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Sysprep issue after upgrading from 6.9 to 7.1

Created: 06 Sep 2012 | 11 comments

I am relatively new to the Altiris world, and our company recently started an upgrade from 6.9 to 7.1.  Everything I reference below will be in regard to imaging Windows 7 x64 Enterprise SP1.

In 6.9, I had a job named "Windows 7 Image".  If I opened the properties, the only Task that drives it is "Distribute Disk Image", which points to our custom Win7.img file on the network.

Any time I wanted to image a PC with this job, I would simply drag and drop the job name onto one of the computer names listed in Altiris.  It would then either PXE boot the computer, or I would have to manually PXE boot.  Nonetheless, the image would execute, the Windows 7 screen would pop up, and the PC would restart a time or two (presumably applying configurations).  Ultimately, the process would be complete once it was at the log in screen with Administrator ready to be logged into (since, by default, this account is disabled in Windows 7).

Fast forward to 7.1

I imported the exact image that was successfully used in 6.9 into 7.1, and created a job that simply utilized this deployment task (seemingly identicaly to what was done in 6.9).  So, the computer PXE boots, the image goes onto the machine, and the machine restarts.  When it brings up the log in screen, there is no username entered.  There is no thumbnail/avatar either, just a blank square.  If I type in the administrator account and try to log in with a generic password (or what normally would have worked in 6.9), it tells me that this account has been disabled, thus making me question whether sysprep worked at all.

Has anyone experienced this before, or known of it happening to others?  I am hoping there is a simple change I can make to resolve this issue and allow us to image Windows 7 successfully on 7.1.

Thank you!

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joegman's picture

I am new as well, so this is the blind leading the blind, but I think what is happening is the Administrator account is disabled during the Prepare for Image capture task (Sysprep).  I have not worked on this yet, but I assume you need to include a task that reenables the Administrator account as part of your deploy image task.  Better to wait for more experienced help though.  My workaround during my testing phase is to include another account on my image I pull from so I can log in as that and reenable the Administrator account.

boonet's picture

Thanks for the reply, joegman.  That was my initial thought as well, but when I checked back to 6.9, there were no tasks similar to what you described, only one task, which was to deploy the image.  I'm not sure why they would add an additional task for this in 7.1.

joegman's picture

Again, still learning here and blind as a bat, but I don't think there is a task that re-enables the administrator account.  I think you will include that in an unattended.xml file (in the Deploy Image task, check the Custom Sysprep configuration file radio button and point to your unattended.xml file).  

boonet's picture

I agree, I don't see a task for this.  However, 6.9 was able to apply this configuration with the only job being the image deployment itself.  That is where my confusion is currently, I am trying to pick up on 7.1 myself.

bhawver's picture

I typically enable the admin account by executing a script after the image process is complete.

"net user administrator /active:yes"

If the machine is part of a domain, you should be able to run this script as a domain user that has admin rights.  If the machine is not part of a domain yet, I would suggest having an account setup as part of the image with admin rights.  We do this as a technician account to be used as a back door in case someone resets or disables the admin account on us.

Hope this helps.

Brian Hawver
Systems Engineer
Yaskawa America, Inc.

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boonet's picture

bhawver,

Is there a reason that this has to now be done manually?  In 6.9, this was enabled automatically without an additional command.

bhawver's picture

Not sure...in 6.9 (which I still actively use), I use this script there.

Brian Hawver
Systems Engineer
Yaskawa America, Inc.

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads.

boonet's picture

I have included a screenshot of the 6.9 job that we would click and drag over a PC name to image the machine.  After deploying the image, the PC would restart a couple times, and eventually have a login available as the Administrator.  

I have exported this same image, and then imported it into 7.1.  When I repeat the process in 7.1, it acts as if it is not applying the same configuration, as the administrator account remains disabled.

I am just curious as to what is different.

bhawver's picture

Not really sure.  DS 7.x isn't really in my realm of expertise, it's possible that 7.1 did something to the sysprep when importing the image or maybe during the deployment?  Also, if it is something that is usually handled in the unattend.xml, you can maybe put that file back in the image?

One other thing, you may want to consider moving to Ghost instead of using RDeploy as Symantec is dropping support in the future for RDeploy in favor of Ghost for the imaging engine.

Ultimately, I would deploy using 6.9, make any minor tweaks and then re-sysprep and capture using DS7.x.

Brian Hawver
Systems Engineer
Yaskawa America, Inc.

Connect Etiquette: "Mark as Solution" those posts which resolve your problem, and give a thumbs up to useful comments, articles and downloads.

boonet's picture

Thank you for the information.  I have opened a case with Symantec, and am hoping that they are able to help me resolve this issue.

boonet's picture

Upon further reading, I believe that this may be in part due to the original image being captured with the 6.9 agent embedded into it.  I am going to try to drop the image down in 6.9, remove the 6.9 agent, install the 7.1 agent, recapture the image and see if it will then allow me to apply the system configuration.