What is Sysprep and how does it work?
SYSPREP, Microsoft’s system preparation tool, prepare a Windows Installation for imaging that can be used on computers with identical or dissimilar hardware. It’s a command-line tool that can be run manually or through a script.
SYSPREP resets the security ID (SID), clears any system restore points, deletes event logs and uninstall the specific drivers from Windows Installation. This is known as generalizing the PC. And then the specialized configuration pass runs and creates a new security ID for your computer when you boot it at the next time. After that, you can capture image with DISM and deploy image to a computer.
✎Tip: Before you start to deploy image, you should use Sysprep /generalize to generalize a Windows installation. If not, you cannot use Sysprep command-line tool to do image deployment.
Why do you need a Sysprep workaround?
With Sysprep, you can create a customized image for reuse. It’s convenient. However, some users report that they cannot use Sysprep to deploy image and get failure again and again. There are some reasons for it.
It’s difficult to work with an answer files. Users are required to respond to machine-specific questions that arise when the imaged PC is booted and its individual attributes need to be loaded.
You need a third-party prep tool, which is used to change SID and prep the machine for imaging. However, it may fail to change SID.
Using the same SID on multiple computers will pose a security risk.
Don’t worry about it. There is a lot of image deployment software on the internet that allows you to deploy system image to different computer.
Another software to deploy image when SYSPREP not working
You need an alternative image deployment software like AOMEI Image Deployment, which allows you to restore system image to multiple computers over network. Because the Sysprep is complicated and not suitable for common users who are not familiar with CMD.
In general, if you only have two computers, you can choose to do system clone and then take out the disk and install it on the second one. But if you have many computers, you are not willing to do duplicate work. You must want to restore image to multiple computer at once. This is what AOMEI Image Deployment does.
Before you start to deploy image, you need to do some preparation work in the following:
Use AOMEI Backupper to create a system image and save it to network attached storage. And make sure the shared folder or NAS as well as client computers are on the same network segment.
Check out if all the client computers support network boot.
Make sure the server computer and client computers are in the same network segment.
Then, see below and learn the detailed steps to deploy image with AOMEI Image Deploy:
Step 1. Open the System Image Deploy.
Step 2. Select one of the following ways to create a WinPE ISO files.
1. If your computer is Windows 7 or lower version, you need to install AIK on the computer first. If your computer is Windows 8 or higher version, you need to install ADK at first.
2. Keep only one DHCP server in the LAN, because many DHCP servers will mess up AOMEI Image Deploy client IP address distribution. If there is no DHCP server in the LAN, please tick the checkbox before “Enable DHCP”
Step 3. Start all the client computers from network boot and enter into AOMEI Image Deploy recovery environment while “the service has started, waiting for connect…” appears on the screen of AOMEI Image Deploy.
Step 4. Server IP and connection status will appear on the screen of main computer while the client computer connects to server. And you still can see the server IP and connection status on the client computer.
✎Tip: Only when you see the above prompt, the client computers are able to boot successfully. Thus, please start your computer after you see “the service has started, waiting for connect…” and check out if all the client computers boot normally.
Step 5. Make sure all the client computer are online and tick the checkbox below. Then, click Next to move on.
Step 6. To select system image created before, click Browse> Add share or NAS device and then type display name, path, username and password. Later, look for the system image from the network share or NAS after it’s connected.
Step 7. Select the client computer, input destination disk number, modify the deployed computer and set up settings for imaging. Then, click Start Deploy.
1. If there is only one computer, the destination disk number is 0. If you are not sure, you can remove other disk temporarily.
2. The number of deployed computer is at least 1, up to 33. If you set it as 3, AOMEI Image Deploy will automatically deploy image with 3 computers every time.
3. There are 3 settings in the above picture, including Set computer name, Set IP, Universal Restore. Just set up settings according to your needs. If the main computer’s hardware is different from the client computers, you need to tick Universal Restore. However, this feature is only available on Technician AOMEI Image Deploy.
Step 8. Now, you can see the restore process on both server computer and client computer similar to the following picture.
Reading here, you may finish the image deployment with Sysprep alternative. Compared with Sysprep, AOMEI Image Deployment is very easy to operate. You just need to follow the steps above and click the corresponding button.
If you have many computers, AOMEI Image Deployment is suitable for you. If you only have one or two computers, you can try AOMEI Backupper Standard. It allows you to clone system and install the cloned disk on another computer. Also, you can try to backup system to external hard drive and then restore system image from external hard drive.