To deploy a Windows® image to multiple computers, you must first prepare the image for deployment. To prepare the image, you must do the following:
- Remove the computer-specific information from
the image. This is called generalizing the image.
- Reset the Windows activation clock. This is
called rearming the activation clock.
Generalizing the image
When you generalize a Windows image, Windows Setup processes settings in the generalize configuration pass. For more information about this configuration pass, see generalize Configuration Pass.
Persisting Plug and Play Drivers During Generalize
When you set up your reference computer, Windows Setup
installs drivers for any detected devices. By default, these
drivers are removed when you generalize the system. If you are
deploying the image to computers with the same hardware and
devices, Windows Setup reinstalls these same drivers. To keep these
drivers on the computer during system generalization, use the
setting. For more information, see the Windows® Unattended Setup
To generalize your image
Do one of the following to generalize your image:
- Use the unattended setting
Generalize. Set Mode = OOBE or Mode = Audit and ForceShutdownNow = true. When the reference computer is created, the computer automatically generalizes the image and shuts down.
- or -
- In audit mode, in the System Preparation
Tool window, select Generalize and Shutdown, and
then click OK. The computer generalizes the image and shuts
- In audit mode, open a Command Prompt window
as an administrator. Use the sysprep command with the
/generalize, /shutdown, and /oobe options. The
computer generalizes the image and shuts down.
After the computer shuts down, use image capturing tools, such as Windows PE and ImageX, to capture your image. For more information, see Capture Images.
You can then deploy this image to another computer. When the other computer starts, it boots to Windows Welcome.
Rearming the activation clock
If you install Windows with a single-license product key, you have 30 days to activate that installation of Windows. By default, when you generalize the computer, the 30-day activation clock resets. The number of times you can reset the activation clock may be limited. For more information about the activation clock, including instructions on how to manage the clock, see Manage the Activation Clock.