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GuyE

Sysprep Unattend.xml Files and Deployment

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Hi,

I'm building a new Windows 10 deployment workflow and was wondering if you could provide some information on what goes on with sysprep unattend files during deployment of the master wim image to the target clients. I understand that some of the settings in the SmartDeploy.xml file are somehow injected into this process, but I'm unsure how Windows is handling the various unattend.xml files created and how SmartDeploy interacts with them. I've read about answer file search order and that C:\Windows\Panther is used to keep a cached master copy of unattend.xml that is used by the sysprep phases. I don't know how this is created and modified though, or at what points.

In testing I started with my own unattend.xml file in C:\Windows\Panther\Unattend\ and no others anywhere in C:\Windows. I used this to generalize the master image before capture. I broke out of a subsequent deployment to a target during the postimage phase with cmd /k, and discovered a new unattend.xml file in C:\Windows\Panther (the cached master?) and another in C:\Windows\System32\Panther, neither of which look like mine - they look more like the one used by MDT when creating the master image. Were these created and left over from the generalize sysprep? The settings in my unattend.xml seem to have been disregarded during the deployment, critically an autologon to support PC renaming and domain join (due to computer naming being deprecated in Windows 10 sysprep oobe).

Our old Windows 7 workflow has two copies of our unattend.xml copied as postimage tasks to C:\Windows\Panther and C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Panther. I picked this up from a post somewhere several years ago to solve a problem and it worked, but I've never really understood why. Perhaps something similar is required for Windows 10?

Can you shed some light on how this all works please.

Thanks,
Guy

 

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Hey guy.

 

First, you never want to sysprep/generalize your Reference VM before you capture your image to use with SmartDeploy. We do that for you at deployment. 

And in short; The settings you enter into the Answer File wizard are in turn applied by SmartDeploy to the answer file that's used by sysprep. 

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Hi Jeff,

The reason I'm running sysprep before capture is to copy the local Administrator's profile to the default user per this post in your forum. Copyprofile doesn't seem to be an option in the Deploy Wizard.

I've created the Win10 master image in a HyperV VM with MDT. On first boot it launches into audit mode, I log on as the local Administrator and then customize.
Once finished I run sysprep /generalize /reboot /oobe /unattend:c:\windows\panther\unattend10.xml. This answer file was made in WSIM and includes copyprofile and a handful of other settings to autoanswer in the oobe phase (e.g. locale, language etc) after the reboot and specialize phase. My understanding is that because copyprofile runs in the specialize phase you have to allow a reboot in order for it to run. Oobe runs after that and you end up at the login screen. I shut down at this point (to avoid creating a local Administrator profile) and then capture with SmartDeploy.

Reading around, the trend seems to be away from default user customizations in master images. With WaaS and the need to create new masters every 6 months these customizations are too manual and time consuming. The advice seems to be to automate as much as possible in MDT then control settings at the other end with group policy.

Cheers,
Guy

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Jeff - Also trying to create a default profile to work with SmartDeploy on Windows10, but I am unable to download any of the ZIP files that you posted throughout the form.  Can you re-post?

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Just wanted to share another program I found that does this wonderfully. It's called DefProf from ForensIT. Essentially you set up a test profile and make all the config changes you want to it. Once you are finished log in to your main account and run an elevated command prompt and type in DefProf "userprofile" without the quotes and it copies all settings to the default profile. It's a life saver for Windows 10 and it's start menu! Just make sure that you debloat properly for all users because those apps will end up coming back regardless. I also have those scripts if needed.

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