Configuring Default Settings for Windows image deployment – KB Article Published

Just a small update on this topic.  Microsoft has now published a Knowledge Base article, KB959753, that documents the "automated profile copy" methods for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.  The old "manual or scripted copy of a configured profile over the Default User profile" method will no longer be supported for these operating systems.

I had a hand in crafting KB959753, so I tried to make sure it was as clear as possible and contained information relevant  to deploying with MDT and SCCM.  If you have any feedback on the article, post a comment here and I'll make requests for changes if they are warranted.

There is currently an internal discussion going on as to whether the articles on the old method for Windows 2000 should be pulled from the Knowledge Base.  Whatever is decided on these older articles, I still recommend that you not use the old method even with Windows 2000.  Since there is no built-in automated profile copy for Windows 2000, if you are still creating images for Windows 2000 I recommend that you use Method C or higher from my previous post.  (Actually is you are still creating images for Windows 2000 I recommend that you move off that platform as quickly as possible to an OS that was completed in this century. J )

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, confers no rights, and is not supported by the authors or Microsoft Corporation. Use of included script samples are subject to the terms specified in the Terms of Use.

This post was contributed by Michael Murgolo, a Senior Consultant with Microsoft Services - U.S. East Region.

Comments (5)

  1. DeploymentGuys says:


    The setting (UpdateServerProfileDirectory for XP/2003 or CopyProfile for Vista/2008) controls whether the profile copy happens at all (with the exceptions in behaviors based on OS/SP for XP/2003).  I believe the the profile copy happens for the account that is logged on when Sysprep is run.  However, since I always use MDT for image builds and MDT uses the built-in admin account, I haven’t tested using another account.  Why can’t you use the built-in admin account to configure the settings?

    Michael Murgolo

  2. DeploymentGuys says:


    This KB article is not meant to be a primer on Windows deployment. It’s scope is specifically the when and how to use the automated profile copy in XP and Vista.

    The information you are looking for is in the Windows Automated Installation Kit found here:

    However, if you have never successfully created an unattend.xml for Vista you should download, learn and use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (
     This takes a lot of the guesswork out of creating a valid unattend.xml for image build or deployment.

    Michael Murgolo

  3. charles says:

    Looks like the kb article skips over a few settings.  Once I have all the settings I want on my PC prior to sysprep, how do I go about creating the unattend.xml for it?  How do I use the sysprep.exe /generalize /unattend:unattend.xml command?  Is it /unattend: <path to created .xml>?


    P.S. You guys are an invaluable resource for developing and deploying Vista.  Keep it up!

  4. Moe Hoskins says:


    Hello.  I have read through 959753 and have a question if you don’t mind.

    Build my base master with Windows XP SP3

    I am following this process:  

    1.  Logging on with an account (User1) which is a Local Administrator but is not THE Local Administrator account.

    2.  Setting all of my custom settings, etc.

    If I am not actually using the Local Administrator account to create the custom settings for which I would like to be part of the Default User Profile, do I still need to add [UNATTENDED] UpdateServerProfileDirectory=1 to my Sysprep.inf

    The way the article reads, I only need to add that setting if I want the Minisetup process to copy the customizations from the Local Administrator profile.  If that is the case, what method should I follow to get all my customizations from my User1 profile to be part of the Default User Profile.

    In the past, I have followed the Method A from your other post "Configuring default settings for Windows image deployment", not being aware the problems associated with that method.  I can’t use the other methods listed and we do not yet have server 2008 to run the Group Policy Preferences.

    Thank you in advance for all of your posts and your assistance in this matter.


  5. MLT says:


    I am setting a lab in which we have domain users.  So I normally use a dummy domain user acct which is member of local admin group. Then I configured that acct to have default desktop settings such as short cuts, keyboard languages, quick launch,etc and network printers.  So I prefer to use that acct instead of the built-in admin acct.

    Its so easy in XP because all I need to do is copy that domain acct  profile to the default profile in the advance settings of my computer properties.  Now I have to do this unattend.xml file.  Is there an easier way?

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