Here is the truth about sysprep: it's really meant for system builders who want to clone the custem system image for rapid deploy to many computers. Also it is mostly to prerpare a computer with a preinstalled os that the custumer does not have to install but does have to answer oobe questions at first log on.
So, if you arn't preparing the computer for a custumer or planing to clone the system image you would have no need for sysprep.
Therefore the best and easyest way is forgetv about sysprep and add you programs at pass 7 first log on commands.
Yes I also thought of tryin your suggestion out since sysprep didn't work for me currently, BUT when I first used this tutorial, it worked before hmm i can't put a finger on what happen now, after starting fresh. sysprep will load, finish or not, it will shutdown instead of restarting like it use to, i even used the autounattended.xml that worked before, its mind boggling, hope anyone can shed some light to this mysterious problem.
Anyway I dump all that and add my programs in past 7 (FirstLogon) instead of the usual place at past 6 when sysprep was used, and it doesn't seem to work.
I also remember using FirstLogon when sysprep was working, that time FirstLogon worked fine too.
hmmmmmm i'm lost...