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.

  • 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

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!

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