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My Scenario

I made a bunch of Hyper-V VM (Windows Server 2003) clones, without using sysprep or anything of the sort. All I did was clone, remove the computer from the domain, rename the computer, and re-join it to the domain. And everything was perfectly fine.

Until I was told I had to install the SCCM client on every clone (and the original). So I did that, manually and very painfully.

But then the SCCM client of course failed to install any updates which is what I went through the whole process of installing it for. Upon investigation, it appears I needed to create a new SID for each VM, since they all had the same one. Apparently, the de-facto application for this, NewSID, has been removed in favour of sysprep.

What I did Bad and Need Help with

Following some instructions found in the Tome of Google, I ran sysprep and just clicked the "Reseal" button and the VM shut down. When I turned it back on, I was greeted with the message:

An error has been encountered that prevents setup from continuing.

Windows is unable to start because the registry could not be updated. To address this problem, please contact your
computer manufacturer. Windows must now shut down.

Press OK to view the Setup log file.

The Setup log file that then appears in a message box contains the same message in the middle (Windows is unable to...).

Safe mode doesn't work so I'm completely stuck.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you already know what you need to do:

  1. Sysprep the existing VMs. Yes, data will be lost unless you back it up.

  2. Recreate the original W2K3 server, sysprep and re-clone. Yep, what you should have done the fist time.

There is a lesson here, something to do with best practices. I've made dumb mistakes too, don't think I'm 'beating you up' about it, but when it doubt, play it safe in production.

share|improve this answer
You're right, and especially since these were VMs I could've made snapshots. Really dumb. Anyways I got lucky and was able to just replace the C-drives on the VMs with the one from the original. The important data was on other drives. I don't think I'll touch sysprep again though. – Al-Muhandis Feb 28 '14 at 17:37
sysprep is a must when cloning a Windows box! there are some exceptions, but that is the general rule. – BigHomie Feb 28 '14 at 18:33

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