1.    19 Nov 2015 #1
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Posts : 369
    Windows 10 Pro

    Some curious installation experience with Sysprep


    I have a 3-day old clean install of Windows 10 Pro x64 version 1511. This is sysprep-ed install with 'Users' folder relocated to D: drive.

    This install, as I suddenly discovered, suffered from the following issue:

    • When I started Windows Feedback app, it presented me with a "Sign in" button. Hitting that button did nothing. The button blinked, but nothing happened.
    • In Store app, when I opened the menu and selected "Sign in" nothing happened.
    • When setting up Cortana, when I got to the point where it asked me to sign in, hitting the "Sign in" button did nothing.


    Meanwhile, apps like Contact Support worked fine - they asked me to sign in and I signed in successfully.

    It appeared that all apps that were supposed to use this standard "Choose an account" dialog

    Click image for larger version. 

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    were "broken". The dialog did not appear and sign in simply did not work. All other apps seemed to work fine.

    Doing SFC, DISM and stuff did not help at all.

    So, I decided to do another clean reinstall of the same system in order to figure out at what stage that "Sign in" would die. And I did reinstall it, going through my standard procedure of doing sysprep in order to relocate 'Users' folder to D: drive. The install went through smoothly. But immediately after the first boot the problem was already there (!). Right away, on a perfectly clean spanking new install I was already unable to log into Windows Feedback because the "Sign In" button did not do anything.

    I thought that maybe my sysprep was to blame here. However, I have another machine that was installed from the same image and sysprepped in exactly the same way. And it does not have that issue. The only difference that other machine has it that it uses a WiFi connection, while this problematic one is connected by Ethernet.

    So, I guessed that maybe because this problematic machine get access to Internet very early, some update or something else sneaks in very early and ruins the install. To test this, I disconnected the cable and repeated the clean install from scratch, again with sysprep and 'Users' relocated to D:. And viola! The machine installed perfectly and the above problem was gone.

    To test this I repeated the clean install in the following combinations: 1) cable in, sysprep, 2) cable out, no sysprep.

    It appears that the problem occurs only when the machine is connected to network during sysprep. Such installs of Windows 10 1511 end up with broken "Sign In" functionality in some apps. My other, WiFi, machine installed fine because it, obviously, had no network connection at sysprep stage. I still don't know whether it is caused by a mere network connection or specifically by Internet connection. Figuring everything out would require a lot more tests.

    But the morale of the story is: if you are doing a sysprep on an Ethernet-connected machine, disconnect the cable and plug it back it only after the sysprep stage.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    19 Nov 2015 #2
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 13,109
    Windows 10 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by AndreyT View Post
    It appears that the problem occurs only when the machine is connected to network during sysprep. Such installs of Windows 10 1511 end up with broken "Sign In" functionality in some apps. My other, WiFi, machine installed fine because it, obviously, had no network connection at sysprep stage. I still don't know whether it is caused by a mere network connection or specifically by Internet connection. Figuring everything out would require a lot more tests.
    This is a known issue with Sysprep in Windows 10. This quote from a Ten Forums tutorial Windows 10 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep - Windows 10 Forums. I have highlighted the recommendation:

    Note   Note
    Please notice before proceeding!

    Disconnect your technician machine used for customizing the Windows image completely from all networks before starting the installation


    • Be sure that you install Windows 10 without entering the product key and without any whatsoever network connection
    • When booted to Audit Mode desktop (Part Two), you can connect the machine to the network to download and install Windows ADK and software
    • As Windows is not activated when booted to Audit Mode when following these guidelines you cannot customize the theme. Use a Windows themepack file instead, for instance creating the theme (colors, backgrounds, sounds, screensaver) you'd like to use for the default user profile on another computer and applying the themepack file on the technician machine before the Sysprep

    You can now run Sysprep normally and without issues.
    I use the Sysprep to relocate the Users folder every time I install Windows and have never had any issues. In some cases when you do it on an existing Windows installation, the Start and Search in addition to some Windows apps stop functioning. An easy workaround is to create a new user account, copy the data from an old account and finally remove the old account.

    Users Folder - Move Location in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums





    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    19 Nov 2015 #3
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Posts : 369
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    This is a known issue with Sysprep in Windows 10. This quote from a Ten Forums tutorial Windows 10 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep - Windows 10 Forums. I have highlighted the recommendation:
    I followed this guide: Users Folder - Move Location in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums , and it appears to be a bit less restrictive in its wording. It says (emphasis mine):

    For some reason Sysprep sometimes fails when Windows is connected to the network when installed. I recommend installing Windows without any whatsoever network connection, connecting Windows to network only when you have entered the Audit Mode as told below.
    and

    If you installed Windows without a network connection, you can connect to network now.
    Unfortunately, I have not tested this specific issue against the scenario when the cable is plugged in the middle of audit session. Quite possibly it would also work properly. Or maybe not?

    Anyway, the purpose of this post is to suggest that there might be a cause-and-effect relationship between "Sysprep was performed with network connection" factor and "Sign In button does not work" issue. When something like that happens, people do not necessarily connect it to an improperly performed sysprep.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    19 Nov 2015 #4
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 13,109
    Windows 10 Pro

    Yes. My point was only to confirm that there is a common nominator in most Sysprep issues I have seen and it is the network connection during the installation. As far as I know, according to my own experience and multiple tests, it's better to install Windows without network connection, boot to Audit Mode and only then connect the network.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    20 Nov 2015 #5
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Posts : 369
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Apparently this matter is not that simple.

    Today I installed Windows 10 Pro on another machine. And I also did sysprep to relocate 'Users' to D: drive. Having learned from my previous experience, I unplugged the Ethernet cable and made sure that its exposed end is at least 3 meters away from the machine.

    Went through with the install. Plugged in the cable when all was done. Same problem again. "Sign in" buttons don't work on a freshly installed system.

    In this case I did not have time to experiment. So I just re-downloaded all install media, unplugged the cable, disabled the integrated network interface in BIOS, disconnected all non-involved drives, opted for Express Settings, left the password empty and generally tried not to breathe through the entire procedure.

    This time it installed properly. I have no idea what helped it to install.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 


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