Will Sysprep 'break' the machine I run it on?



I have Dell laptop where the fan has died, and Dell does not have any
replacement fans available. The laptop shipped with XP Pro (no service
packs) but it's currently upgraded to sp3. I'm hoping to move the OS and
all data to a virtual machine (Virtual PC 2007).

I bought Ghost Solution Suite 2.5 to help with this move (and to do a few
other unrelated things). I've never used sysprep before, and I didn't use
it before creating the Ghost image of my laptop. I'm not sure if running
sysprep will make the laptop inoperable (I don't want to decommission it
until I know I've got everything moved to a virtual machine).

What I did try was to restore the Ghost image to a virtual drive (this was
successful) and then I attempted to follow the instructions at:
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm to get the drivers
adjusted for the virtual machine. This looks like it's working but the XP
install gets to saying there's 37 minutes left and that it's installing
devices. After this it reboots and says it has to restart setup. It will
repeat this in an endless loop (well I left it for about 10 hours and it
didn't get past this loop). I tried using an XP Pro sp2 and then an sp3 ISO
image from my MSDN DVD's for the install/repair. I'm thinking maybe I need
to try the OEM XP Pro CD (which has no service packs) but this takes so long
to run, I don't want to keep trying if it's not going to get me anywhere.

So, I was thinking I would try sysprep and create a new Ghost image. But I
want to know what sysprep will do to the laptop. Will the laptop lose all
it's driver info if I try to reboot it, or does the sysprep stuff only apply
to images that are created from the laptop? I couldn't find this in the
sysprep info I've looked at.

Or, if there's an easier way to approach this, I'd love to hear it.





I decided to try the CD which shipped with the laptop, and that worked...
but now I'm stuck on activation.

I did some research and it seems that you can't move an OEM XP install to a
different machine (due to a license restriction). This 'machine' is
strictly a dev/test machine now all 'personal use' activity is done on a
different laptop. Is there any way MS will let me use one of my MSDN keys
to activate this machine in a Virtual PC? I do have all of the data
archived, but I'd like to avoid having to try to find all of the downloaded
software installs and go though all the configuration again trying to set up
a new XP copy from an MSDN XP Pro install.

At least I've learned not to order PC's/Laptops with OEM licenses.

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