How to modify the Windows 7 Answer File Created with Ghost to include the option to copy the default profile.

Article:TECH152734  |  Created: 2011-02-04  |  Updated: 2013-09-10  |  Article URL
Article Type
Technical Solution


You need to know how to manipulate the default profile in Windows 7.  Manipulating the default profile for Windows 7 is different than for earlier versions of Windows.  For Windows Vista and Windows 7, you must use the Microsoft Sysprep utility to make changes to the default user profile.  

You've discovered, though, that the answer file you created in the Ghost Console does include the "CopyProfile" option. 

You need to know how to add the "CopyProfile" option to that Sysprep answer file you created in the Ghost Console. 

Note: The following procedures are for the Microsoft Sysprep application and therefore not supported by Symantec Technical Support.  If these instructions fail to help, please contact Microsoft and provide your answer file to their Technical Support Staff.


To complete this process, you will need the following: 

  1. The Windows 7 installation media
  2. The Ghost Console
  3. The Windows System Image Manager (installed from Microsoft's WAIK utility)

First, prepare your default profile: 

  1. The Default Profile must be built from the local administrator profile.  By default, this account is disabled.  It will need to be enabled and password protected before you can complete this task.
  2. Once the local administrator account is enabled and password protected, reboot the computer.
  3. When the computer is rebooted, sign in as the local administrator
  4. Once you are signed into the local administrator account, delete any other local account that is stored on that computer.  The presence of any local account other than the local administrator account will cause the "CopyProfile" portion of Sysprep to fail. 
  5. Customize the local administrator profile as you want it to be for all users that log into the computer

Second, create the Answer File using the Ghost Console: 

  1. Open the Ghost Console
  2. Click File > New > Image Create Task
  3. Click the Sysprep tab
  4. Check the box next to "Run Microsoft Sysprep on this machine before creating the image"
  5. Click Browse
  6. Click Sysprep Configurations
  7. Click New... > New Item
  8. In the name field, enter Windows 7 Sysprep (or any other name of your choice)
  9. Click Browse
  10. Select the version of Windows 7 that is applicable to you (x86 or x64)
  11. Click OK
  12. Click Create
  13. On the "Create Sysprep answer file for Windows 7" window, complete all fields.
    •  All fields must be completed or Sysprep will fail, rendering your image unusable
    • The License Key must be a Volume License Product Key.  Microsoft will not allow you to use an OEM product key with Sysprep
    • Enter the Product key with the dashes included
    • You must configure the Sysprep answer file to join your computer to a domain
  14. When all fields are complete, click OK
  15. Click OK
  16. Close all open windows in the Ghost Console and then close the Ghost Console itself
  17. Locate the Sysprep answer file you just created
    • If the Ghost Console runs on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2, you'll find the unattend.xml file here:  C:\ProgramData\Symantec\Ghost\Sysprep\Config (locate the file that has the date/time stamp that matches the time you created the file in the Ghost Console)
    • If the Ghost Console runs on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you'll find the file here:  C:\Documents and Settings\All users\Application Data\Symantec\Ghost\Sysprep\Config (locate the file that has the date/time stamp that matches the time you created the file in the Ghost Console)
  18. Copy the unattend.xml file to a location that is convenient to access

Third, modify the answer file using the Windows System Image Manager 

  1. Open the Windows System Image Manager software
  2. Click File > Open Answer File...
  3. Browse to the unattend.xml answer file you created with the steps above and open it
  4. If you are prompted to browse to a Windows Image file, browse to the *.clg file located on the Windows 7 installation media.  The file is located in the "sources" folder of the Windows installation media
  5. Under the "Answer File" section, expand "4 specialize"
  6. Select "x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_neutral"
  7. In the upper right-hand pane (the Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup Properties pane), expand "Settings"
  8. Change the "CopyProfile" option to true
  9. Click File > Save Answer File As...
  10. Browse to a new location to store the modified answer file.  Use unattend.xml for the filename.

Once the answer file has been modified, you can import that modified file back into the Ghost Console for use with Ghost Console tasks.  You can also copy the answer file directly to the client computer and run Sysprep manually from there.  Here are the directions for both options:

Importing the modified answer file into the Ghost Console for use with Image Create Tasks 

  1. Open the Ghost Console
  2. Expand Configuration Resources
  3. Click Sysprep Configurations
  4. Right-click in the right-hand pane and select the option for "New Sysprep Configuration"
  5. Provide a name for this new configuration.  For example, Windows 7 Professional x86
  6. Click Browse
  7. Select the appropriate version of Windows 7 Sysprep and click OK
  8. Click Import
  9. Browse to the modified answer file, select it, and click Open
  10. Click OK

You can now include this new Sysprep configuration with Image Create tasks in the Ghost Console.

Running Sysprep locally from the client computer with the modified unattend.xml file 

  1. Create a folder on the "c" drive called Sysprep
  2. Copy the modified unattend.xml file into C:\Sysprep on your client computer
  3. Click Start and type CMD.  Do not press enter
  4. When you see cmd.exe appear at the top of the start menu, right-click on it and select the option to "Run as Administrator"
  5. If prompted by User Account Controls, click Yes
  6. Change the directory to C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep
  7. Run the following command to start the Sysprep process:
    • sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /reboot /unattend:C:\Sysprep\unattend.xml
  8. At this point, Sysprep will begin the first phase
  9. After the first phase is completed, the client computer will reboot
  10. When the client computer reboots, you must boot to a Ghost boot disk (you can create a bootable CD, bootable thumb drive, or PXE boot package from the Ghost Boot Wizard). 
  11. Do not allow the client to boot back into Windows.  If the client starts to boot back into Windows, you must allow it to complete and then restart this process again. 
  12. When you boot to the Ghost Boot Media, you will eventually see Ghost open.
  13. When Ghost opens, you can create a local image by storing the image file on an attached external hard drive.  You can also store the image on a mapped network drive.  Finally, you can also GhostCast the image back to the Ghost Server computer. 
  14. Once Ghost has completed the image create process, you should receive completion confirmation. 
  15. You should now have a Syspreped image stored in the location you specified.
  16. Choose the option to Restart the computer when prompted
  17. When the computer reboots, the last phases of Sysprep will complete. 

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