How To Fix Reboot Loop Sysprep Error

Error:  "Windows could not finish configuring the system.  To attempt to resume configuration, restart the computer."

When sysprepping a new image there is a chance that a corrupt or invalid registry key can cause the system to become stuck in an endless loop of of system configuration.  Many users will get stuck in a situation in which they have spent many hours perfecting an image only to have gathered an image that does not come out of Sysprep configuration.  If you find yourself stuck in this situation, there is a way to figure out exactly what registry key is causing your sysprep to fail, so then you don't have to slowly install every program until you find which software is causing the problem.

This issue is caused by a registry key or registry keys that are:

  • Set with invalid permissions
  • Bigger than 8kb
  • Corrupt

Sysprep has a log that you can use that will tell you exactly what registry key is erroring out, but it is not straightforward to extract this log from a machine that is stuck in a neverending sysprep reboot loop.

 Here are the steps for getting the log you need to see:

When you see the "Windows could not finish configuring the system. To attempt to resume configuration, restart the computer." error message, do the following:

  1. Push Shift+F10 to get to a command prompt
  2. Navigate to C:\windows\Panther
  3. Find the Setup.etl file and find a way to copy this file off of the system using network drivers or removable media
  4. Copy the setup.etl file from the sysprep looping system to another computer that has Windows 7. 
  5. Open a Command Prompt on the Windows 7 computer.
  6. Navigate to the root of C:\ (or wherever you saved the file)
  7. Type "tracerpt setup.etl -o logfile.csv"
  8. Close the command prompt and open up logfile.csv in your text editor of choice. 
  9. Look through the log file (towards the end probably) for messages that say "Failed to process reg key or one of it's decendants"
  10. Remove this software from your image or simply remove the offending registry key if possible

These steps will allow you to identify any problem keys and remove/workaround them on your image.