2.2. Advanced Configuration for Windows Guests

2.2.1. Automated Windows System Preparation

Microsoft offers a system preparation tool called Sysprep, to prepare a Windows system for deployment or redistribution. Some Windows releases include Sysprep on the installation medium, but the tool is also available for download from the Microsoft web site. In a standard For most Windows versions, Sysprep is included in a default installation. Sysprep mainly consists of an executable called sysprep.exe which is invoked by the user to put the Windows installation into preparation mode.

The Guest Additions offer a way to launch a system preparation on the guest operating system in an automated way, controlled from the host system. See Guest Control of Applications for details of how to use this feature with the special identifier sysprep as the program to execute, along with the user name sysprep and password sysprep for the credentials. Sysprep is then started with the required system rights.


Specifying the location of sysprep.exe is not possible. Instead the following paths are used, based on the Windows release:

  • C:\sysprep\sysprep.exe for Windows XP and earlier

  • %WINDIR%\System32\sysprep\sysprep.exe for Windows Vista and later

The Guest Additions will automatically use the appropriate path to execute the system preparation tool.