How to prevent Microsoft Sysprep from disabling the local administrator account on Windows 7


Article ID: 180311


Updated On:


Ghost Solution Suite




Note: The following procedures are for the Microsoft Sysprep application and therefore not supported by Symantec Technical Support.  If these instructions fail to help, please contact Microsoft and provide your answer file to their Technical Support Staff.

To complete this process, you will need access to the following:

  1. The Windows 7 installation media
  2. The Symantec Ghost Console
  3. The Windows System Image Manager

First, create your answer file using the Symantec Ghost Console:

  1. Open the Symantec Ghost Console.
  2. Click File > New > Image Create Task.
  3. Click the Sysprep tab.
  4. Check the box next to Run Microsoft Sysprep on this machine before creating the image.
  5. Click Browse.
  6. Click Sysprep Configurations.
  7. Click New... > New Item.
  8. In the Name field, type Windows 7 Sysprep (or any other name of your choice).
  9. Click Browse.
  10. Select the version of Windows 7 that is applicable to you (x86 or x64).
  11. Click OK.
  12. Click Create.
  13. On the Create Sysprep answer file for Windows 7 window, enter the information you are prompted for.
    • If you choose to enter the product key, it must be entered with the dashes included.
    • In the Computer Name field, do not enter a combination of a character string and wildcard.  Enter a wildcard (*) alone or leave the field blank to generate a generic computer name.
  14. When all fields are complete, click OK.
  15. Click OK.
  16. Close all open windows in the Symantec Ghost Console and then close the Symantec Ghost Console itself.
  17. Locate the Microsoft Sysprep answer file you just created.
    • If the Symantec Ghost Console runs on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2, you will find the unattend.xml file here:  C:\ProgramData\Symantec\Ghost\Sysprep\Config (locate the file that has the date/time stamp that matches the time you created the file in the Symantec Ghost Console)
    • If the Symantec Ghost Console runs on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you'll find the file here:  C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\Ghost\Sysprep\Config (locate the file that has the date/time stamp that matches the time you created the file in the Ghost Console)
  18. Copy this unattend.xml file to a location that is convenient to access.

Second, modify the answer file using the Windows System Image Manager:

  1. Open the Windows System Image Manager Software.
  2. Click File > Open Answer File...
  3. Browse to the unattend.xml answer file that you created with the steps above and open it.
  4. If you are prompted to browse to a Windows Image file, browse to the *.clg file located on the Windows 7 installation media.  The file is located in the Sources folder of the Windows installation media.
  5. Under the Windows Image section, expand Components > x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup.
  6. Right-click on AutoLogon.  From the resulting menu, left-click on Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem.
  7. Further down the list, right-click on User Accounts.  From the resulting menu, left-click on Add Setting to Pass 7 oobeSystem.
  8. In the Answer File section, expand 7oobeSystem.
  9. Expand x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_neutral.
  10. Left-click on AutoLogon.
  11. In the AutoLogon Properties pane, click the Drop-down arrow for the Enabled field and set this to true.
  12. In the LogonCount field, enter the number of times that you should automatically log into the Administrator account.  Note:  The value for this field has to be 1 or greater.
  13. In the Username field, enter Administrator.
  14. In the Answer File pane, expand 7oobeSystem > x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_neutral > UserAccounts > Administrator Password.
  15. In the Value field, enter the local administrator password.
  16. Click File > Save Answer File As...
  17. Browse to a location to store the new answer file and click Save.

Third, import the modified answer file into the Symantec Ghost Console for use with Image Create Tasks:

  1. Open the Symantec Ghost Console.
  2. Expand Configuration Resources.
  3. Click Sysprep Configurations.
  4. Right-click in the right-hand pane and selection the option for New Sysprep Configuration.
  5. Provide a name for this new configuration.  For example, Windows 7 Professional x86.
  6. Click Browse.
  7. Select the appropriate version of Windows 7 Sysprep and click OK.
  8. Click Import.
  9. Browse to the modified answer file, select it, and click Open.
  10. Click OK.

You can now include this new Microsoft Sysprep configuration with Image Create Tasks in the Symantec Ghost Console.