The copy parameter of sysprep tool’s unattend.xml file can be used for customising the defaut user profile in windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
Follow the given steps to customise the profiles:
1. Login to the computer using the local administrator account or a local account that has administrative privileges. Please note that a domain account cannot be used for this process. It is because when sysprep is executed it deletes that profile and the copying of the profile occurs during specialize phase on first bootup of the image. On using a domain account the copy profile process will copy the profile with the latest time/date stamp.
2. Now configure the settings that you want to use in the profile. This will include desktop settings, favorites, and Start menu options. Create an Unattend.xml file which contains the Copy Profile parameter. By using the Copy Profile parameter the settings of the user who is currently logged in are copied to the default user profile. This parameter must be set to “true” in the specialize pass. For example, the parameter must be like: true. Windows System Image Manager tool can be used to create the Unattend.xml file. The Windows System Image Manager tool is a part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK).
3. At a command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER: sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot /generalize /unattend:c:\answerfile\unattend.xml. Sysprep.exe is located in the %systemdrive%\Windows\System32\sysprep directory. Please note you must use the /generalize switch so that the Copy Profile parameter can be used. The /unattend option is used to point to the desired Unattend.xml file. Therefore, in this article, the Unattend.xml file is located in the c:\answerfile folder.
How to turn the default user profile into a network default user profile?
1. Log in as administrator or an account that has Administrator privileges to the computer that has the customized default user profile.
2. Use the Run command to connect to the NETLOGON shared folder of a domain controller. For example: \\\NETLOGON
3. Create a new folder in the NETLOGON shared folder and name it as Default User.v2.
4. Go to Start from the Start menu and right-click Computer. Then click Properties, and click Advanced system settings.
5. Under User Profiles, click Settings. The User Profiles dialog box shows a list of profiles that are stored on the computer.
6. Select Default Profile, and then click Copy To.
7. In the Copy profile to text box, type the network path of the Windows 7 default user profile folder that you created in step 3. For example, type the following path: \\\NETLOGON\Default User.v2
8. Under Permitted to use, click Change, type the name Everyone, and then click OK.
9. Click OK to start the copy profile process and Log off the computer when the copying process is completed.
How to turn the default user profile into a mandatory user profile?
By creating a mandatory user profile, you can have one central profile that is used by all users. To do this, you have to prepare the mandatory profile location, copy the local default user profile to the mandatory profile location, and then configure a user’s profile location to point to the mandatory profile.
1. Create the mandatory profile location. On a central file server, which is accessible by all the computers, create a new folder or use an existing folder that you use for roaming user profiles. For example, you can use the following folder name “Profiles”: \Profiles. After creating the folder share it. Please make sure that the share permissions for shared folders that contain roaming user profiles have Full Control permissions for the Authenticated Users group. The share permissions for folders that are dedicated to storing mandatory user profiles should enable Read permissions for the Authenticated Users groups, and enable Full Control permissions for the Administrators groups.
2. Create a new folder in the folder that is created in step 1 and the name of this new folder should start with the logon name of the user account if the mandatory user profile is for a specific user. If the mandatory user profile is for more than one user, name it accordingly. For example, the following domain has a mandatory profile, and the folder name begins with the word “mandatory”: \Profiles\mandatory. Finish naming the folder by adding .v2 after the name. The example which we are using has the folder name “mandatory.” Therefore, the final name of the following folder for this user is “mandatory.v2”: \Profiles\mandatory.v2
3. Copy the default user profile to the mandatory profile location. Log on to the computer that has the customized local default user profile by using an account that has administrative privileges. Click Start from the Start menu, right-click Computer, click Properties, and then click Advanced System Settings. Under User Profiles click on Settings. The User Profiles dialog box will show a list of profiles that are stored on the computer. Select the Default Profile, and then click Copy To. In the Copy profile to text box, type the network path of the Windows 7 default user folder that you have created in the “step 1: Prepare the mandatory profile location” section. For example, type the following path:\\\Profiles\mandatory.v2. Under Permitted to use, click Change, type the name “Everyone”, and then click OK. Click OK to start to copy the profile.
4. Log off from the computer when the copying process is completed.
5. On the central file server locate the folder that you created in the step 1and click Organize, and then click Folder options. Click the View tab and click to select the Show hidden files and folders check box, click to clear the Hide extensions for known file type’s check box. Click to clear the Hide protected operating system files check box. Click Yes to dismiss the warning, and then click OK to apply the changes and close the dialog box. Locate and right-click on the NTUSER.DAT file. Click Rename and change the name of the file to NTUSER.MAN, and then press ENTER.
6. Prepare a user account. Login as a domain administrator and open the Active Directory Users and Computers management console from a Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 computer. Right-click on the user account to which you want to apply the mandatory user profile and then click Properties. Click on the Profile tab, type the network path that you created in the Step 2 in the profile path text box. However, do not add “.v2” at the end. In our example, the path would be as follows: \\\Profiles\mandatory. Click OK and then close the Active Directory Users and Computers management console. The user will now have the customized mandatory user profile.