If you want to create a reference OS image, you have to run the sysprep Windows tool to prepare the image for OS deployment. If the tool fails with the error message “Sysprep was not able to validate your Windows installation” on a Windows 10 computer, you most likely have a problem with Windows apps.

This problem has existed since Microsoft introduced Windows apps (Metro or Modern apps) in Windows 8. However, the error message in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 was “A fatal error occurred while trying to sysprep the machine.”

The new error message is less intimidating, but still fatal:

Sysprep was not able to validate your Windows installation

Sysprep was not able to validate your Windows installation

Actually, it is not really a new error message. In previous Windows versions, sysprep produced this message for a variety of reasons.

The most common one is that sysprep was executed on an upgraded Windows installation. I didn’t verify this with Windows 10, but I suppose it is still not possible to sysprep after a Windows upgrade. I wouldn’t recommend it anyway. If you create a reference image, you should keep things as simple as possible. Always start with a fresh installation and modify only what you require in your environment.

Another reason that some bloggers mentioned is that the Windows installation was not activated. I tried to sysprep a Windows 10 installation that was not activated, and sysprep ran through without complaints. I suppose this problem only exists if the 90-day trial period expired.

In some situations, outstanding reboots can cause sysprep to fail. I remember cases where I had to reboot twice. It is essential that Windows is in an absolutely stable state before you run sysprep.

However, I believe the most likely reason for the above error message in Windows 10 is that sysprep ran into problems with the new Windows apps. These apps are still somehow alien to Windows, and you have to treat them with great caution in your reference image. These are the possible causes for app-related sysprep failures that I am aware of:

  • You installed an app from the Windows Store.
  • You updated a built-in app through the Windows Store.
  • You unprovisioned built-in apps without uninstalling those apps for all users.

The bottom line here is that, whenever a discrepancy exists between installed and provisioned apps, sysprep will not be able to validate your Windows installation. I outlined the difference between provisioned and installed apps in my previous post. Make sure that you understand these concepts if you are working with Windows 10 images.

For instance, in my test, I installed an alarm clock app from the Windows Store. After I ran sysprep, the following error messages were in the log file:
%WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep\Panther\setupact.log:

2015-09-11 02:27:27, Error                 SYSPRP Package AntaraSoftware.AlarmClockHD_3.3.0.4_neutral__7jhd16s0b93qm was installed for a user, but not provisioned for all users. This package will not function properly in the sysprep image.
2015-09-11 02:27:27, Error                 SYSPRP Failed to remove apps for the current user: 0x80073cf2.

You should always check the log files in the Panther folder if sysprep doesn’t work as expected. If User Account Control (UAC) is enabled, you first have to copy the log file to another folder. If you just double-click the log file in the Panther folder, you will receive an “access denied” error message.

Note that this discrepancy affects all user accounts that have been created on the machine. For instance, if you install a new app for one user and then run sysprep with another account, sysprep will fail. Likewise, if you removed provisioned apps but didn’t uninstall them for all users on the system, you will run into trouble.

Thus, if you need local users on a Windows 10 machine, you should only log on with these users on your reference machine after you unprovisioned all apps that you don’t want to have in the image. As noted in my previous post, Windows 10 installs provisioned apps only when the user logs on the first time.

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49 Comments
  1. Fernando Pestana 7 years ago

    I have this issue and solved removing all the apps that show in ErrorLog.

    • Jason 6 years ago

      Could you please tell me the details that which apps you have removed to resolve this issue

      • Szabolcs 6 years ago

        You can see it in the %windir%\system32\sysprep\panther\setupact.txt. In my case these was Twitter and Candy Soda Saga. Just typed the name at the Start menu and right click/remove. If it fails again, just see the txt again for another app to remove. Sysprep ran fine for me after removed these apps.

  2. ME 6 years ago

    Thanks for the heads-up, Szabolcs.  Removing Twitter did the trick for me, as well.

  3. Peter 6 years ago

    I can confirm what Szabolcs said, just uninstall Candy Crush and Twitter simply with a right click -> uninstall from start menu, and you’re good to go.

    Q: What the heck MS did? I just download the upgraded Enterprise ISO from partner portal, installed, and these two apps were there.

  4. Joshua Moyer 6 years ago

    The same fix worked for me: Uninstall Candy Crush Soda Saga and the Twitter apps. This was on a clean install of Windows 10 Build 1511 (February 2016). After uninstalling those two apps, I was able to run Sysprep as normal.

  5. Travis 6 years ago

    That was it for me. Thanks for your help!

  6. RTracy 6 years ago

    I too had this same problem and as others have said uninstalling Candy Crush Soda and the Twitter applications worked for me as well!

    Thank you for this article! It was really needed 🙂

  7. wd 6 years ago

    i have the same error in the setupact.log file with twitter. but i have already removed and deleted every file and folder associated with twitter. even ran a regedit and removed everything twitter. but still get the package associated with twitter error.

    Package 9E2F88E3.Twitter_5.0.2.0_x86__wgeqdkkx372wm

     

    • Henry 6 years ago

      the same here; trying to find solution…

      Have you found any solution?

      Thanks

      • David 6 years ago

        hello.

        for me it was “Bing Finance” (a.k.a. “Money”) and Twitter that I had to remove to successfully Sysprep Windows 10 with Office 2016 and the latest updates.

         

        Hope that helps.

  8. Nemo 6 years ago

    I could. thank you.

    ADD-UP:

    OS: evaluation version Windows 10 Enterprise, not upgraded OS from Windows 7 to Windows 10

    1. searching  the word “package” in   \windows\system32\sysprep\panther\setupact.log

    2. uninstalling  found app.  (this time is  “Candy Crush” and “Twitter”. )

     

  9. Fabien 6 years ago

    solve the problem uninstalling insiders hub (on pro 1511 april Updated MSDN iso fresh install)

  10. tembo 6 years ago

    Thank you sir! The same fix worked for me: Uninstall Candy Crush Soda Saga and the Twitter apps.

  11. henry 6 years ago

    Thank you for the information. In my case i removed both twitter and Candy… I now get an error where it says Candy is installed for the current user…

    i went through internet and technet,… And there is a document about how to delete apps from a user’s. My first attempt was not succeesful. I will try again and send my feedback.

     

    question: just to make sure i undrestood this properly;

    if i image a pc with an image( where it is already syspreped), then make some changes; can i sysprep it.

    I think i should, but just to make sure,

     

    thank you

  12. henry 6 years ago

    After trying to deal with errors relating to Apps installed in some user’s I tried powershell, but each time another App appeared already installed. So I decided to go for a clean W10, and did not delete any app. I created the User account I wanted and just unpinned the Apps I did not want user to see.

    I guess I could also delete Apps and then create the User.

     

    Nevertheless, I used sysprep in Audit mode; since if generalise is chosen, it deletes the profile(not account , but its profile) of the other users created. It all seems to work now,

     

  13. alison (Rank 1) 6 years ago

    I have same situation when  I run sysprep.exe

    Start c:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Sysprep.exe -Generalize -OOBE -Reboot

    I delete the “Generalize”, it run sucessfully.

    I wander if there is something wrong in generalize , or it may app you have mentioned cause the error

  14. vincent 6 years ago

    For me uninstall all those apps (twitter and candy crush) and deleting user profiles i login with before worked…..thanks

  15. Faruk 6 years ago

    If you have Windows 10 or 8.x version(Metro Start Menu);

    1. Read sysprep/panther/setuperr.log

    2. You can see, “Error SYSPRP Package king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.59.300.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32…” or “Error SYSPRP Package twitter….” 

    3. Yes, your application is a problem. You should remove this app. (You can see the app Start Menu)

  16. Tom 6 years ago

    Hi there,

    I am having a “next step” issue. I am attempting and successfully removing all apps prior to run the sysprep, nevertheless, the system gets back to me saying that the sysprep could not validate the setup. By checking in the logs, i can see that the Appxpackage “…messaging…” has been provisioned for another user account (which i have deleted unfortunately)… how can i get rid of this issue, any clue?

  17. Author

    That’s an interesting problem. So you unprovisioned all apps and one app was already installed for a user account that you deleted?

    Is there a system restore point available (Control Panel > System > System Protection) that allows you to restore the user account and the provisioned apps? If so, you can delete the user account after the restore and then unprovision all apps afterward.

    Anther option would be to “reprovision” the app. But I don’t really recommend it. This is uncommon territory. If you are planning to deploy this image to user PCs, you want to be sure that you didn’t do any unusual things with that image. It is safer to start from scratch with a new image.

  18. sean 6 years ago

    Problem still exist after uninstalled Candy Crush Soda Saga and the Twitter apps as suggested.  Then I log in with Administrator account and delete the user profile that was first created; after that I was able to run Sysprep successfully.

  19. Jeremy 6 years ago

    Henry, you should never sysprep an image twice.  For each reference build MS recommends a clean install of the OS and then configure prior to sysprep.  Sysprepping the same image multiple times introduces issues.  If capturing the image, always select SHUTDOWN and not reboot.

  20. Jeff 6 years ago

    Mine is complaining about Twitter too but when I try to remove it it says that it doesn’t even exist!

  21. Rab 6 years ago

    Hi, just hit the same issue building a ref image.
    I unprovisioned all built in apps, but when I run sysprep/generalise I get an error that the app Microsoft Speed Test was provisioned for a single user and so can’t continue. However, when I use PowerShell to find and delete said app, it’s apparently not installed! So I have an app that’s not there blocking sysprep!
     
    Going to try building again but keeping the image isolated from the network. Will have to constantly snapshot and test sysprep as I go along. Thanks Microsoft!!

  22. 2Fast 6 years ago

    Thank you Szabolcs, that did the trick (uninstalling Money, Skype, Sport apps).

  23. Rob 6 years ago

    Had forgotten i’d posted a comment on here. I managed to get around my issue by removing the profile I used to set up the image, after using DEFPROF to copy it to the default profile. Works fine now.

  24. Ben Minn 5 years ago

    Hi, I do not hv any message about a corrupt program but only WCP.dll  reference in the line before it says it is closing the initializationalongwith SHUTDOWN_autostop message. DISM SCANHEALTH and sfc does not report any issue.

    I also get set Store consistency check message.Pl help

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