Create a windows XP image for many different hardware

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At the very beginning

Because I realized my process many times and because I didn't wrote it before this howto, I may omit something. Please contact me if you got any problem while trying to create your master XP image. I gave so many hours to set up this receipe that I certainly encounteered a problem you may encounteer too. Use the discussion page for this howto to get an answer.

I hope this receipe will help you to reduce your everyday work.

I tested with Windows XP Home, Professionnal and Corporate yet and all hardware I found for now worked like a charm (about 20 or 30 different motherboards, including some laptops, from Pentium 4 / Athlon (socket 462) to Dual Core from AMD and Intel)

This may also work for Windows 2003, and windows 2000 (except for HAL detection and change because I don't know if sysprep for windows 2000 supports this feature)

You can find a quickly translated into french version of this tutorial here: [1]

Before we begin

I managed to create a windows XP FOG image virtually able to run on any hardware configuration. My goal is to have one and only one FOG image for this operating system. I'm currently working with 2 FOG images:

  • a disk image for hard drives greater than 128 GB
  • a disk image for hard drives less than 128 GB

After days trying to boot with a single image, I found that there is an issue with disks related to the 128 GB limit and the BIOS setting LARGE/LBA. I didn't found the exact thing which causes the blinking cursor of death while working on my receipe. That's why I decided to use 2 FOG images, as described above. I only know there is someting wrong related to the partition boot code in a NTFS partition (see this interesting page about NTFS partition boot code).

I successfully tested both images I did on an 10 GB disk and a 160 GB disk on some systems. It seems my first tries were on a computer with a compatibility issue, I couldn't find for now. There is a chance only one XP image will work on any disk size. You may create only one XP installation and use it on all drives size you can find.

When running VMWare player, the guest OS runs on a CPU similar to the physical CPU running the virtual machine. If you install windows XP on an non-intel CPU, the Intelppm service will not install. Therefore, you must use an physical Intel CPU to run your virtual machines.

All target computer I tried support LBA addressing mode in the BIOS. If you got a system disk smaller than 128 GB, you may need to force the BIOS on this computer to LBA. If you don't do this you may have a blinking cursor of death on boot. If you don't have a LARGE/LBA setting in BIOS try updating it with the latest version. I found some modern computers without this option: the BIOS has been designed to an "auto" setting. If so, I advice you use a system disk bigger than 128 GB.

Warning about Virtual machines

I found some issues related to virtual machines:

  • Virtual Box seems to run well, but when deploying your XP image on a computer, you will get the blinking cursor of death.
  • VMWare Player makes a working image but you will get USB issues on deployed XP.

Therefore, I advice you to use VMWare Player only for testing purposes. When you feel ready for production, consider using a physical Intel based computer to create your master image. You will have to follow this how-to on your physical computer, exactly as you would do (or already done) on your virtual machine.

Tools required

Create Master computers

configure the master VM

Install VMWare player if not already done.

Configure 2 VMs

  • both with 2 microprocessors to install windows XP with ACPI multiprocessor HAL.
  • one with an 40 GB hard drive and one with a 160 GB hard drive
  • configure the VM BIOS to boot on the ethernet device first

Edit both .vmx files describing your VM and edit the following line:


Change this line to this:


If you omit this, and you try to deploy windows XP on a VM, you will have an exclamation mark on the ethernet device in your VM. Of course we want a fully working guest OS !

Install windows XP on the master virtual computers (easy, isn't it ?)

Install windows XP in a regular way, and use if possible a SP3 CD or ISO image. Do not install windows XP with the zero touch method provided by VMWare player. Install all hotfixes, .NET Frameworks, last version of IE. Do not install VMWare tools, or any driver. Do not install any software (adobe reader, java, office or any frequently used software) You can install them using FOG's Snapin feature. Do not activate your windows installation (if you used Home, Professionnal or Media Center)

Use the disk cleanup tool to remove all obsolete restore points, and useless files created while windows was updating. Restore points created by all hotfixes need several GigaBytes !

Now you got your windows XP up to date, use FOG web interface to capture an image. This image may be used as a roll back if something goes wrong later.

Prepare sysprep

Note: I'm used to store my sysprep folder in an USB stick. Doing so makes easier the (re)creation of the master computer from scratch.

Create the sysprep folder in c:\. Extract sysprep previously downloaded from Microsoft in this newly created folder.

Files for the reseal process

Create sysprep.inf using this example. Customize your Timezone, your name, your company, AutoLogonCount and so on

    OEMDuplicatorstring="Windows XP"


    FullName="Your Name"
    OrgName="Your Company"







;This must be the last line !

Download and copy Sysprep Driver Scanner in c:\sysprep

Create hwid.cmd source here

rem %1 is path to MassDriverPacks Folder
IF "%1"=="" GOTO EOF


::traverse drivers path


for /f %%f in ('Dir /b *.inf') do (
  for /f "eol=- tokens=2 delims=," %%i in ('find /i "pci\ven" %%f') do (
   for /f "tokens=*" %%j in ("%%i") do (
     for /f "tokens=1* delims=_" %%k in ("%%j") do (
       if /i "%%k" EQU "PCI\VEN" (
         for /f "usebackq tokens=1* delims=; " %%a in ('%%j') do (
           echo %%a=%cd%\%%f>>%STDOUT%

FOR /F %%I IN ('DIR /AD /OGN /B') DO (


Create the file kbdmouse.txt on c:\sysprep


Use Autoit to compile this script into an exe. This is for french windows XP ! Edit the file with the three lines below to make it for english windows XP. The new exe file must be in c:\sysprep.


; ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
; AutoIt Version: 3.1.0
; Author:         Isaac Holmes
; Script Function:
;	Click Continue Anyway for hardware installation during sysprep
; Edited to be easily localized
; ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

; Script Start - Add your code below here

$hardwareInstall = "Installation matérielle"
$confirmFileReplace = "Confirmer le remplacement du fichier"
$addHardwareWizard = "Assistant Ajout de matériel"


while not (winexists ($hardwareInstall) or winexists ($confirmFileReplace) or winexists ($addHardwareWizard))

Sleep (100)

if winexists($hardwareInstall) then 

if winexists($confirmFileReplace) then 

if winexists($addHardwareWizard) then 
until 1=2

For english, replace the three variables definitions by these lines (thanks to google for providing images an find the exact translation !)

; ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
; English/US strings
; ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
$hardwareInstall = "Hardware Installation"
$confirmFileReplace = "Confirm File Replace"
$addHardwareWizard = "Add Hardware Wizard"

Create reseal.cmd in c:\sysprep

@echo off

echo ==============================================
echo Replace the IDE driver by the 
echo generic IDE driver.
echo You may do this now
echo and then, press a key to continue
echo ==============================================

echo ==============================================
echo Customize your local admin password in 
echo %systemdrive%\sysprep\sysprep.inf
echo You may do this now
echo and then, press a key to continue
echo ==============================================
notepad %systemdrive%\sysprep\sysprep.inf

echo ==============================================
echo Install FOG client, and configure it for your 
echo network.
echo You may do this now
echo and then, press a key to continue
echo ==============================================

pushd %systemdrive%\sysprep

::sysprep driver scanner (voir spdrvscn.exe /?)
echo Sysprep Driver Scanner...
%systemdrive%\sysprep\spdrvscn.exe /p %systemdrive%\sysprep\drivers\net /e inf /f /o "XP Image: ~year/~month/~day" /s /a /q

::désactiver le service/driver de processeur intel
echo Désactivation de intelppm
sc config intelppm start= disabled

::reactivation auto par script (pour, un jour, se passer du .vbs)
:: wmic cpu get Manufacturer | findstr /i intel
:: if "%errorlevel%" == "0" (sc config intelppm start= system)

::construire la liste des drivers de stockage de masse
echo Création de la liste des pilotes de stockage de masse
%systemdrive%\sysprep\sysprep.exe -bmsd

::créer la liste des drivers de stockage de masse personnalisés
echo Création de la liste additionnelle des pilotes de stockage de masse
call %systemdrive%\sysprep\hwid.cmd %systemdrive%\sysprep\drivers\stor

::ajouter les drivers clavier et souris de base au drivers de stockage de masse
::permet de résoudre les problèmes de clavier et souris qui ne répondent pas
::pendant le mini-setup (ou windows welcome)
echo Bug de non-réponse du clavier et de la souris
type %systemdrive%\sysprep\kbdmouse.txt >> %systemdrive%\sysprep\sysprep.inf

::ajouter la liste des drivers de stockage de masse au sysprep
echo Fusion des 2 listes de pilotes de stockage de masse dans sysprep.inf
type %systemdrive%\sysprep\hwids.txt >> %systemdrive%\sysprep\sysprep.inf

::Nettoyage du disque
echo Nettoyage du disque dur
::désactivé pour l'instant
::call clean-hdd.cmd

::copier la vérification de CPU intel dans %windir%\temp
echo Copie des fichiers pour réactiver intelppm
copy checkforintel.cmd %windir%\temp\checkforintel.cmd /Y
echo Copie des fichiers pour redétecter les interfaces IDE
::désactivé pour recherche d'un petit bug
::copy update-ide.cmd %windir%\temp\update-ide.cmd /Y

echo Sysprep
start %systemdrive%\sysprep\continue-xp-fr.exe
if %1!==debug! %systemdrive%\sysprep\sysprep.exe
if NOT %1!==debug! %systemdrive%\sysprep\sysprep.exe -reseal -mini -noreboot -quiet


Device drivers repository

Create folders c:\sysprep\drivers\net and c:\sysprep\drivers\stor. These folders are respectively for ethernet drivers (including wireless) and mass storage controllers.

Create subdirectories with no space, and with a explicit name to easily identify the contained driver. Here is my repository tree with drivers working in the reseal process:

  • drivers
    • net
    • stor
      • ali
        • ide
        • M5281
        • M528x
      • ati
      • intel
      • ite
        • raid
      • marvell
        • m614x
      • nvidia
      • promise
        • 378r
      • sil-img
        • 3112r
        • 3114r
        • 3124
        • 3124r
        • 3132
        • 3132r5
        • 3x14
      • sis
        • 180OB
        • 964
        • 965
        • 966-968-1182
        • 966-968-1184
        • ide
      • via
        • vt64xx
        • vt87xx

Files for the deployment process

Create a file named checkforintel.cmd in c:\sysprep with this content:

@echo off
wmic cpu get Manufacturer | findstr /i GenuineIntel
if "%errorlevel%" == "0" (sc config intelppm start= system)

Run sysprep

If you didn't captured a FOG image of your master (virtual) computer before launching the reseal process do it now. If something goes wrong while sysprep is running, you may be happy to have an easy roolback.

Run the reseal process by launching reseal.cmd and follow the instructions given at the beginning. They are here as a remainder.

The reseal process is very long depending of the number of mass storage drivers in the repository. I'm used to wait between 2 and 5 hours.

reseal.cmd doesn't shuts down the system after the work ended. Doing so ensures you can see any error before you shut down the guest yourself. You may add shutdown command at the end of the script or use the appropriate switch when invoking sysprep.exe

Note: I read somewhere that sysprep is alternatively long and fast. I saw that is true. If you want to add a single driver for a new hardware, you may deploy a master computer with your sealed XP image and re-seal it a second time with your new driver. (use the sysprep folder you ever keep near you in an USB stick).

Capture the final master image

Use FOG's web interface to capture your final image. Don't overwrite the rollback image you created before the reseal process. This image may be useful later.

Deploy the master image on target computers

Use FOG's web interface as usual to deploy your target computers.

With a 100 Mb/s network my images are about 1.5 GB and are downloaded in less than 2 minutes. After some reboots your windows XP is ready. From the image push to a working desktop on the target computer, the elapsed time is less than 10 minutes.

Create snapins for device drivers

Howto create an autoextractible 7Zip archive

Download the 7Zip sfx for installer here.

Extract 7zS.sfx.

Create 7zip.txt with the following (more about the file format here):

Title="7-Zip 4.01 Update"

Edit the file as you wish

Create a file setup.cmd with all commands needed by your software or driver to setup silently.

Create or re-use a folder containing the software to pack into an autoextractible file. Create a folder __7zip__ containing a copy of 7zip.txt (this is useful when you want to update the autoextractible file)

Create an 7Zip archive with all needed files. then concatenate it to the SFX with the copy command:

copy /b 7zS.sfx + __7zip__\7zip.txt + archive.7z archive.exe

You will get a new .exe file able to unpack and setup your software. Upload this .exe file to your snapins repository

Close all "new hardware detected" wizard"

Please edit $WizardTitle to match the title of the windows depending your language. This example is for french Windows XP.

Compile this script into an exe with the tool provided with autoit.

#region ---Au3Recorder generated code Start ---

Dim $CheckAgain
Dim $WizardTitle = "Assistant Matériel détecté"

$CheckAgain = 1
While ($CheckAgain > 0)
	If (WinExists($WizardTitle ,"")) then
		_WinWaitActivate($WizardTitle ,"")
		$CheckAgain = 0

#region --- Internal functions Au3Recorder Start ---
Func _WinWaitActivate($title,$text,$timeout=0)
	If Not WinActive($title,$text) Then WinActivate($title,$text)
#endregion --- Internal functions Au3Recorder End ---

#endregion --- Au3Recorder generated code End ---

Find how to install a driver with silent switchs

Some drivers may be unpacked by 7Zip and some others need to be unpacked and cancelled (nvidia chipset/video drivers, ATI video drivers). Some drivers may run like a charm by adding switches to their commandline. Some drivers may need an autoit script.

When you found a way to install your device driver silently, create an archive with 7Zip as described earlier.

Here is a (very incomplete) list of device drivers I managed to install silently. I will grow this list soon.

Working device drivers snapins

Disabling autologon

If you set AutologonCount, you may want tu set it to a high number and disable it manually once it becomes useless.

You may create a snapin which executes this commandline

rundll32 netplwiz.dll,ClearAutoLogon

It will disable autologon, and erase from the registry the administrator password given in sysprep.inf.

This is a security issue because the password remains in plaintext in the registry when you set EncryptedAdminPassword=NO in sysprep.inf.


Sysprep fails writing registry

I had this error and after lots of research, I found a forum where someone said that a mass storage driver may be responsible of this error. Because my driver repository is quite big, I had to try and retry by eliminating drivers by brand and model until I found the bad driver. Because the system is not automatically shut down after sysprep.exe runs you may run sysprep.exe manually without rebooting and reset files changed by reseal.cmd

All my drivers are from the chip manufacturer. I remember that my faulty driver is from Silicon Image, but cannot remember today which one I had to remove. All drivers in the above list are working in the reseal process. However I cannot test all of them in deployment process because I don't have a motherboard with each model of mass storage controller.

I have to plug my USB Flash Disk our my USB stick twice before windows lets me read his content

I noticed this issue after I released my second version of disk image for my own purpose. I checked my first disk image and it works well. I did some tries on my virtual machine: install the universal USB driver instead of the intel one, create my XP instalation withou plugging any USB device, and installing windows on a VM without any USB port. None of these tries was successful. I'm nearly sure that the only workaround is to create your master XP image from a physical computer. The major difference between my first final image and my second one is virtualization. I'm nearly sure building the master XP installation on a pure physical computer will work better with USB. I'll give a try soon.

Chipset Intel P45

I found a computer which doesn't work with my driver repository. It is build with an Asus P5Q motherboard. You may have to add to the drivers the mass storage driver from the CD provided with the motherboard. Not yet tested. I found in the txtsetup.oem file some small differences compared to the f6floppy drivers provided on Intel's website.

I'm sure I got the mass storage driver for my chipset but it keeps to reboot or show STOP 0x7B error

A found a computer with ATI chipset which doesn't work with SATA when it is set to AHCI mode or native mode (deployed with XP). I had to set the SATA to IDE mode. Googling showed a similar problem on a gigabyte mainboard with the same ATI chipset, whereas windows has been installed a classic way. A change on the driver's .inf file found in a forum didn't help. If performance is not critical, try to use IDE (or legacy) mode in the BIOS setup.

The key entered during Mini Setup is invalid when I'm activating my windows installation

This issue doesn't appear when the licence key is in sysprep.inf.

I noticed this small issue, and if you re-enter the same licence key and try to activate it a second time, it just works fine. I noticed also this occurred when I installed Windows XP Home without providing the licence key during setup (you can do that only with a XP SP3 CD, slipstreamed or not) AND without providing a licence key in sysprep.inf . I will try to provide a licence key during the installation on my master computer and compare if this issue keeps to occur after deployment on a target conputer. I think this will also affect XP Professionnal when installed the same way.

I changed some settings in VMWare Player and now my XP fails to boot with a BSOD 0x0000007B

Have a look in your .vmx file defining the hardware of your virtual machine. The parameter scsi0.present may be reverted to TRUE.


  • Begin a howto to create device drivers snapins

I got working snapins for Intel (chipset, graphic), ATI (graphic), Realtek (AC97, HDAudio), NVidia (chipset, graphic), and some other hardware

  • give download links to each driver in the driver repository tree
  • Increase Autologoncount to 5, give snapin to deactivate autologon, and delete the password in the registry (after autologoncount reaches 0, the password remains (if unencrypted in sysprep.inf) unencrypted in the registry !)


command line to disable/enable intelppm service

Autoit script to install unsigned drivers

About STOP 0x0000007E, Intelppm.sys related

How to disable Autologon