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  1. Deploying Windows 2000 Professional
  2. Walkthrough: Creating a SYSPREP Master Image
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Walkthrough: Creating a SYSPREP Master Image

To create a SYSPREP master image, follow these steps:

  1. Install Windows 2000 Professional on a representative machine. This machine must use the same power management (ACPI or APM) technology as the systems that you will be applying it to. You can use any of the other distribution methods (such as an UNATTEND.TXT file on a distribution share point) for your initial install, or you can perform the installation manually.

  2. Create a local user account, and add it to the local administrators group. You will need this logon ID later in the process.

  3. Log on using the default local administrator (username "administrator") account, set all OS configuration options, set the default home page in Internet Explorer, add any standard bookmarks to the Favorites folder, install and configure any services, and make any needed changes to the registry. If you want, you can copy any required shortcuts or documents to the desktop.

  4. Install and configure third-party applications, such as virus protection, Microsoft Office, or WinZip.

  5. Right-click the Internet Explorer icon, select Properties from the pop-up menu. On the General tab, click Delete Files and Clear History.

  6. Log off as the local administrator, and log in as the account created in step 2.

  7. Copy the Administrator profile directory to the Default User profile directory. You should manage your user's settings through Group Policy Objects in Active Directory, but this step ensures that locally created user accounts have any needed shortcuts or settings.

  8. To make an image that is compatible with the greatest number of systems, download the updated SYSPREP v1.1, available from Microsoft, at http://www.microsoft.com/WINDOWS2000/downloads/deployment/sysprep/default.asp.

  9. Extract the SYSPREP.EXE and SETUPCL.EXE files to a SYSPREP directory created on the root of your system volume (C:\SYSPREP). Copy your customized SYSPREP.INF file into this directory as well. (See Chapter 4 in Windows 2000 Deployment and Desktop Management, from New Riders, for detailed information about customizing the SYSPREP.INF file.)

  10. Clean up any temporary directories or unneeded files.

  11. If your computer is joined to a domain, remove it from the domain and join a local workgroup. This is required before SYSPREP will run. When you are asked to reboot, answer No. You will have to reboot after the next step.

  12. Run a disk check and a disk defrag on your local disk.

  13. Reboot.

  14. Log on as the local administrator account.

  15. Delete the administrative account created in step 2.

  16. Clear the Event Viewer log files.

  17. Make a note of the amount of used drive space on your system.

  18. Set the password on the Administrator account to blank. This allows SYSPREP to accept a new administrator password during the Mini Setup Wizard portion of the install.

  19. Open a DOS command prompt.

  20. From Start/Settings/Taskbar and the Start menu's Advanced tab, click the Clear button. This erases command history, recently accessed files, and Internet Explorer history.

  21. From the DOS console opened in step 18, change directories to the SYSPREP directory and run this command:

  22. SYSPREP -PNP
  23. If your system is ACPI-compliant, it will shut down automatically after SYSPREP completes. If it is not ACPI-compliant, you will receive a message notifying you when it is safe to shut down the computer.

  24. Do not boot again from the hard drive until after you have imaged the system.

  25. Image your drive using the third-party utility of your choice, such as Norton Ghost or PowerQuest DriveImage. For this, you will need to boot to a DOS network boot disk and connect to a share with as much free space, as noted in step 16, or you will need to install a blank second hard drive in your system, formatted with FAT, on which you can save the image.

This completes the basic process for creating a deployable SYSPREP image of Windows 2000 Professional.

By itself, the basic SYSPREP process has a couple shortcomings:

  • It has a limited capability to customize the computer-naming mechanism.

  • Network configuration settings do not carry over with the image.

  • SYSPREP doesn't allow a system to automatically join a domain.

In another article, we look at the first of three steps to enhancing the unattended installation process to compensate for these shortcomings.

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