Building Windows XP from scratch

windows_XPFrom time to time the only thing left to do is a rebuild, or maybe you've bought some new machines that need installing.  This article takes you through the steps required.

Boot From CD

  1. Enter BIOS to setup boot order if needed.
  2. Boot the machine using a WinXP installation disk.
  3. Delete any existing partitions.
  4. Create a new C: partition of 25000 MB (it will revert to 24998 MB or 25002 MB depending on the physical structure of the drive!) and perform quick format to NTFS.

The C: partition needs to be in excess of 5 GB, but otherwise set it to your preference.


Setup is copying files…

  1. Once the machine copies all files it will reboot and start installing Windows.
  2. When Windows XP Professional Setup dialog box appears choose Customize to get Regional and Language Options dialog box.
  3. Set Standards and Formats to UK, Set Location to UK,  go to Advanced Tab and set Language for non-Unicode programs to UK.
  4. Choose Details and remove US keyboard and click OK twice, and click Next.
  5. Enter Name and Organisation as YourName and YourSchool and click Next.
  6. Enter the serial number: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx.
  7. Enter Computer name as appropriate.
  8. Choose a password for the administrator.
  9. Check Time and set time zone to Dublin, Edinburgh, London.


Networking Settings

  1. Choose Typical Settings, and click Next.
  2. Join YourSchool domain and click Next.

Note:  Use Domain Admin account to join the network, and be sure that the machine name is not already joined to the domain!


Welcome to Microsoft Windows

  1. Click Next.
  2. Do not add a new user to the domain and click Next.


Create a new user

  1. Logon as Administrator.
  2. Go to Computer Management Console > Local Users and Groups > Users.
  3. Create new account called TopDog, set the TopDog password, set Password Never Expires and deselect User Must Change Password At Next Logon.
  4. Join the account to Administrators group.
  5. Logon as TopDog and disable the Administrator account.
  6. Disable Offline Files.


Install Hardware Drivers

  • Install the core drivers (if required) for the graphics card, sound card and NIC.
  • Remove any shortcuts that may appear in the All Users directory (desktop or start menu).


Preparing for Symantec Ghost deployment

Go to Control Panel > Security Centre > Windows Firewall and turn Firewall off.

Also turn off Automatic Updates.

From any Windows Explorer Window choose Tools > Folder Options, and select View Tab, scroll to bottom and deselect Use Simple File Sharing.

Go to Ghost Console on Data Server and add the Ghost Client to this workstation. (Tools > Remote Client Install).


Update Windows

Run the Windows update application until there are no more updates to have.


Getting Sysprep files

Get the sysprep files from a Windows XP Install disk, and copy the following file onto a file server:

D:\SUPPORT\TOOLS\DEPLOY.CAB (Where D:\ is the cd drive).

Then copy and paste the contents of DEPLOY.CAB from the server to the local machine into C:\ Sysprep folder.

Run C:\Sysprep\setupmgr.exe

  1. Click Next.
  2. Choose Create New.
  3. Choose Sysprep Setup.
  4. Choose Windows XP Pro.
  5. Yes Fully Automate the installation.
  6. Enter a name and Organisation.
  7. Display Settings, leave on default.
  8. Choose appropriate time zone.
  9. Enter Product Key.
  10. Automatically generate computer name.
  11. Enter an administrator password.
  12. Typical settings for Network Components.
  13. Workgroup called WORKGROUP.
  14. Click Next for Telephony.
  15. Click Next for Regional Settings.
  16. Click Next for Languages.
  17. Click Next for Install Printers.
  18. Click Next for Run Once.
  19. Click Next for Additional Commands.
  20. Click Finish for Identification String.
  21. Browse to save the file, and click Cancel to finish process.


Command Prompt

Goto Command Prompt and type the following…

cd /sysprep

sysprep.exe –reseal –quiet -mini

Then sysprep will run and the machine will shutdown – Do not re start.


Machine name

On reboot the machine will have a randomly generated name and will reside in a WORKGROUP.


Create Ghost image

Go to GhostCast Server on Files Server, and setup a Create Task to image the whole disk.  Boot the model machine with the Ghost boot disk, and create the Sysprep’d WinXP image!

The Sysprep’d WinXP image is now ready to be deployed onto other similar machines.


Note for Laptop installations

For Teacher laptops we will typically want to re-enable offline folders, firewall and auto updates.  Also the firewall will need to be configured with a VNC port (5900) exception, if we want to use VNC Server.


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