I was at a customer this week doing a one-day, whirlwind tour of Operating System Deployment (OSD) in ConfigMgr. They were specifically interested in server deployment so we set up a build and capture task sequence for Server 2003 SP2. Everything went well until the Prepare OS task which runs sysprep. It just wouldn’t finish; the scrollbars moved forward, then back, then forward, etc. I left at the end of the day and it was still running after 90 minutes. I couldn’t find any references on the web for a sysprep hang though.
It turns out that when I created the sysprep package, I removed the documentation files (The two chms, one doc, and readme.txt) – at least thats what I though I did. Repopulating the sysprep files with the entire contents of the deploy.cab file and re-running the B&C TS worked like a charm. Really weird.
Incidentally, did you know that each version and service pack level of Windows has its own specific version of sysprep? Vista/7 and 2008/R2 make this easier because they include sysprep as part of their base install; however, slipstreaming a service pack into either XP or Server 2003 does not update the deploy.cab and thus sysprep does not get updated.
You can download the deploy.cab for each version and service pack level from Microsoft by using your favorite decision engine and searching for “Windows XP SPx Deployment Tools” or “Windows Server 2003 SPx Deployment Tools”. An odd thing about the Server 2003 SP2 deployment tools download is that it is distributed as a patch and not a self-extracting executable. The easy way to get to the deploy.cab is to run the patch with the /extract switch which will prompt you for a location where it will dump the files from which you can pluck the deploy.cab file.