Microsoft Security Essentials, Sysprep and Group Policy

In smaller deployments Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a good, free alternative for anti-malware. If you decide to use MSE in your images, you will discover that sysprep resets the Out Of Box Experience (OOBE) settings for MSE. In other words; every user that logs on to a machine deployed from your image will see the MSE OOBE Wizard (Figure 1-2), until someone with Administrator privileges completes the wizard. Sometimes you might not want to expose your users to that. Fortunately for us, we can use Group Policy Preferences to bypass the OOBE wizard.

Steps to disable MSE OOBE with Group Policy Preferences:

  1. Create a new Group Policy Object (GPO) or use an existing one.
  2. Create a new Registry preference for computers (Figure 3).
  3. Update the key HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftMicrosoft Security EssentialsOOBE DWORD to 0.
  4. Update policy on the client.

The OOBE value has two (known) values:

  • 1: Yes, run OOBE please
  • 0: No thanks, OOBE has already run for this computer

Having shown you how to do this I would like to call attention to the following excerpt from the Microsoft Security Essentials EULA:

  1. INSTALLATION AND USE RIGHTS.
    1. Home Use. If you are a home user, then you may install and use any number of copies of the software on your personal devices for use by people who reside in your household. As a home user, you may not use the software in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue generating business activities.
    2. Small Business. If you operate a small business, then you may install and use the software on up to ten (10) devices in your business.
    3. Restrictions.
      1. The software may not be used on a device running an enterprise version of a Microsoft Windows operating system.
      2. The software may not be used on devices owned by government or academic institutions.
    4. Separation of Components. The components of the software are licensed as a single unit. You may not separate the components and install them on different devices.
    5. Included Microsoft Programs. The software may contain other Microsoft programs. The license terms with those programs apply to your use of them.

3 thoughts on “Microsoft Security Essentials, Sysprep and Group Policy”

    1. Thank you! Just verified this under Windows 7, and your registry location is correct. The one in the article is incorrect.

  1. What about Starter, Home Basic & Home Premium versions? There isn’t any Group Policy management for them…

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