I am trying to create a "base/reference" installation of Windows 8.1 which I can use to deploy to other computers with different hardware. After a lot of research, I was pointed to sysprep and ImageX and managed to get a Windows installation up and running on a different computer.

However, I noticed that the Windows settings went missing, including desktop background. However, all software remained installed, which is good. Settings which went missing are like:

  • Updated keyboard speed in control panel to fastest
  • Start Menu set as 'Use small taskbar buttons'
  • Taskbar buttons: Never combine
  • Desktop background

Is it possible to keep these settings intact? Is this due to some parameters of sysprep?

I used the below:

sysprep.exe /audit /generalize /shutdown

I was using this to install Windows 8.1 Pro.

  • Seems to me like the easier approach would be to use a script to change those settings back to the way you want them. – HopelessN00b Oct 23 '14 at 9:24
  • @HopelessN00b and how can that be done? – Karl Cassar Oct 23 '14 at 10:10

I find that it is slightly unusual that you were directed to ImageX, which has been deprecated for Windows 8 forward. Image capturing, management, and deployment that would have been performed with ImageX should be performed with Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM). Moreover, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) is the recommended deployment solution for Windows. It works as a wrapper for the range of deployment tools available from Microsoft and provides a central interface for management and control of the deployment process, the Deployment Workbench.

For the issue that you are specifically experiencing, the settings you are attempting to configure are a part of the user profile. The Administrator user profile is removed during the Specialize pass of Windows Setup when Sysprep is used to generalize an image. To capture the settings configured in the Administrator user profile and copy them to the Default user profile, use the CopyProfile setting in an answer file. See the article Customize the Default User Profile by Using CopyProfile for instructions on how that is performed.

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