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Can’t sysprep a Windows machine more than 3 times

It seems my Windows-fu is lacking a bit in my sysprep knowledge. As it turns out, you can’t sysprep a Windows machine more than three times.

Unfortunately you get no warning about this until you’ve run sysprep for the 3rd time and then tried to reboot the machine… Only to find that your user accounts have been deleted and the machine has been unjoined from the domain – making logging back into it rather tricky.

There seems to be a way around it, but first you need to recreate a user account on the machine.

Boot to Safe Mode with Command Prompt by rebooting and holding the F8 key.

When in the Safe Mode command prompt, type in:

net user <username> <password> /add

replace username and password with the username for the account you want to create and their desired password.

Then, type in:

net localgroup administrators <username> /add

Replacing username with the user name you specified in the first step.

Reboot and log in to your new account.

Next, follow the instructions over at the Landesk forums to fix it up and enable you to run sysprep once more.


The essential steps are:

Open regedit and look for:


Set to value: 2


Set to value: 7

Then run:

msdtc -uninstall

(wait a few seconds)

msdtc -install

(wait a few seconds)

Reboot the system.

Finally, you should be able to run sysprep once again.

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