I have a virtualized copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 installed with some applications already installed on it (not server roles) and I would like to re-deploy it on a number of other servers across my enterprise exactly as it is - including the applications installed. I refer to the original disc image as my gold copy.

In the past I have taken a copy of the gold copy and then ran sysprep. Perhaps I am wrong in saying this but I can recollect attempting this previously only to find that after syspreping the image that all applications previously installed were removed after sysprep was completed. Am I correct in stating this happens or do the applications simply need reconfiguring, i.e. in the same manner as an application such as Windows Media Player does after a new user account is created?

I have consulted Microsoft's documentation on sysprep but to say it is poorly organized is an understatement.


No, the whole point of sysprep is to strip out the machine-specific settings like activation ID and SID while leaving the installed programs for ease of deployment. Obviously, if certain applications rely on these machine-specific things, they might break, but those are few and far between.


Sysprep does not remove applications. Some applications are sensitive to sysprep, but those are rare exceptions.


Most applications should be fine. User configurations will even stick most of the time. There are a few applications I wouldn't run a sysprep on, such as MSSQL, Exchange, or AD. Everything else should be ok. YMMV


Sometimes, software will look at the machine key or SID as part of a license activation. When you use sysprep on a machine with software like this, the application will stay installed, but you may have to resubmit it's activation.

  • Thanks Joel Coel. Do you think its possible this would effect freeware software from Microsoft? Security Essentials For Example. – slickboy Nov 19 '12 at 14:32
  • @slickboy I don't think so... you don't usually have to activate freeware. It can and will affect Office and Windows, though, which is why most people using sysprep have volume licensing agreements. – Joel Coel Nov 19 '12 at 14:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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