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Should I run Sysprep on a core image after adding applications?

Does Microsoft recommend running Sysprep again on a core image once applications are added? In other words, I create a core image with only Norton Antivirus -- and no other applications -- and then I run Sysprep and create an image. Once I create the image, someone wants to add additional applications and run Sysprep again and create another image. I have been recommending against this methodology. Instead I recommended that they build a new baseline computer, add the specific application and run Sysprep and then create their own image, which includes the application they want included on the image.

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I haven't found a definitive recommendation from Microsoft one way or the other. All I can say is that I've repeated Sysprep on a disk image myself, and I don't recall suffering any wrath as a result. The only issue I know about for sure is that after a certain number of runs, Sysprep will no longer reset the product activation grace period. I didn't find any description on Microsoft's Web site of the exact number of times you can run Sysprep before it stops resetting the grace period, though.

This was first published in October 2003

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