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Best Practices for Using Sysprep with NTFS Volumes

This article was previously published under Q240126
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
You can use the System Preparation tool (Sysprep) for Windows to prepare a working Windows installation to be cloned. After you run Sysprep, you can use third-party disk-duplication software to create and apply the images. Depending on the third-party software you use to create and apply the images, you may be able to shrink or increase the disk image to fit the size of the target disk. For example, the image may have been created using a 12-GB disk but be applied to an 8-GB disk.
Applying an image created on a larger disk to a smaller disk is not recommended when you are using the NTFS file system because NTFS keeps information in its own metafiles about the size of the volume and location of its NTFS metadata. Allowing the disk-imaging software to extend or shrink the volume may compromise the NTFS file system's integrity.When you are using Sysprep with NTFS volumes in environments in which the drive sizes may differ, use the following method:
  1. Create your image using a partition/volume less than or equal in size to the smallest hard disk installed in the target computers.
  2. After you run Sysprep and the image is created (using whichever disk-imaging software you want), do not let the imaging software extend the volume when applying the image to the target computer. Check the documentation included with the disk-imaging software for information on how to prevent this.
  3. Modify the Sysprep.inf file to use the ExtendOemPartition key in the [Unattended] section to extend the partition to the full size of the target disk or the extra size (in megabytes) that you want.

    ExtendOemPartition = 0 (do not extend)
    ExtendOemPartition = 1 (extend to the end of the disk)
    ExtendOemPartition = number_in_megabytes (extend the volume this many megabytes in size)
When the duplicated disk is placed in a computer and turned on, the volume is extended by Windows Setup to the size you specified in the Sysprep.inf answer file. This allows Windows to update the NTFS metafile information to reflect the correct volume size and maintain file system integrity.

For additional information about using Sysprep with Windows, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
216937 Windows 2000 System Preparation Tool and Answer File Usage
ghost disk duplication

Article ID: 240126 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 15:37:27 - Revision: 3.2

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition

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