How to Use Sysprep in Factory Mode

Sysprep is a tool designed for corporate system administrators, OEMs, and others who need to deploy the Windows® XP operating system on multiple computers. After performing the initial setup steps on a single system, you can run Sysprep to prepare the sample computer for cloning.

The Factory mode of Sysprep is a method of preconfiguring installation options that can reduce the number of images an OEM needs to maintain.

Use Factory mode to install additional drivers and applications at the stage after the reboot that follows Sysprep. Normally, running Sysprep as the last step in the preinstallation process prepares the computer for delivery. When rebooted, the computer displays Windows Welcome or Mini–Setup.

By running Sysprep with the –factory option, the computer reboots in a network–enabled state without starting Windows Welcome or Mini–Setup. In this state, Factory.exe processes its answer file, Winbom.ini, and performs the following actions:

  1. Copies drivers from a network source to the computer.

  2. Starts Plug and Play enumeration.

  3. Stages, installs, and uninstalls applications on the computer from source files located on either the computer or a network source.

  4. Adds customer data.

In this state, you can audit the computer. When finished, run Sysprep with the –reseal option to prepare the computer for delivery to the customer.

For example, you can create a master installation that contains a minimal set of drivers, run sysprep–factory, create an image of the installation, and copy the image to multiple destination computers. If any destination computers require additional drivers, run sysprep –factory on the destination computer and load those drivers at that time.

Note  You can restart the computer after sealing it with Sysprep, without restarting in Windows Welcome, by adding the OEMAuditBoot = 1 entry to the [Options] section in Oobeinfo.ini.

Build–to–order modifications to images

OEMs that use the build–to–order scenario can integrate their sales–order systems by using Factory mode to prepopulate customer information in the answer file Winbom.ini, such as name, time zone, and so on. You can also update other .ini or answer files, such as Sysprep.inf, Oobeinfo.ini, or .isp and .ins files, during Factory mode.

Managing the appearance of the Sysprep dialog box

You can change registry settings to hide the appearance of the Sysprep dialog box. For more information, see Using the Registry to Control Sysprep in Factory Mode.

The Sysprep dialog box is shown in Figure 1 below:

Sysprep dialog box

Figure 1. Using Sysprep

Locating a Winbom.ini file

Sysprep searches the following locations in order for a Winbom.ini file:

  • The path and file name specified by the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Factory\Winbom.

  • The root of all removable media drives that are not CD–ROM drives, such as a floppy disk drive.

  • The root of all CD–ROM drives.

  • The location of Factory.exe, usually the %systemdrive%\Sysprep folder.

  • The root of %systemdrive.

After locating a Winbom.ini file, Sysprep reads the value of the WinbomType entry in the [Factory] section.

If the value of WinbomType is not appropriate in this context, the Winbom.ini file is ignored and Sysprep continues searching for a Winbom.ini file. If the value of WinbomType is appropriate in this context, Sysprep reads the value of the NewWinbom entry in the [Factory] section. If a value is specified for NewWinbom, and a Winbom.ini file is located at that location, Sysprep examines that Winbom.ini file for a NewWinbom entry.

This cycle continues until Sysprep locates a Winbom.ini file of the correct type that does not contain a NewWinbom entry or for a maximum of ten times, whichever occurs first. Sysprep then continues to run in Factory mode, using the settings in the last identified Winbom.ini file.

When you run Sysprep in Factory mode, NewWinbom is only processed once at each boot.