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Quick Guide to Imaging Pre-Activated Windows XP Pro Workstations with ZENworks and Sysprep

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Kraig Obermiller

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Posted: 5 Oct 2005
 

ENVIRONMENT:
Windows XP Pro SP1/SP2
Client 4.82, Client 4.91
ZENworks 4 and 6.5
NetWare 5/6/6.5
PROBLEM: ZENworks imaged machines do not login properly after imaging.
"problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the license for this computer. Error: 0x80090006"

For many of us out there wandering between projects, we often don't take much time (or don't have it to begin with) to learn about Microsoft's latest tools to thwart piracy. I've been using ZENworks for Desktops for almost four years and the ZENworks Imaging Server has been a wonderful and cheap replacement for Symantec's Ghost product. Moving from Windows 2000 Pro to Windows XP Pro this summer ran me into a problem that I couldn't get around without three days of painstaking and hairline-affecting work.

When migrating to Windows XP Pro, I installed the XP OS and applications, then made images for each model type. When I started imaging machines, I noticed that most wouldn't allow me to log onto the network, so I logged onto the local machine, but got messages like "problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the license for this computer. Error: 0x80090006" - or the machine would simply accept a login then return me to a login dialog.

Here are the steps that I took to create the pre-activated XP Pro images:

  1. Using a Volume License copy of Windows XP Pro, partition and format the workstation. (If you want to create a ZENworks partition, now's the time!) Install XP and the corresponding hardware drivers.
  2. Create a "sysprep" folder at the root of the system drive (C:\sysprep, etc.) Extract the contents of the Deploy.cab file found on the XP install CD in the Support\Tools directory to the %SYSTEMDRIVE%\sysprep folder.
  3. Run the sysprep.exe file from the %SYSTEMDRIVE%\sysprep folder. Click the factory button in the sysprep dialog box.
  4. After the machine restarts, run the SetupMgr.exe utility from the %SYSTEMDRIVE%\sysprep folder to create an automated sysprep.inf file to be left in the %SYSTEMDRIVE%\sysprep folder. Here I manually edited the sysprep.inf file to comment out the entries in the [Network] section, as I have DHCP running and my Novell client was already configured. If the [Network] sections is left intact, your current configuration is replaced by the default Windows configuration of DHCP assigned address, IP protocol, and Microsoft client.
  5. Rebooting again (it is Windows!), the sysprep dialog window comes up. Here, check the radio boxes for "do not reset grace period for activation," "use mini-setup", and "don't regenerate security identifiers." Then click the RESEAL button. This last step shuts the workstation down and sets the machine for distribution/imaging.
  6. Finally there! Boot the workstation from the ZENworks CD/Partition/Floppies and create your image!

I've included the sysprep.inf to help you get started. Just compare it to the file you create using the SetupMgr.exe tool.

Example

;SetupMgrTag
[Unattended]
    OemSkipEula=Yes
    InstallFilesPath=C:\sysprep\i386

[GuiUnattended]
    AdminPassword="insertpasswordhere"
    EncryptedAdminPassword=NO
    OEMSkipRegional=1
    TimeZone=35
    OemSkipWelcome=1

[UserData]
    ProductKey=WINDO-WSXPP-ROVOL-UMELI-CENSE
    FullName="Your Division or Department Name Here"
    OrgName="Your Company Name Here"
    ComputerName=BIGMAMA

[TapiLocation]
    CountryCode=1
    AreaCode=570

[RegionalSettings]
    LanguageGroup=1

[SetupMgr]
    DistFolder=C:\sysprep\i386
    DistShare=windist

[Identification]
    JoinWorkgroup=MAMASGROUP

[Networking]
;    InstallDefaultComponents=Yes

If you have any questions you may contact Kraig at obermiller@gmail.com


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