How to cleanup Windows 7 before Image Capture

It’s been a while since my last post, I was on a very long vacation 🙂

People often ask me how they can reduce the size of their Windows 7 Image.

In this post I will cover some steps you can perform to cleanup a Windows 7 Image prior to running Sysprep.

I’m assuming that you already have a computer installed with Windows 7 with latest updates and any other software you must have on the Image. Remember, each software installed on the Image increases the size of the Image.

Restart the computer to ensure that everything is running smoothly, and then cleanup up the following items prior to capturing the machine:

  • Clear the Internet Explorer (and or any other browser) browsing information.
  • Clear out the Problem Reports and Solutions information:
    • Open Control Panel, under System and Security, click Review your computer’s status.
    • Click Maintenance, under Check for solutions to problem reports, click View reliability history.
    • Click View all problem reports.
    • At the bottom of the Review problem reports page, click Clear all problem reports.
  • Clear System Restore Data
    •  Right click My Computer, and then clicking Properties.
    • In the left pane, click System protection.
    • Under Protection Settings, click Configure.
    • Under Disk Space Usage, click Delete.
    • Click Continue, and then click OK.
  • To clear out the downloaded Windows Updates, perform the following:
    • Start by stopping the Windows Update Service – ‘net stop wuauserv’.
    • Delete the contents of the following two folders (empty the Recycle Bin when done):
    • C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore
    • C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
    • Start the Windows Update Service – ‘net start wuauserv’
  • Delete additional unwanted files and folders if they exist:
    • C:\PerfLogs
    • C:\Windows\Security\Database\secedit.sdb (if the machine has been joined to a domain).
    • C:\Temp
    • C:\Windows\Temp
    • Empty Recycle Bin
  • Remove unwanted files using the Disk Cleanup tool:
    • Open Disk Cleanup by clicking the Start, in the search box, type Disk Cleanup, click Disk Cleanup.
    • Select all except ‘Setup Log Files’ and click the OK button.
    • Go to ‘More Options’ tab and cleanup all System Restore and Shadow Copies.


Now you can run Sysprep 🙂



  1. If you are required reinstalling the Windows 7 edition of Microsoft but unable to trace windows key then you can easily trace it on the backside of your PC or underside, in the case of laptop. Windows 7 key is generally sited on a yellow decal. Sometimes, the decal will be sited within the CD coat of the software product, or you can also trace it in the manual of particular software. If you find yourself unable to trace the product key, it means you have lost the license of the valuable Windows 7 software. One may also mislay a great contract of time annoying to track the product key down, or probing various PC mediums for a way out.`

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    • Hi Rolland!
      You can use this procedure to get the installation key only when the Windows is licensed under OEM.
      If you loose your sticker or dont have an OEM license key I suggest using freeware tools that read the registry. For example KeyFinder by The Magic Jelly Bean.

  2. Pingback: How to cleanup Windows 7 before Image Capture | Pascal Vis

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