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Windows 8 – Regular IT guy

Category - Windows 8

How To: Fix SysPrep 3.14 error for Windows 8.1 Enterprise

imageNOTE: This error does not manifest itself in 8.1 RTM. It only affects “Preview” and “Preview Apps”. See comment below for a simpler fix.

I’m in the middle of a project where I am tasked to create a standardized Virtual Machine image for developers based on Windows 8.1 Enterprise “Release Preview”. This image will be used by a variety of people in the form of a Client Hyper-V guest VM, a Boot-To-VHD VM, a VDI pilot and possibly a Windows-To-Go bootable stick.

Sounds easy enough, eh?

Create the VM, install the software, install the updates, let the customer try it out and further customize it and then signoff on it’s configuration.  Once that is all done – Package it up and make it available for use in a variety of forms (as mentioned above).

That would be easy – but there is a bug in the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview build 9431 which rears it’s ugly head if you:

  • Install ModernUI apps NOT provisioned for all users (like built in apps)
  • Update ModernUI apps there were NOT provisioned for all users (like built in apps)
  • Let the system run for an unspecified period of time while having internet connectivity and it updates something.

Any of these criteria and you’ll get the Sysprep 3.14 error.


If you check the logs at c:windowssystem32syspreppanther (the setupact.log) you’ll see something similar to:

    • 2013-08-02 15:02:17, Error SYSPRP Package Microsoft.WindowsReadingList_6.3.9431.175_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe was installed for a user, but not provisioned for all users. This package will not function properly in the sysprep image.
    • 2013-08-02 15:02:17, Error, SYSPRP Failed to remove apps for the current user: 0x80073cf2.
    • 2013-08-02 15:02:17, Error, SYSPRP Exit code of RemoveAllApps thread was 0x3cf2.
    • 2013-08-02 15:02:17, Error, [0x0f0082] SYSPRP ActionPlatform::LaunchModule: Failure occurred while executing ‘SysprepGeneralize’ from C:WindowsSystem32AppxSysprep.dll; dwRet = 0x3cf2

Basically you are out of luck – for THIS image and Preview Release.

My solution for this? Here’s my process for getting SysPrep to work on Windows 8.1 Entperise “Preview Release”. In my case – I am not deploying any Modern UI applications with this image.  If I was – I’d make DAMN sure they were provisioned for ALL users – not just local users, as this seems to be the issue causing Sysprep to fail.

To be specific:

  • Create the machine from scratch (if you are trying to troubleshoot this with an existing image – sorry, it’s a rebuild)
  • Disconnect it from the network / internet connectivity for the install process
  • DO NOT associate it with a Microsoft account at this time – Create a local account. This prevents the Store and ModernApps from updating themselves and breaking SysPrep in this Preview Release.
  • Once at the Desktop, open an administrator privileged PowerShell prompt.
  • Run “Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage” at the PowerShell prompt. This will list all default installed Appx packages (which are installed per user) AND since it it piped to Remote-AppxPackage, it will remove them all.
    • you will get RED errors – this is expected due to dependencies.
  • From the Start Screen, right click and UNINSTALL the xBox music app. This app has dependencies with prevent all AppxPackages from being uninstalled
  • Run “Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage” at the PowerShell prompt again to ensure all have been removed.
    • you will get RED errors – this is expected due to dependencies.
  • Connect back to the network / internet once again.
  • DO NOT associate a Microsoft Account for the entire time you are finishing this software install. Leave that for the SysPrep process.

I installed Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013, 20 odd components from Web Platform Installer, 3rd party software AND ran Windows Update for all products on the system.  Once I was all done – ran Sysprep with the Generalize switch and all worked FINE this time around!


Now I can use the VHDX file for a VDI pilot, Boot-From-VHD and Windows-To-Go, all as expected with this Preview Release.

New things in Group Policy for Windows Server 2012

I was on point for The Edge Show recently and decided to talk with my buddy Zach Alexander a PM on the Group Policy team on what’s new and cool in Group Policy these days. Three things immediately came to mind:

  • Infrastructure Status
  • Remote Update on client systems
  • Improved Resultant Set of Policy.

I helped him do some screencasts of the three demos a while ago for the group policy blog so I called in my favour to have him come on the show and talk shop. Have a look at this episode.

How To: Change NIC binding order in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012

imageAn unexpected slowdown issue had me baffled a not too long ago with timeouts to online services, web surfing, network access – generally everything had delays in starting / connecting. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.

Then it struck me. I was using Windows 8 Hyper-V feature for some screencasts here on the blog as well as impromptu demos and I had created various INTERNAL and PRIVATE networks in order to isolate my VMGuests from the production network. By doing the newer INTERNAL networks – I had created new network adapters on my corporate client machine which screwed up my binding order!

A quick swipe to the start screen and typing of “binding” didn’t turn up anything in the search.  I then remembered the GUI way of surfacing the binding order configuration tool.


The Steps?

  • Just open your Network and Sharing Center.
  • Press an ALTkey on your keyboard to show the menu bar.
  • Click on the Advancedmenu
  • choose Advanced Settingsoption
  • Adjust your binding order for your NICs to ensure your primary CORP ones are at the TOP

Silly me!

How to: Force IE to open in Desktop Mode on Windows 8

If you’ve used Windows 8 for any length of time, you’ve probably clicked on a link to open a website in an email or document and it’s opened in the “UI that was formerly known as Metro” version of IE.  It may not have rendered correctly – which you rectified by opening up the site in “Desktop Mode” of IE.



Joey shared this Tidbit of information recently as we were hosting The Edge Show.  It will force all links to open in Desktop Mode IE instead of “the modern interface browser”.

Open Desktop Internet Explorer.

Go to Internet Options

Click on Programs

Select “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop” for How you Open Links

That’s it!!! Solved a bunch of “compatibility issues” with various family members and support professionals I talk with.

I decided to go one step further and figure out if this was a policy setting that could be configured via Group Policy. Turns out – IT IS…. you can set this up in a GPO that affects Windows 8 systems today in your Group Policy Editor…


I hope this helps with your browsing pleasure on Windows 8.

How to shutdown Windows Server “8”


Call me crazy.  Sometimes I want to shutdown my servers.

After loading up the Windows Server “8” beta on some of my test systems, I was a little perplexed as to how I should be shutting them down – either logged on locally or remotely.

Humm…. From a command line – I can always run my trusty command:


That gives me a 3 second window before things get shut down. But without my traditional start menu – how should I do it via the GUI?

Windows_Key + i

That seems to be the fastest way to pull up your settings – including the power button for shutting / restarting your server.

You could also do a three-finger-salute with CTRL-ALT-DEL and choosing it from the bottom right corner.

I’ll stick with either my command line (if I am working in one or the awesome new PowerShell) or I’ll use the slightly easier Windows_Key + i

Thought you might like to know.

Windows Server 8–Initial Cool Stuff

Part of my role at MS includes the creation of content for “The Edge Show” currently hosted at http://edge.technet.com.  Well with last week being the beta milestone release for Windows Server “8” (I’ll use this notation and possibly the shortened WS8 going forward) I decided to do the smart thing and have a Special Edition episode with all things Server “8”.

As you can tell from the video – I’m Freakin’ Out with excitement about all the stuff in this release. There are literally hundreds of cool things that are included with this release and I’m going to do my best to cover them over the next while.

Bill Laing wrote up a rather “corporate-y” type blog post that points to a few cool items as well. Check out his post when you have a moment before moving on.

Info: Windows 8–first peek at UI and experience

I’ve been anxiously awaiting for some REAL visuals and a first demo at the experience of what Windows 8 could look like. Finally after waiting a couple of years, Sinofsky was on stage talking about Windows 8 with Walt on stage at AllThingsD. Before continuing have a look at the video they published below.

>(embeded code won’t work – use this link instead)

Love it.

Pure AwesomeSauce!

A Couple of points I heard listening to the whole thing:

  • user gets to choose what’s on the start experience
  • works with older programs
  • companies could add programs to start experience (group policy?)
  • same interface on multiple form factors, touch or not

I could see myself using that split keyboard on a slate form factor while working from the couch! Then walking over to my desk to switch to bluetooth enabled keyboard for heaver writing jobs.

Digging a little further – there is a Windows team video by Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management of the Windows User Experience team. Nicer view of the functionality and no interruptions.

This is the first time I’ve see this UI and build of Windows – I’d be pulling the wool over your eyes if I said I had access to more info or details about plans, ship date, enterprise deployment or formfactors – Nadda. Zip. Ziltch!

All I know is I am freakin’ excited.

If you have anything to do regarding building apps, user interfaces or are curious about the next version – you should sign up and get your ass over to BUILD


(link to calendar.ics file with deets)

We saw the first glimpse of the client in a consumer setting. 

Show Me The Server!

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