Ghost Solution suite 2.5, cloning Windows 7, sysprep and KMS
I have used GSS to clone Windows XP computers for a good while, but I am now facing cloning Windows 7 computers for the first time. I have googled on the subject and discovered many tips (Windows 7 needs two partitions to boot, how to enable local admin account after sysprep and so on) but sysprep has left me confused even after reading several articles and blog posts on the subject. I should mention that we do not use Active Directory.
I have not used sysprep with Windows XP. With Windows XP I have created a complete image with applications, drivers and customized user profile settings and then cloned that image to computers that are identical in hardware and function. With Windows 7 I must use sysprep. I have installed a KMS-server that has the necessary Windows 7 activation key.
I would like continue using my old routine: create a complete image with applications, device drivers and customized user profile settings, but some articles on sysprep suggest that it is not possible, that some settings are lost in the sysprep /generalize process that is required for KMS to work.
1) Is it possible to install drivers, applications and customize per user profile settings for the master image, or will sysprepr /generalize screw them over?
2) Windows activation, KMS and sysprep. I have read about rearm/skiprearm, but have not understood them completely. With KMS the activation limit (3 per installation) is apparently eliminated. Do i need to use skiprearm when creating my master image and/or when cloning the clients? If so, how exactly?
3) Can I install all the stuff I need (applications, drivers, user profiles and their customized settings) and then sysprep and create the master image? Some articles say one must use syprep /audit mode to install application and customize settings on the master computer before creating the image. Is this true? If so, at what stage (right after installing windows or before any third party drivers and applications are installed)?
4) Can I control the image creation process from start to finish from within Ghost Console? One user executed sysprep that ended with a shutdown command. Then he created the master image using a ghost boot cd. That sounds clumsy. I had assumed, upon starting an image create task, that the computer would first execute sysprep and then reboot into the GSS virtual partition that would create the master image
5) Does the restoration of old computer name and ip address settings after cloning work when using sysprep? Some examples have suggested that the computer name needs to be specified in sysprep settings (if left empty, random names will be generated).
6) We have some computers with Windows XP that will be upgraded to Windows 7. Can I use ghost to clone a Windows XP computer with a new Windows 7 image?