In less than 10 steps, can you set up all the PCs in your office with all required software?  Here’s one way:

  1. Set up a Windows PC with all required programs
  2. Navigate to %WINDIR%system32sysprep and run the following command from command line:
    sysprep /generalize
  3. Pick options to Generalize and to Shutdown
  4. Reboot into some decent imaging software
  5. Make an image of the hard disk and partitions to an external USB
  6. Apply that image to as many PCs as you have software licenses for
  7. Upon bootup, you will have to re-enter proper Windows key for that hardware, and activate
  8. Also, you will need to set proper computer name and join domain if needed
  9. Done!

Sysprep /generalize will essentially make the image “non-unique” to that system, meaning it can easily be imaged to other hardware without activation or driver headaches.

Sysprep must always be run from the %WINDIR%system32sysprep directory

Sysprep Command-Line Syntax

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10 years ago

So are drivers not included in the image? Meaning you'd just have to install new drivers correct? We've got 5 or 6 different hardware configurations and generally add a new one for every new Intel processor, so a system image that is flexible would be awesome.
Also, I'm guessing it doesn't include user profiles?
Thanks for the tip!

Luke Johnson
10 years ago

It actually retains user profile info, but it forces a domain un-join to occur. If the hardware isn't too dissimilar you may not need to install drivers. Otherwise you could pre-install drivers before running sysprep. Upon first boot it reinitializes drivers based on the current hardware.