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Win 7 Deployment: sysprep and answer files

By powder21 ·
Hi. I have a couple questions regarding sysprep and answer files that I was hoping someone could help me out with:

One: I tried using sysprep with an answer file to configure a different product key by adding the Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup component to the Specialize pass and configuring ProductKey setting (I should mention that this was the only setting I configured). When rebooting to the image after sysprep (for testing), it errors out and the image is useless. I'm wondering if I am configuring the wrong setting, leaving blank settings that need to be configured, or if maybe I am adding it to the wrong pass. From what I understand the specialize pass is the first pass to run at startup after running /generalize.

Two: I tried running sysprep again (after re-installing to my test partition of course) without the answer file and everything worked fine. However, I was under the impression that without configuring the PersistAllDeviceInstalls setting in an answer file, all the device drivers would be uninstalled. Yet when I logged on, to my surprise, all my drivers remained. This is a good thing in my opinion, but I want to make absolutely sure that it wasn't a fluke and that device drivers are not typically uninstalled when running /generalize.

If anybody can help me out with this I would very much appreciate it. Thanks.

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by powder21 In reply to Win 7 Deployment: sysprep ...

Question one: It turns out I was using a product key for the wrong edition of windows. It works just fine now

Question two: Without the PersistAllDeviceInstalls set to true in an answer file, the generalize pass DOES remove all the drivers. However, if a third-party driver was installed before running sysprep, the driver files will still be present and the specialize pass will re-install the third-party drivers for their respective devices. If you don't want the third-party drivers re-installed, you have to remove them before running sysprep. Also, if you apply the image to computers with a slightly different hardware configuration (and you're using an answer file), be sure that the DoNotCleanUpNonPresentDevices setting is set to false. Otherwise all drivers that were present on the original reference computer will be re-installed, regardless of the hardware configuration.

Hope this can be of some help to somebody in the future.

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