Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I cannot seem to get sysprep to work on Windows 2003 R2 SP2. I've downloaded multiple version from Microsoft's website.

This doesn't appear to update anything:

This didn't work:

In both cases, I copied both the sysprep.exe and setupcl.exe into the C:\sysprep folder I created.

Does anyone have any insight? Exact steps are appreciated.

share|improve this question
Can you tell us the exact procedure that you are using to sysprep the system? – Zypher Dec 8 '09 at 23:54
Forgive me - I realized I left this without steps. 1) Extracted the contents of the cab downloaded (For WinXP SP2 + Win2003 Srv) to C:\sysprep 2) Ran sysprep.exe (logged in as local admin) 3) Enabled 'Don't reset grace period for activation' 4) Enabled 'Detect non-plug and play hardware' 5) Shutdown mode: Shut down 6) Click 'Reseal' – codewise Dec 9 '09 at 0:34
The error message reported by sysprep is: There has been an incompatibility between this tool and the current operating system. Unable to continue. – codewise Dec 9 '09 at 1:19
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I know this question is very old, but after 2hrs of trying to find the "right" sysprep version, I stumbled on the answer in a more obscure forum so I wanted to update this thread with the answer for other lost souls.

I had the same issue with one of our servers that we've (maybe overly) hardened so that the Server service was Disabled. I set the Server service to Manual and started it, then ran Sysprep and it worked fine. I guess the Server service provides the OS version to sysprep, and it fails because it cannot determine the version with the service disabled. Microsoft could have provided a more helpful error message (like "cannot determine OS version"). Hope this helps someone!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.