Looks like I did miss your coverage of this - not in this tutorial, but the one in SevenForums, as you say, covers this in much greater depth and shows the whole process.
I've now completed the procedure twice including customisation of the default user profile (Windows Updates and settings, 'all user' programs), redirection of user folders and adding OEM details.
I used Macrium to capture the image and deployed it to a new PC (similar hardware) and completed the OOBE procedure. All was fine except for the cloud sync programs (OneDrive NGSC, Dropbox and Google Drive), but I don't want to go into details in this post regarding these issues as I kind of expected this wouldn't work. What I am surprised about is that logging on using my Microsoft account doesn't sync the settings (plain desktop, account picture, etc). The setting to sync is on and I don't normally have to do anything when logging on this way after a standard Windows installation - it just works so I'm not sure what's going on here.
I haven't activated Windows on the VM or the 'tech' machine, but I did activate on the target PC and it made no difference.
Thinking it might have been something to do with the amount of customisation and number of 'all user' programmes, I went back to the VM and applied an earlier snapshot to effectively turn back the clock to a point just after updating Windows. I then ran Windows Update again to pick up any subsequent updates and reinstalled WADK, completed the procedure by running Sysprep using the new answer file and, finally, rebooting and completing OOBE (on the VM as I wasn't intending to deploy this time).
Result was still the same - I can create a new user with files correctly redirected to D:\Users, but if I try to create one using my MS account, or create a local one then change it to my MS account, it's still the same - no sync of settings.
This is really baffling so I've looked for even small differences between the tutorial and my experience and can only find the following:
1. I didn't ensure the tech machine was isolated from the internet during the build as advised. How important is this?
2. After running Sysprep, my VM shuts down (as per the W7 tutorial), but in this one you say:
6.4) When the Sysprep has finished, close the Command Prompt and shutdown the computer.
The only other thing I noticed when installing the WDK and running SIM the second time around was that there was no long delay while SIM builds a catalogue (so I didn't get a beer ), yet I didn't have to specify the location of the old one either.
Could one of these be the culprit? Any other ideas as to why I'm having this problem?