Video Screencast Help

Sysprep Help

Created: 30 Nov 2012 • Updated: 01 Dec 2012 | 12 comments

Could someone please shed some light on the sysprep options in CMS 7.1. I'm  running into an issue where my image is not getting a randomized computer name after deployment. (I keeps the name that it had when it was built)  I was under the impression that the "prep image for capture" generalized the image, and the custome sysprep option on the deployment side took care of the option to randomize computer names. I'm I wrong in thinking this? I am  assuming that if using these options in CMS, I wouldn't have to sysprep during a normal windows 7 install. Should I have run sysprep during the original install?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Comments 12 CommentsJump to latest comment

Sally5432's picture

When you built the computer image, did you do a prepare for image capture?

Our imaging process sets computer name to serial, but with your unattend file I believe you can set it to something like COMPANAY-XX where XX is a incrementing number.

Don't forget to mark posts as helpful if they are, and mark answers as solutions.

rckid's picture

Yes, I prepared the image for capture. I don't believe that the deploy image task is reading my unattend.xml file that I specified in the task.


Thomas Baird's picture

Your impression is partly true, but not completely.

When sysprep runs, it resets the system to run MiniSetup the next time around.  There is an "option" in the Unattend.XML file you deliver to MiniSetup to have a completely random computer name (literally, an * is placed in as the computer name).  Most find the naming convention from Microsoft to be less than satisfactory, so they try something else.

In the Deployment Solution product, you have the option to build a configuration that can be applied to computers for naming them that includes a base "name" and an incrementing add-on to the base.  This is done through an "apply system configuration" task post imaging.

Others have found a way to do this prior to imaging in Automation, but these are not supported and have to be manually scripted.

Without one of those two though, you'll get essentially what you are getting.

OH, you could also supply your own unattend file in the deployment task with the * in place to get the cool random Windows name.

Anyway, that should get you started on the right path to what you actually want.  Most likely, you want the Apply System Configuration task.  Take a look at that and what it can do via custom profiles.  I think you'll like it.  Not perfect, but not bad either.  No, it can't use tokens.

Thomas Baird
Enthusiast for making things better!

rckid's picture


I guess the sysprep process through the "Prepare image for capture" isn't reading my Unattend.xml. I'm assuming your reference to the section in the deploy image task where you have the option to specify a custom unattend.xml?


Nelo's picture


I would recommend you pass your own answer file when deploying an image. Then for the computer name you could use the "*" or a more elaborate name


rckid's picture

I agree. That is exactly what I'm trying to do. I don't know why my unattend.xml file is not being read from during the deploy image task.


Nelo's picture

once the deploy image is completed, while in automation, see the contents of the unattend answer file under c:\windows\panther  (the drive might be D: if you have the 100M OS drive).  It should contain your asnwer file.  also x:\program files\altiris\altiris agent\log should have a log file for the task see if there are any errors.

hbishman's picture

Hi, We just stared using Altiris for the firstime here. The version is 7.1.

I used the default settings from the conole and never have any problem.

Here are teh steps I used.

1. Prepped a computer with all apps and desired settings etc. Including a generic name, company_pc.

2. Create a new client job and 3 tasks. Prep for Image captire, Capture Image and Reboot to Automation).

I reboot to Automation to test the image deploy.

I then ran the job to deploy the image which has 3  tasks also, (Deploy Image, Reboot to Production and Apply System Configuration).

During the system configuration the computer name is set to change.

We never have any issue with duplicate sids.

Hope this helps.


rckid's picture

Ok, I'm going crazy trying to figure this out. I just spent 2.5 on the phone with support and I'm no further ahead. What I'm trying to do is NOT that difficult and I realize it's something that I'm doing wrong, or simply not doing.

All I want is to apply MY unattended.xml file prior to the machine booting into production. In the answer file, I'm not asking for much. A unique computer name, an enabled administrator's accout, and the default profile (copyprofile option). All of which I can do if I where not doing it through Altiris. Meaning, I've verified that the answer file works. (using sysprep in audit mode)

So many members of the forum state that they are using their own answer file, however I was told today by support that it was NOT the recommended way and that I should use the system configuration options. However, would like to use the answer file method, as I believe it's a much cleaner process and it allows for a more customized deployment.

I would really appreciate it if any member that is currently using their own answer file could point me in the right direction. Below is what I've done.

1. Created a "Golden" Image.
2. Created job with 4 tasks. (reboot to pxe, prepare for image capture, create image and reboot to production.

Then, for deployment....

I simply deploy the above created image with option to use custom sysprep configuration file. My unattended file was created using the standard method using Windows system image manager, and again is verified to work.


Sally5432's picture

What version are you running?  Latest deploywhere file (check the version)?  I've always used a custom unattend.  

I had never used an unattend before Altiris, so I struggled to get one working (outside of Altiris), but once I had it working outside of altiris, it worked in altiris just fine.  I can post mine (32 bit win7 ent) if it would help you.

Edit - Attached my xml file.  I kept it as simple as possible for our needs - skip rearm, set EST, set local admin as enabled and set password (hashed and removed from this posted file). Add shortcuts to taskbar for office.  Maybe if you try my file and it works you can do process of elimination against yours.  If the same file (once you put your password in) doesn't work for you, you'll know it's environmental ?

Don't forget to mark posts as helpful if they are, and mark answers as solutions.

rckid's picture

Ok, I got this figured out! As I stated in my previous post it was probably something I was doing wrong. It certainly was.....

Basically, in my capture job, I was booting to pxe, then running the prepare for image capture. Essentially, I was preparing for image capture in the preboot environment. I simply needed to prepare for image capture, create image, then reboot to production.

Thank all of you for helping in bailing me out. I truly appreciate it.


SteffenBorge's picture


You can add a custom .xml sysprep fil during deployment, so that Sysprep is run as a task after the image have been deployed. 

This is how I have set it up, and works flawlessly for atleast us. (aprox 1200 pc's)