Kudos to lizardking009 for this post at the 2cpu.com forums.
After using Sysprep to prepare a new Windows XP build for distribution to some Dell laptops, I got the a message saying The system is not fully installed when trying to restart the machine.
It turns out that this is due to the presence of Windows Media Player 11 which screws up the Sysprep process somehow. I can't say that I'm a big fan of this DRM-laded stuff, but generally speaking you always load the latest version of everything before resealing the machine to take an image from it.
Microsoft have this knowledgebase article showing how to recover from the problem, although I discovered that this does not work very well on machines that have already been built from a Sysprep (such as Dells). If you're working in a reasonably well equipped environment with another XP machine and a suitable external USB drive enclosure then it's probably easier to edit the registry on the affected PC's hard disk by plugging it into the USB port of another machine, i.e.:
- Load REGEDIT
- Select HKEY_USERS
- Go into File.. Load Hive..
- Browse to the \WINDOWS\System32\Config\System file on the USB connected drive
- Name the hive "system" or whatever you like
- Find the Setup key on the newly loaded hive and locate SystemSetupInProgress.
- Change the data from 1 to 0.
- Unload the Hive