Sysprepping Server 2008

Hello all,

This my first post on this blog (if it wasn’t obvious enough), but I’m going to spare you all the boring welcome to the blog and get down to business before I forget what I am blogging about here.

I do need to mention a few things before getting started though

My name is Dirk and I work at the College of Business in my university, specifically on the web development team. I program for SharePoint but also enjoy building and maintaining servers. My current project is to build and maintain ten virtual (Hyper-V) Server 2008 development servers for the team. Each team member needs a semi-isolated development environment with a unique SharePoint instance so if their tests crash it, it does not affect any other people.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, here’s the good stuff…​

Now, continuing along the same lines as the subject of this post, I have been researching the unattend.xml file for sysprepping a system for the last week in an effort to find a template I could fill out for our latest Server '08 builds. A guy from another section of our IT department has a sysprep file from Windows XP, which apparently doesn’t work for Server 2008 (well…​it was worth a try though).

All week I have been Googling things like create unattend.xml, generate unattend.xml, sysprep unattend.xml, sysprep unattend file, and various other searches that escape me now. Today I thought I’d try sysprep.xml because I recalled seeing that somewhere. Low and behold, I discovered (as the first search result), the exact website I needed. It has a template sysprep.xml file that was actually designed for my exact circumstance (incredible, yes?).

Here’s the link:

To use the sysprep.xml file, I have a batch file I created that runs the command…​

C:\Windows\System32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /generalize /shutdown /unattend:C:\ProgramData\sysprep\sysprep.xml

Removes all unique identifiers of the machine.


Specifies that the machine shutdown after the sysprep process rather than restarting


Process after reboot.

Many thanks Brian. You brought my seemingly endless search for a sysprep template file to an end.

To end on an even more positive note, after sysprepping the server build, I did not have to respond to a single prompt with the exception of logging in as Administrator. It did everything for me.