Best Practices Question

Is sysprep really needed?

06/17/2014 7019 views
Years ago I spent a great deal of time learning about sysprep but I was not too successful. We tend to create different images for different models of computers and have gotten by without using sysprep. Is that a big mistake? We now have Kace2000 version 3.6.98680.


3 Comments   [ + ] Show comments


  • I guess it depends how many machines you deploy. And how often they need re-imaging. And how many different models you have. Answer these questions and we could probably give some guidance.
  • Right now I am focusing on our computers for the public at our library. We have about 300 computers total, 150 will be new computers and the other 150 will be a mix of 4 models and will have the image deployed in place. I have tested that my image does deploy successfully to those 4 models. I think there was only one that needed an extra reboot to install drivers. In this case I am thinking that sysprep might not really be needed
  • Seems like you have it all under control. If you go with more models then sysprep would be the way to go.

Community Chosen Answer

we have one admin 32 and one admin 64 master image we push out here so sysprep is important to us since we can use that image on any desktop, laptop or tablet.

Sysprep to reset the SID is debated if you look on the internet as it is not really needed anymore since each machine in the domain does not use just the machines sid to identify it, the sid is part of an algorithm that generates the machines domain id

Some imaging programs look for that sysprep flag and treat the images different if it is set.  If you are WSUS to update it will be a problem.

The Machine SID Duplication Myth (and Why Sysprep Matters) by Mark Russinovich
Answered 06/18/2014 by: SMal.tmcc
Red Belt

  • Agreed. This is the main reason we use Sysprep as well - the ability to have one image that can be applied to virtually any hardware. Sysprep on XP was quite tricky. It's much easier with Win7/8, especially if you use the Sysprep Creator available from KACE. Check it out here: http://www.itninja.com/blog/view/sysprep-creator-wizard It creates a base line XML that you can use as is (which is what we do) or you can take it into Windows Deployment Toolkit and edit it further to your specific needs.
  • I was not aware that one image could be deployed to desktops, laptops, and tablets. I guess in that case you would need to use sysprep as I would think the drivers, etc. would be very different
    • I actually have enough space and image thru put time to incorporate 99 percent of the needed drivers for all the models we have imaged. This still works with windows 8, 8.1. The big things are your imaged is sysprep'd and you only have one partition. ( no recovery partition)

      The best file set if you can find it, (dell offers them) is the cab file download of the drivers for sccm, I then use 7-zip to extract the cab and copy those to my master. Those usually contain every driver you need in one package. You can also use a mid level task to unzip an uploaded zip file of any new drivers to c:\windows\inf till you updated them into your master.

      • Are you deploying the same image to laptops and tablets?
      • Yes I have a different post script for them but they use the same wim file

All Answers


My preference has always been to use the gold image with the lastest service pack to start because right after you syseprep the image it has to be patched with the latest update a week later anyway.

Sometimes newer versions of the patch you have in your image is released.  I look at patch updates the same as uninstall and reinstalls - The less the better.

I think it is easier to diagnoes issues when you have things as clean as possible and not resetting SIDs and all that junk that comes with cloning.

A fresh install vs a Sysprep will take a little longer because of the installers but you get the benifit of more quickly replacing or adding an app.  Besides, the K2000 allows you to just set it and forget it until it is done so I don't see a difference between me coming back to pick up the unit in 15 minutes vs 30 minutes.

Also, with the scripted installs you can do things like force down the windows updates at the end automatically and end up with a fully patched system

Just my opinion

Answered 06/20/2014 by: JordanNolan
9th Degree Black Belt

  • one other advantage of an image over a scripted install is you can configure user specific settings in the master image for one user and use the copy profile function of sysprep to make that the default profile with all your user and software tweeks still intact

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