By following these steps you can create a Windows XP Standard Operating Environment or SoE image. You can then deploy this image using the various cloning utilities available such as Norton Ghost or Novell ZENWorks.

Creating an Image

  1. Install Windows XP
  2. Apply the appropriate updates and or service packs
  3. Install the required "on image" applications, make sure you apply patches
  4. Create a default user account, use this account to setup the "Default User" profile. This profile will take effect on all new users! It includes settings that you may or may not configure in Group Policy. Such settings could be the Classic Start Menu, all the way through to the icons on the Desktop.
  5. From another user, preferably the administrator account, copy the default user profile to the appropriate place. This can be done by Right Clicking My Computer, selecting the Advanced Tab, clicking Settings, selecting your default user account, and going copy to. Copy the profile to C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\. Note: This folder is hidden, so you might need to "Show all hidden files" in explorer. Important : Service Pack 2 Users must copy the the default user account to the local administrator account. Service Pack 2 sysprep copies the administrator account to the Default User directory automatically, and will override all changes.
  6. If you want your image to work on several types of hardware. Make sure that all driver .inf and associated files are available in a central location, such as C:\drivers


  1. Copy the files from your Windows XP CD, under Support\Tools. If you have applied a service pack, be sure to download the latest sysprep files
  2. Run setupmgr from the files you copied
  3. Create a new configuration file, and select a Fully automated sysprep.
  4. When prompted, save your sysprep .inf file in c:\sysprep
  5. Copy setupcl.exe and sysprep.exe from your installation to c:\sysprep
  6. Open your sysprep.inf file from c:\sysprep and add a OemPnpDriversPath underneath the [Unattended] to represent the folder you copied your drivers to WITHOUT the drive information, for instance: OemPnPDriversPath=drivers represents c:\drivers as OemPnPDriversPath=sysprep\drivers represents c:\sysprep\drivers
  7. Run sysprep.exe

Once you have run sysprep, be sure to immediately clone your disk. This disk image can then be used to deploy to other computers