Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM

My name is Jitesh Kumar, and I have more than 3 years of experience in the IT Domain, having expertise in Windows 10 deployment, including the various Microsoft tools (ConfigMgr, MDT) and deployment solutions. I’ll have more posts in the future.

In this post, you will learn details about running Sysprep capture Windows 10 Image using DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) Tool.

Introduction

DISM is a command-line tool that can service a Windows image or prepare a Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) image. It can be used to mount and service a Windows image from a .wim file, .ffu file, .vhd file, or a .vhdx file and update a running operating system. It can be used with older Windows image files (.wim files).

Patch My PC

DISM is in the c:\windows\system32 folder of all Windows 10 installations, but you can run DISM in the command prompt from any location.

Why Use DISM -In most organizations, Windows Image deployments are preferred through Microsoft Deployment Tools [SCCM, MDT]. But, due to applied policies in the environment several times, we are not permitted to run the capture Task Sequences.

What is SysPrep?

Sysprep (System Preparation) prepares a Windows installation (Windows client and Windows Server) for imaging, allowing you to capture a customized installation. Sysprep removes PC-specific information from a Windows installation, “generalizing” the installation to be installed on different PCs.

With Sysprep, you can configure the PC to boot to audit mode, where you can make additional changes or updates to your image. Or, you can configure Windows to boot to the Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE).

Benefits of using Sysprep

  • Removes system-specific data from Windows. Sysprep can remove all system-specific information from an installed Windows image, including the computer security identifier (SID). The Windows installation can then be captured and installed throughout an organization.
  • Configures Windows to boot to Audit mode. Audit mode enables you to install third-party applications and device drivers, as well as to test the functionality of the computer.
  • Configures Windows to boot to Windows Welcome. Configures a Windows installation to boot to Windows Welcome the next time the computer starts. In general, you configure a system to boot to Windows Welcome immediately before delivering the computer to a customer.
  • Resets Windows Product Activation. Sysprep can reset Windows Product Activation up to three times.

Limitations

  • You must use only the version of Sysprep that is installed with the Windows image that you intend to configure
  • Only an administrator can run Sysprep.
  • Only one instance of Sysprep can run at a time.
  • Sysprep must not be used on upgrade installation types. Run Sysprep only on clean installations.
  • The Sysprep tool runs only if the computer is a member of a workgroup, not a domain. If the computer is joined to a domain, Sysprep removes the computer from the domain.
  • You can run Sysprep command up to 1001 times on a single Windows image. After running Sysprep 1001 times, you must recreate your Windows image.

Prerequisites

Software Requirements

  • Hyper-V
  • Windows Operating System ISO
  • Windows ADK to create a WinPE ISO (Download)

Overview – Windows Capture Process

The following steps help you to perform the windows capture. Once you have the prepared machines with all prerequisites, customizations.

  1. Run Sysprep Utility
  2. Boot a virtual machine in WinPE
  3. Run DISM Command to cature the image, store the image either to network share/USB storgae
  4. Once the process completed, you will get Windows Image (.wim) file
Overview of Capturing process in Virtual Machine with DISM - Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image
Overview of Capturing process in Virtual Machine with DISM – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Create WinPE ISO

The next step is to create a WinPE ISO to use with Virtual Machine

Start the DISM (Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment) Run as administrator.

Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image
Launch Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Run the below command for copies of amd64 boot files.

copype amd64 C:\WinPE_amd64
Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 1
Type the command in an appeared screen – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Started creating Windows PE working directory in the specified location.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 2
Execution has started, Copying required files in the directory – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Once Windows PE working directory is successfully created. Use MakeWinPEMedia with the /ISO option to create an ISO file that contains the WinPE files.

 MakeWinPEMedia /ISO C:\WinPE_amd64 C:\WinPE_amd64\WinPE_amd64.iso
Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 3
After completion success message will appear – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

The WinPE ISO has been successfully generated.

ISO Creation has completed - Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image
ISO Creation has been completed – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Why We Need Virtual Machine to Prepare for Capturing?

Tips! Building an image from a VM allows you to use Checkpoint/state restores. With checkpoint, you can revert your operating system state to any saved state later, which is useful to run right before you begin the capture process. That is a value-added feature for experimenting with software or tweaks that may cause problems in the operating system.

Capturing an image from hardware will result in driver injection failure on several new models coming out now. When building a universal image for deployment, you do not want any hardware-specific configurations in your image.

Additional Tips & Tricks

While preparing the system to capture, you have to consider these steps.

  • Perform a clean installation of Windows Operating System.
  • During installation create a local Administrator account.
  • After installation is complete, log in to the system with created local Administrator account.

Before connecting with the network, ensure that the Windows store apps do not get automatically updated.

Apply Local GPO Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Store Enable -Turn off Automatic Download and Install of updates policy

Perform ‘Prepare for image capture’ prerequisite tasks

  • Check for Windows update to install the latest patches to the system.
  • Don’t include drivers in captured Image.
  • Don’t install any Microsoft Store apps using the Microsoft Store.
  • Verify that necessary applications, updates and language packs are installed on Windows, Time Zone is configured and validate other system personalization.
  • Before start capturing, clean up your system.
  • Remove Quick Access history from file explorer.
  • Run Disk Clean-up, empty the Recycle Bin, Some other common directories that can be cleaned up include: %LocalAppData%\temp,C:\Windows\Temp.
  • Delete all profiles before running SYSPREP. The only profiles that should be in WIM is Administrator and Default.
  • Remove unwanted Built-in apps form Windows Store.

Why Should We Generalize the Image?

We need to generalize the image to remove unique specific information, replace the Computer SID related to an image and make it ready for deployment on different platforms.

Generalize Image and Run Sysprep

Insert Disk to mount the WinPE ISO (created explained in the above section) file by providing the path where the ISO file is located. To boot the prepared image in WinPE, that will be needed to start the capturing.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 4
Choose Media > DVD Drive > Insert Disk… select ISO to attach

Once the ISO file is mounted, it will appear as shown below

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 5
Attach WinPE ISO is displayed – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image
  • Use SYSPREP to prepare the system for capture
  • Sysprep can be executed in two modes either through the GUI or Command prompt.

GUI Mode

Start the Sysprep.exe utility Run as administrator located in folder C:\Windows\System32\sysprep directory.

Launching System Preparation Tool - Run as administrator  - Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image
Launching System Preparation Tool – Run as administrator – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image
  • Tick the Generalize checkbox and select Shutdown options.
  • Shutdown – Once sysprep complete, machine will automatically shutdown.
Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 6
Tick Generalize and choose Shutdown from the drop-down list

Click on OK to start the process.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 7
System Preparation Tool – Selected Generalize and Shutdown

Sysprep started running. Please wait for a few moments! Once Sysprep completes, the machine will shut down after processing the changes.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 8
Sysprep started working to generalize image

Command Prompt

  • Start command prompt Run as administrator.
  • Go to Sysprep folder to locate Sysprep utility and type the following command for execution.

Sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 9
Command Changes directory to run Sysprep Tool – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Sysprep started running. Please wait for a few moments! Once Sysprep completes, the machine will shut down after processing the changes.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 10
Sysprep started working to generalize image

The system generalizes the images and shutting down. Start the virtual machine. Your virtual machine should appear like this.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 11
Virtual Machine is starting – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Capture Windows Image after Generalize

Boot the virtual machine with Windows PE media.

You may be prompted to “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…..“. Go ahead and press the key.

Important: You may need to click inside the window to ensure that your keystrokes are sent to the virtual machine.

Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image
Need users input to boot from attached WinPE ISO – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

The machine should boot to the Command prompt for PE, identified as X:\

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 12
Virtual Machine is boot up with WinPE – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Important! The system must be connected with the stable network to save the image file to the network share.

  • Identify the network IP address where you will save the capture image.
  • Use net use command to map a network shared folder to save the image.
  • If prompted provide the user credentials for connection.
Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 13
Create a share that will be used to store captured WIM – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Run the following Dism command to capture the Windows partition. For Example :

Dism /Capture-Image /Compress:maximum /ImageFile:\\<NetworkSharePath>\SurfacePro.wim /CaptureDir:D:\ /Name:"SurfacePro"

/ImageFile: Specifies the path of the file where the image will save.

/Compress: Specifies the type of compression used for the initial capture operation. The maximum option provides the best compression.

/CaptureDir: Specifies the directory to which the image was applied.

Note: Assigning of drive letters to partitions is handled by WinPE when it first boots up, normally assigns the System Reserved partition a drive letter C: and the OS partition a drive letter D:

Here the image capture is running.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 14
Saving Image in Progress – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

The Image file is successfully captured in a shared folder, Copy the image and use it for deployment.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 15
After saving the image successful completion message appeared – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Deploy Capture Windows Image

We can either use WinPE, Configuration Manager, or Microsoft Deployment Tools to deploy the captured image.

The post will help you manage the deployment of Windows Captured Image & Deploy Windows Image using MDT + SCCM – Deploy Windows Captured Image Using SCCM and MDT.

Troubleshooting

Windows image will cause Sysprep to fail when you update an app from the Microsoft Store. That app becomes tied to the logged-in user account.

You may encounter an issue that occurs when you remove or update a provisioned Microsoft Store app by using the Microsoft Store and then running Sysprep on the computer.

Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM 16
Error – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

Review the log file at %Windir%\System32\Sysprep\Panther\setupact.log. The following error appears in the log files.

Review setupact.log Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image
Review setupact.log – Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

This Microsoft article discusses an issue when you remove or update a provisioned Microsoft store app.

To resolve this issue, remove the appx package for the user. You will get package information from the log file.

  • Start Powershell run as administrator.
  • Type the following command to remove the package.
  • Run Remove-AppxPackage -Package <packagefullname> from PowerShell.

ResourcesSysprep Capture Windows 10 Image

19 thoughts on “Learn How to Sysprep Capture Windows 10 Image using DISM”

  1. Hi Jitesh,

    How do I make sure that the Sysprep does not wipe the installed programs

    Thanks for your help. Your tutorial was most helpful

    Reply
  2. What do I do if my image for the D drive is only 2 kb? I have sysprepped the server OS and followed everything to a T, but for some reason the OS Partition is only 2 kb, but the System Reserved Partition is 311 mb, which sounds right.

    Please help.

    Reply
    • Hello Sean, At the WinPE Stage Could you please try to launch the Notepad and check the driver where the Image is getting installed. As it could be varied at the WinPE. Generally, the OS driver is indicating with a driver letter D.

      Reply
      • It looks like I wasn’t seeing the right drives because the server I am imaging has a Software Raid controller, specifically the Perc S140. I was able to download this driver, and inject it into my WinPE environment using Drvload. Now I can see the array and image it.

        My D drive image was so small because it was a partition I had created to store images on my WinPE USB.

        Thanks again for the response, and this awesome write up.

        Sean

  3. February 21, 2022
    Hello,
    I don’t quite understand your steps for “sysprep”, WinPE and DISM.

    Assume the computer is “clean”. His hard drive has just been purchased.
    So, what are the steps without using a server or virtual machine?
    There is an external hard drive attached to the blank computer.

    We have:
    Windows 10 Pro iso (from the official Microsoft site) on USB key.
    You can use Legal or UEFI mode

    Steps
    1-We start the PC and we go to the BIOS to ask to boot on the USB key.
    2-We turn off the PC.
    3-We insert the key in the computer and we start again.
    4-We see Windows 10 appear and its installation.

    Since the goal is to have a Windows image using sysprep:
    Do I have to enter an activation key?
    Is it mandatory to have a Microsoft account?
    Is the Administrator account required or is the creation of an Administrator account, example: Paul, correct?
    Do we update Windows 10 before using sysprep?

    Next?
    C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe?
    In Audit mode or OOBE?
    We want to add Microsoft Office and other software and have them in the picture. When should it be done?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Paul, I am assuming all the steps are added in the post sequently! If you’re trying to capture an image from physical hardware, recommended using Virtual machines to prepare a generic image.
      Do I have to enter an activation key? – You can add an activation key while deploying an image.
      Is it mandatory to have a Microsoft account? No
      Is the Administrator account required or is the creation of an Administrator account, example: Paul, correct? If you’ll use (for example Paul) the account will be appearing for all users who’ll be going to use the same image if you not deleting the account, It’s best to use the Inbuilt administrator account to perform! Note: Using multiple accounts in the device may prevent performing Sysprep.
      Do we update Windows 10 before using sysprep? It’s best to update the image.

      You still have any questions, you can add to HTMDForum.com | We’ll happy to help you.

      Reply
    • Hello, I don’t think! The size of the image would be that around. Could you please validate whether you’re capturing the correct disk! If you’re at WinPE, you can Open Notepad in command prompt windows and browse to the local disk drive.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.