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2012-01-12

A+: Disk Images and Sysprep

A cloned system is identical in every way to the original, including having the same Security Identifier (SID). This can cause conflicts in a network. The SID and other differences in network configuration between the original and a cloned system can be automatically configured with the Sysprep utility from Microsoft. The Sysprep utility for Windows Vista is installed with the operating system and can be found by navigating to C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep. The Sysprep utility is available in separate versions for Windows XP and 2000. It is not provided on upgrade versions, but on full and OEM versions of the media, and is located on the CD-ROM at \SUPPORT\TOOLS\ in a cabinet file called DEPLOY.CAB. The most recent version of Sysprep for Windows XP can also be downloaded from the Microsoft website as part of the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Deployment Tools. See the following link for more information: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/838080.

Sysprep is installed on a system that will be used for cloning before it is cloned. A special mini-Setup Wizard starts on the cloned computer the first time it is run after cloning. Sysprep uses an answer file created with either the System Image Manager (SIM), or the Setup Manager (Setupmgr.exe) utility described earlier. When it runs on the cloned system, it creates a unique SID and makes other changes as needed to the network configuration of the system. If the answer file does not have the answer needed by the setup program, you will be prompted to provide this information, such as the Windows license number (Product key).

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