Sysprep and Windows Media DRM Workaround for Windows 7


This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.


System builders, OEMs, and deployment personnel in IT organizations who are building Windows® 7 images.


All editions of Windows 7, with the exception of N editions of Windows 7.


Microsoft has discovered an issue with the Windows 7 System Preparation (Sysprep) tool. Sysprep is one of the tools used in Windows deployment scenarios. This issue results in the following scenarios being inoperable on an end-user’s computer, unless a fix described below is applied:

  1. Playback of Windows Media® Digital Rights Management (WMDRM)-protected content and Zune®-protected content

  2. Transfer of that content to devices

  3. Burning the content to CDs

No data loss occurs due to this issue and users upgrading their computers from previous versions of Windows to Windows 7 are not impacted by this issue.

Microsoft has identified several ways that this issue can be addressed, prior to computers with Windows 7 being distributed to end-users. These fixes are described in detail later in this article.


System builders, OEMs and deployment personnel in IT organizations who have created or intend to create Windows 7 images using the Sysprep tool will experience this issue unless either of the following scenarios are used:

  • Using audit mode during image creation does not cause this issue.

  • Selecting the “public” network location during Windows Welcome does not cause this issue.

Determine if your Windows 7 image is affected

  1. After installing a Windows 7 image created using the Sysprep tool, click the following link to download the content used to test for the presence of the issue:


You will need to have an audio-output device connected to the Windows 7 computer.

  1. Follow the prompts from Windows Media Player and leave all of the default values selected.

    If the content plays, the Windows 7 installation on the computer is not affected by this issue.

    If you receive an error about media usage rights, the Windows 7 installation is affected by this issue.

Resolve the issue

There are three options you can use to resolve the issue

  1. Recreate the Windows 7 image by using audit mode to customize Windows.

  2. Recreate the Windows 7 image by booting to Windows Welcome and then selecting “Public”, rather than “Home” or “Work”, as your network configuration.

  3. Update your Windows 7 image by modifying it using the following workaround.


Microsoft has developed a workaround for partners who have already created Windows 7 images with this issue:

  1. Mount the .wim file. The following example mounts the first image in a .wim file to a folder at the location C:\Win7mount.

    Imagex.exe /mountrw C:\images\install.wim 1 C:\Win7mount


The mount folder must already exist and you must have read and write access to it.

  1. Delete the files in the \ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\DRM folder. Delete the contents of the folder, but not the folder itself.

    For example, open C:\Win7mount\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\DRM.


If you do not see files in the folder, or the ProgramData folder itself, then make sure that hidden, system, and protected files are visible. To show the files, use the attrib command in a command prompt or the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option in the Folder Options control panel.

  1. Delete the key values from the DRM key of the mounted image’s registry.

    1. Open regedit.

    2. Select the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE] hive.

    3. From the main menu, select File, and then Load Hive. The Open File dialog box opens.

    4. Navigate to the mounted Windows image. For example:

      1. Browse to C:\Win7mount\Windows\System32\Config and select the file called SOFTWARE.

      2. Provide a unique name for the hive. For example: Win7mountSOFTWARE. The new hive is displayed in the list under the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE] hive.

    5. In this new hive, browse to the WMDRM key. Assuming that you named the loaded hive Win7MountSOFTWARE, and depending on the architecture of the operating system, the keys are in the following locations:

      • Windows 7 x86:


      • Windows 7 x64:


    6. Delete any values or subkeys under this key. For example, delete the DataPath REG_BINARY value.

    7. Select the loaded hive in the left-hand pane.

    8. From the main menu, select File, and then Unload Hive.

  2. Commit the changes to the .wim file and then unmount the image. For example:

    Imagex.exe /unmount /commit c:\Win7mount
  3. Verify the workaround resolved the issue by installing the updated install.wim file. Verify the following changes in the updated image:

    • An empty \ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\DRM folder exists

    • The DRM regkey has no values or subkeys in it.

    Use the instructions detailed in the “Determine if your Windows 7 Image is affected” section above to verify the workaround is applied successfully.