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Sysprep SkipRearm = 1

    Question

  • Hi,

    MY CURRENT SITUATION: I have setup a reference machine running Windows 7 with all drivers and software installed and configured correctly.

    I then Sysprep my reference PC (I have previous experience of Sysprep in Windows 2000 and XP environments) and have created a unattended answer file in System Image Manager (SIM) and run the following command: sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:e:\sysprep.xml

    The system goes through the Sysprep process and shuts down. I then boot into Symantec Ghost 11.5 and take an image of the machine which I can then GhostCast my other PCs. On the first boot the machines go through the Sysprep process and only asks for a PC name to be entered, which is just what I wanted.

    NOW THE PROBLEM: I can only run Sysprep on the reference machine 3 times and this is a big problem. However if I alter the unattended answer file and add SkipRearm=1 to the generalize section I can Sysprep the machine as many times as I like.

    MY QUESTION: What does this SkipRearm setting do? What consequences will it have? Will I have more problems later?

    Thanks for looking!

    Best wishes,

    Matt Courtman, UK

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:29 PM

Answers

  • Hi Matt,

     

    According to my understanding, SkipRearm is a setting to postpone resetting the activation clock. Setting the Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP\SkipRearm unattend setting value to 1 specifies that the computer will not be rearmed, and it will not be restored to its original, out-of-box state. All activation-related licensing and registry data will remain and will not be reset. Otherwise, you can reset the activation clock only three times and only sysprep three times. Generally, we recommend that you use the SkipRearm setting if you plan on running the Sysprep command multiple times on a computer.

     

    Best Regards

    Dale

    Friday, April 30, 2010 3:05 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • In the xlm adding skiprearm=1 allows up to 8 rearms I believe.  You should be able to sysprep a single machine then deploy the image to multiple machines and activate them manually if you're using oem licenses.
    Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:47 PM
  • Hi Matt,

     

    According to my understanding, SkipRearm is a setting to postpone resetting the activation clock. Setting the Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP\SkipRearm unattend setting value to 1 specifies that the computer will not be rearmed, and it will not be restored to its original, out-of-box state. All activation-related licensing and registry data will remain and will not be reset. Otherwise, you can reset the activation clock only three times and only sysprep three times. Generally, we recommend that you use the SkipRearm setting if you plan on running the Sysprep command multiple times on a computer.

     

    Best Regards

    Dale

    Friday, April 30, 2010 3:05 AM
    Moderator
  • The right answer is forget about SkipRearm and rebuild your image from scratch each and every time.  Automate the process so that it is hands free so that you get out of the business of doing things manually as well.

    Your images will be much cleaner (since you won't be adding and deleting software from them all the time) and cleaner images means fewer headaches down the road.

    I'm confident that every process in an image build can be automated...and that is the best way to go, without a doubt.

     


    Mike N.
    Friday, April 30, 2010 1:44 PM
  • Ive been dealing with this issue a lot myself.  The MAK and OEM keys will allow you to SYSPREP a machine three times and three times only.  After that, its pretty much hosed.  The SKIPREARM placed within the unattend file stting 1 (making rearm inactive) will not trigger the REARM count within SYSPREP.

    See the link for how SYSPREP actually works for MAK and OEM licences.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744512(WS.10).aspx

    "

    Volume License and OEM Activation Requirements

    For volume licenses, activation clock reset behavior is different, depending on the type of license.

    • Activation can be reset an unlimited number of times for an activated Key Management Service (KMS) clients. For non-activated KMS clients, the activation clock can be reset only up to three times, the same as a single license.

      We recommend that KMS clients use the sysprep /generalize command where the value of the SkipRearm setting is equal to 1. After capturing this image, use the sysprep /generalize command, where the value of the SkipRearm setting is equal to 0.
    • For Multiple Activation Keys (MAK) clients, the recommendation is to install the MAK immediately before running Sysprep the last time, prior to delivering the computer to a customer.

     

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 7:21 PM
  • good day,

    Recently we joined the MIcorosft Refurbisher Program and are trying to use the OPK and image systems with windwos 7.

    I am trying to understand the skiprearm an d generalize and sysprep but I am just not getting it.

    Do you have to use the generalize everytime I guess is the questions.

    When the system first boots to audit mode and you conitnue install dricvers, updates blah blah and want to reboot first,

    Can I just tell sysprep to boot back to audit mode and then once its all setup use the generalize option with OOBE then or do I Have to use Generalize everytime the system is rebooted?

     

    Monday, February 06, 2012 5:37 PM
  • I know this is an old thread, but I tend to agree with Mike Normands comment about a new image everytime, it was the route I took agaes ago and haven't really had any issues with it since. I have never used skiprearm and never had too.

    Kind regards Dutch09

    Monday, April 02, 2012 11:11 AM
  • I know this is an old thread, but I tend to agree with Mike Normands comment about a new image everytime, it was the route I took agaes ago and haven't really had any issues with it since. I have never used skiprearm and never had too.

    Kind regards Dutch09

    ¿Como lo puedo hacer para no tener que usar skiprearm? de antemano gracias.

    Nicole, Chile.

    Monday, July 09, 2012 6:00 PM
  • Obviously, people saying "prepare a new image from scratch every time" are not working for DOD. 
    Monday, November 19, 2012 11:56 AM
  • If you simply want to deploy your image, run updates on Windows and other various software, then recapture it, then SkipRearm is a good friend to have indeed.
    Wednesday, October 30, 2013 4:15 PM
  • Rebuilding your image each time there is a change is not practical. I can't believe this is even being suggested.

    I sysprep in AUDIT mode and capture this image. This is the image I load, make changes to, then capture each time a change is required. I then sysprep from the updated image in OOBE mode and capture this for end user deployment.

    My understanding is that you can sysprep in AUDIT mode as many times as you need. Sysprep in OOBE with SkipRearm has a finite amount of uses.

    Thursday, November 28, 2013 12:40 AM
  • SkipRearm prevents the device SID from changing when the system reboots. It also prevents the rearm counter from decreasing.

    ,

    In general you can image a bunch of machines with the same SID but it can cause problems where the machine SID (basically a serial number intended to uniquely identify a computer) is used to authorize access to something from Active Directory.

    I believe it works like this: you install access to some service in Active Directory for machine #1, but because it is sharing the same machine SID with a bunch of other machines, you've now also inadvertently given all those machines access to the same resource whether you wanted them to all have access or not.

    ,

    Also if you routinely image all machines with SkipRearm enabled, and then you eventually switch from MAK to KMS down the road, when computers with the same SID try to register with KMS, the licensing server sees all registration attempts as coming from a single source, so 50 machines with the same SID look like 1 machine to KMS.

    Since you need at least 25 individual computers to get KMS to work correctly, all these machines won't go towards that activation count, unless you in-place re-sysprep them with SkipRearm disabled to give them unique SIDs. (Yeah, I learned this the hard way..)

    ,

    You don't ever need to mess with enabling skiprearm if you use KMS activation. Using the generic KMS client activation keys, the rearm count changes from 5 or 4 or whatever to 1. After sysprep it goes down to zero, but when the KMS client sees the KMS server after rebooting and setting up again, it will join and the rearm count jumps back up to 1 again.

    The rearm count jumping around with KMS client keys is poorly documented and not really explained anywhere, and I only figured it out after repeatedly doing slmgr /dlv while switching from MAK to KMS, and rechecking it again before and after activation after sysprepping in KMS with skiprearm disabled.

    In essence by buying into Microsoft Volume Licensing with KMS, you get the ability to use Vista, 7, 8, etc as if they were like XP, allowing unlimited syspreps and re-re-re-re-imaging.

    ,

    For the people who say "build a clean image every time", yeah sure whatever guys. Like I have a day or more to kill waiting for the Windows 7 2010 RTM to download and install 2 gigabytes of Windows/Microsoft updates from the last five years and reboot itself 20 times to apply all those updates, every time I just want to change a few things in the deployment image.

    It's FAR simpler to just load up the source image every couple months, update Adobe Reader, Flash, Firefox, Chrome, Java, and apply the next 50 new Windows updates in the last 6 months, then resysprep it, and upload it back to WDS again. This takes about 1/10th the time vs building the source image from scratch every time.

    ,

    The whole Microsoft reasoning behind the 5 rearm count is apparently just to create grief for the people who try to steal Windows, and use the same image to move Windows from one computer to the next.

    Use of skiprearm to apply updates to a source image that you keep reusing as a Master Image and hold it forever at rearm 3 or so, is sort of an obscure back door thing which nobody is really supposed to be doing, and seems the reasoning that the official line from Microsoft employees is to try to cajole you into "making a clean image every time".

    This is also apparently why skiprearm is a poorly documented option buried in the special XML options for sysprep, is not directly a command line switch for sysprep itself, and why actually learning about it has to come from the forums and people like me who've suffered through it the last 5 years, rather than the actual product documentation.

    ,

    And here I am with a storebought Lenovo ThinkPad which came with Windows 7 Professional Retail preinstalled and a rearm count of 2. I simply want to make a backup copy of it to WDS so that if it crashes and burns I can quickly get it up and running again. WDS deduplicates all the files in images, so it's very efficient to upload a backup of it into WDS, but I cannot do the WDS image upload unless it has been sysprepped, and I don't want to burn up those 2 remaining rearms.

    So it seems that creating a tiny XML with skiprearm in it so I can temporarily sysprep and upload it, seems my only option.

    (Thanks for making this process annoyingly difficult just to try to make life miserable for pirates, Microsoft.)


    • Edited by Dale Mahalko Friday, October 17, 2014 5:52 AM formatting
    Friday, October 17, 2014 12:41 AM