I'm having a problem installing/setting up an image.

Background: I've created a Windows 7 Enterprise image (i.e. installed OS, installed applications, configured settings, etc.). Then I sysprepped it and captured/applied it with imagex (onto a computer with identical hardware as the original). When I boot up the new machine, windows starts and runs setup. After the machine displays "Setup is starting services" I get an error that says "Windows could not complete the installation. To install Windows on this computer, restart the computer." Restarting the machine does no good.

Diagnoses and Troubleshooting: These are the steps that I've tried so far:
1) Disabled Windows Media Player Network Sharing service

2) Set skip rearm in answer file

3) Looked for registry key problems:

  • Ran tracerpt setup.etl -o logfile.csv
  • Found (c0000022): Failed to open child key: [Symantec.Norton.Antivirus.IEContextMenu] error
  • Deleted key
  • (Recreated key when solution didn't work)

4) Set the Registry Size Limit to "unlimited":

  • Created RegistrySizeLimit at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control with Type: REG_DWORD and value: 0xffffffff (4294967295)
  • Rebooted
  • Ran WinRE startup repair

That's as much as I could figure out. There are supposed to be hotfixes related to KB articles 981542 and 977392, but according to Microsoft, they are already included in Service Pack 1, which is a part of the image.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I could get setup to complete?

  • have you checked to make sure that all the hardware of the machine you are attempting to install the image on is working properly? Good Ram, good HDD, etc? I know it's a simple thing, but even a stick of Ram that needs to be reseated could be the issue.
    – Bon Gart
    May 26, 2012 at 2:17
  • I'm having the issue on multiple machines. May 26, 2012 at 5:56
  • Have you checked the log files? Windows setup puts log files in the C:\windows\panther directory and a few other places: Setup log file locations. Hope this helps, (Signature for disclosure) David Windows Outreach Team - IT Pro
    – dwolters
    May 29, 2012 at 16:57
  • Thanks @WinOutreach4, that's a good reference that I will probably need in the future. Unfortunately, the log files don't tell me anything that the setup event trace log doesn't. Step 3 above is followed from this post (3rd entry), but I'm unsure of what to do with that information. May 29, 2012 at 20:23
  • @graf_ignotiev If you remove Norton from your machine, then capture and re-deploy the image, does it work?
    – dwolters
    May 30, 2012 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


If you're still building reference images on physical hardware, you're doing it wrong. Use a Virtual Machine to build your reference image. Always, always, ALWAYS!

Build your images in a VM using MDT. Don't use AIK tools (WISM & ImageX) by themselves. MDT will build the image for you. If you use the ltisuspend script right away in the image builder task sequence you will save lots and lots of time if you build the image in a VM.


I had the same problem with windows 7 RTM last year and the hotfixes you mentioned did fix the problem then. I am now doing the same for windows 7 sp1 (and getting the same problem) and am hoping the hotfixes do the job again. One other thing I think I had to do was enable the local administrator account. Unfortunately I never found a way to fix a machine that already got into that state.

Update: I just tried it then and the hotfixes say they are not applicable, which makes sense. Enabling the admin account did the trick for me though, at least with a fresh machine. I think if you can find a way to get in and change enable the admin account you can be good.

I think you should be able to press shift+f10 to bring up a command prompt and then type mmc. You should then be able to add the local users and computers snap in get access to the users. You'll need to reset the password before enabling it as by default it doesn't meet complexity requirements.

It's a lot easier walking on previous trodden ground!

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