-click on the file and choose to Add Setting to Pass four specialize. In the Answer File panel, extend section 4, Specialize and set the Copyprofile value to TRUE. 

Pass 1 Windows PE

Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE

InputLocale: en-US;

SystemLocale: en-US

UILanguage: en-US

UserLocale: en-US

The Windows 10 Product key:

Microsoft-Windows-Setup -> UserData -> ProductKey -> Key = {specify your MAK or GVLK key}

To automatically allow user agreement:

Microsoft-Windows-Setup -> UserData -> AccepptEula = True

Pass 7 OOBE system 

Skip Microsoft account creation screen (MSA):

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup –> OOBE -> HideOnlineAccountScreens = True

Do not ask three security questions for your local account:

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup –> OOBE -> ProtectYourPC= 3

Create a local administrator account and set a password for it:

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup –> UserAccounts –> LocalAccounts -> Insert New Local Account

Name: admin

Group: Administrators

You should remove all empty answer file parameters. Select Tools – Validate Answer File option to check the settings. If you configure everything accurately, a message will pop up: No warning or errors. 

Utilize Answer File To Establish Windows Image

You can now use the auto-attend file to Sysprep Windows photo. Start the command prompt, then type the command below (remember to change the path to autounattend.xml with yours):

c:\windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /generalize /shutdown /unattend:C:\ps\autounattend.xml

The Sysprep Windows will eliminate unique data with the generalize option. You will be able to deploy the reference Windows picture on another laptop or PC safely. After performing the command, your computer will shut down. 

Using The Deployment Image Servicing And Management Tool (DISM) To Capture Windows 10 Picture

You may want to capture a Windows 10 photo using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit after shutting down the computer. Also, you can utilize other unique apps for capturing a Windows 10 image or DISM. Although you can use the ImageX tool in some old versions of Windows, it is much easier to do with the help of DISM on Windows 10.

Prepare the PC with the Windows 10 reference picture into Windows PE. By booting your PC from Windows 10 on a recovery disc or installation disc, you are good to go. Then, press Shift + F10 on the language selection screen.

In the opening window, select Diskpart command and pick the list vol command to spot some drive letters. It would help if you run this below command to capture the picture:

dism /capture-image /imagefile:D:\win10referenceimg.wim /capturedir:d:\ /name:”Win10 Pro reference image”

/imagefile — the WIM image that we need to make;

/Capturedir — the reference Windows installation folder.

Then, replicate the WIM image file from the local disk and paste it into your software (MDT or SCCM). You can place it on the installation file as well and rename that file to install.wim. 

After applying the image to your workstation, you may notice all changes are ready to go. The software you set up in the Audit Mode is also on the screen. 

Conclusion

All in all, using Sysprep Windows 10 will not be a difficult task anymore. We hope that you can create and capture Windows 10 reference images for all computers within your company with the specific Sysprep guide above. 

Thank you for reading!

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