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How to Use Sysprep for Auditing Installations

Published: November 29, 2001

Sysprep is a tool designed for corporate system administrators, OEMs, and others who need to deploy the Windows® XP operating system on multiple computers. After performing the initial setup steps on a single system, you can run Sysprep to prepare the sample computer for cloning.

Use the auditing process to verify that a computer is functional before it is delivered to the user. During the auditing process you can check that the operating system loads and that applications start properly, run a disk defragmenter program, run Chkdsk to check for corrupted hard disk files, verify that the licensing agreements are not being violated, and verify that all installed devices in Device Manager are properly recognized.

Windows XP deployment is set up so that you can use your own auditing tools to examine each computer that has Windows preinstalled. You can examine the computer as it will exist at the user site and then use the Sysprep tool to return the computer to an end–user–ready state. Then, when the user receives the computer and turns it on for the first time, the computer runs either Windows Welcome or Mini–Setup.

To audit a destination computer that has Windows installed:

  1. Install Windows using the steps described in Using Sysprep. When Setup completes and the destination computer restarts, the computer is running a fully installed version of Windows.

  2. Create the \Sysprep folder, and then copy Sysprep.exe and Setupcl.exe to it. See Using Sysprep for more information. If you plan to run Sysprep from a floppy disk, you can skip this step.

  3. Audit the system using a third–party auditing tool.

    Important:  When you are auditing, do not overwrite any system files or otherwise disturb the preconfigured computer, because Sysprep does not detect or restore system files that your auditing tools have changed.
    You can reboot as many times as necessary while auditing the computer.

  4. When auditing completes, remove any files or folders placed on the hard disk during the auditing process. At the command prompt, change to the directory containing Sysprep.exe, and then type the following command with the command–line options you want:
    sysprep –nosidgen 
    followed by any other options you want.

  5. When Sysprep finishes, immediately shut down Windows. The computer is now ready to deliver to the end user.

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