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Sysprep Command-Line Syntax

This topic describes the command line syntax for the Windows Vista version of Sysprep.

If you intend to transfer a Windows image to a different computer, you must run sysprep /generalize, even if the computer has the same hardware configuration. The sysprep /generalize command removes unique information from your Windows installation, which enables you to reuse that image on different computers. The next time you boot the Windows image, the specialize configuration pass runs. During this configuration pass, many components have actions that must be processed when you boot a Windows image on a new computer. Any method of moving a Windows image to a new computer, either through imaging, hard disk duplication, or other method, must be prepared with the sysprep /generalize command. Moving or copying a Windows image to a different computer without running sysprep /generalize is not supported.

Sysprep Command-Line Options

The following command-line options are available for Sysprep:

sysprep.exe [/oobe | /audit] [/generalize] [/reboot | /shutdown | /quit] [/quiet] [**/unattend:**answerfile]

Option Description


Restarts the computer into audit mode. Audit mode enables you to add additional drivers or applications to Windows. You can also test an installation of Windows before it is sent to an end user.

If an unattended Windows setup file is specified, the audit mode of Windows Setup runs the auditSystem and auditUser configuration passes.


Prepares the Windows installation to be imaged. If this option is specified, all unique system information is removed from the Windows installation. The security ID (SID) resets, any system restore points are cleared, and event logs are deleted.

The next time the computer starts, the specialize configuration pass runs. A new security ID (SID) is created, and the clock for Windows activation resets, if the clock has not already been reset three times.


Restarts the computer into Windows Welcome mode. Windows Welcome enables end users to customize their Windows operating system, create user accounts, name the computer, and other tasks. Any settings in the oobeSystem configuration pass in an answer file are processed immediately before Windows Welcome starts.


Restarts the computer. Use this option to audit the computer and to verify that the first-run experience operates correctly.


Shuts down the computer after Sysprep completes.


Runs Sysprep without displaying on-screen confirmation messages. Use this option if you automate Sysprep.


Closes Sysprep after running the specified commands.


Applies settings in an answer file to Windows during unattended installation.


Specifies the path and file name of the answer file to use.

See Also


What is Sysprep?
How Sysprep Works