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Creating a "Works on Anything" Windows XP SP2 Workstation Image

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Andrew White

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Updated: 26 Oct 2005

Note: Freshly updated with a new suggestion.

This is the procedure I used to create our "works on anything" WXPSP2 ZENworks 6.5 workstation image.

  1. Find the oldest PC you can (in our case, a PIII450 with 256Mb RAM and an Intel 810 motherboard, for reasons to be explained later).
  2. Install XP Pro. (Reboot.)
  3. Install SP2. (Reboot).
  4. Run Windows Update. (Reboot.)
  5. Install the following NetWare client and ZENworks files:
    • b2nc491.exe (although I see beta3 is out now) (No reboot.)
    • Contextless Login
    • ZfDAgent.msi English agent from zfd65u2.exe (No reboot.)
    • nipp.exe from nipp312.exe (Reboot.)
  6. Login locally and tidy the PC up (delete temp files, unwanted menu items, etc).
  7. Run services.msc and turn off the following unused services (your site may/will vary especially if you use Active Directory and please backup first...).

  8.   From To
    Computer Browser Automatic   Disabled  
    Distributed Link Tracking Client Automatic Manual
    Error Reporting Service Automatic Disabled
    Help and Support Automatic Manual
    Indexing Service Manual Disabled
    Logical Disk Manager Automatic Manual
    Net Logon Manual Disabled
    NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing Manual Disabled
    Network Location Awareness Manual Disabled
    Network Provisioning Service Manual Disabled
    Performance Logs and Alerts Manual Disabled
    Portable Media Serial Number Manual Disabled
    QoS RSVP Manual Disabled
    Remote Desktop Help Session Manager   Manual Disabled
    Remote Registry Service Automatic Disabled
    Secondary Logon Automatic Disabled
    Security Center Automatic Disabled
    Server Automatic Disabled
    Smart Card Manual Disabled
    SSDP Discovery Service Manual Disabled
    System Restore Service Automatic Disabled
    TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper Service Automatic Disabled
    Telnet Manual Disabled
    Uninterruptible Power Supply Manual Disabled
    Universal Plug and Play Device Host Manual Disabled
    WebClient Automatic Disabled
    Windows Time Automatic Disabled
    Wireless Zero Configuration Automatic Disabled

    (For a full explanation of what does what, is an excellent reference site.)

  9. Sysprep and the answer wizard:
    1. Download the latest XP2 sysprep client from here
    2. Extract the files to c:\windows\sysprep
    3. Run Setupmgr.exe in the c:\windows\sysprep folder
    4. At the Welcome to the Windows Setup Manager Wizard screen, click Next.
    5. At the New or Existing Answer File screen, ensure that the Create a new answer file radio button is selected and click Next.
    6. At the Product to Install screen select the Sysprep Install radio button and click Next. At this point, setup the answer wizard according to your organisation's needs.
    7. At the end of the wizard, save the answer file as sysprep.inf and make a note of its path.
  10. Making the sysprep image run on any PC
    1. Open the recently saved sysprep.inf in notepad
    2. At the end of the file, add the following


    3. Save the file

      (Basically what you are doing here is telling XP to take every disk driver it has and ensure that it is part of the image, thus avoiding the accursed BSoD, boot disk not found. We have found that the older the PC we use, the more sucessful this process is!)

    4. Seal the workstation
      2. Run c:\sysprep\sysprep.exe
      3. Click on OK
      4. At the System Preparation Tool window enable the MiniSetup and Pre-activated tick-boxes. Ensure that Shutdown is selected from the Shutdown drop-down menu and click Reseal.
      5. At the prompt to continue with current settings and regenerate the SIDs click OK.

        (At this point sysprep will do its magic and shutdown the PC when it's finished. Because you are using an old PC and the BuildMassStorageSection=Yes switch, this can take up to an hour to complete. Keep the faith as it hasn't hung....)
      6. Image the PC using your imaging software of choice

    This image "should" work on just about anything. We use it on everything from PIII340 up to the latest P4's, laptops and so far it's never failed to boot. You may need to have some drivers disks handy (sound and graphics are usually not found by default).

    Related Reading

    Check out Andrew's other XP SP2 article: Windows XP SP2 Registry Keys for Student PCs

    (And for more Windows XP SP2 tips, see this article.)

    Other Suggestions

    Frank Peters

    ENVIRONMENT: Windows-XP, 2000
    MS knowledgebase article 271965

    PROBLEM: Moving a standard XP installation to other hardware causes problems when booting XP on the new hardware.
    "STOPL 0x0000007B..... Inaccessible_boot_device

    SOLUTION: When XP setup starts it will ask the user to press F6 to install other device drivers. At that moment hit the F5 key. You can then change the hal-type XP will use. Choose 'ACPI-PC (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface). Finish the installation. Then follow the instructions in ms-kb271965. MS states that the reg file might work, but in fact it will work.

    After this you can move the XP installation almost to any hardware you want. I created a installation on an P4, i810 chipset. This same installation also works fine on a P2 with i440 chipset. I even got it to work on an P2 with a VIA chipset. It also runs on a Celeron processor.

    If you have any questions you may contact Frank at

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