The generalize pass of Windows Setup is used to create a Windows reference image that can be used throughout an organization. A setting in the generalize pass enables you to automate the behavior for all deployments of this reference image. In comparison, a setting associated with the specialize configuration pass enables you to override behavior for a single, specific deployment.
When a system is generalized, specific configuration data for a given installation of Windows is removed. For example, during the generalize pass, the unique security ID (SID) and other hardware-specific settings are removed from the image.
The generalize configuration pass runs only when you use the
sysprep /generalize command. Answer file settings in generalize are applied to the system before sysprep generalization occurs. The system then shuts down.
The following diagram shows the process of the generalize configuration pass.
The next time the system boots, the specialize pass immediately runs.