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Windows 7: Seek Advice on Cloning/Imaging and how to "standardize" beforehand

19 Feb 2013   #1
AtariBaby

Windows 7 64bit Ultimate, plus practically every other flavor of Windows
 
 
Seek Advice on Cloning/Imaging and how to "standardize" beforehand

Hi guys,

I bought 5 identical PC's.

My intent was to make one just how I want it: software, configs, etc, then clone or image the drive to all the other machines, and then update each with machine ID or whatever.

But I mistakenly went ahead and created a user account that's very specific to that machine: "Assistant". But now I need each copied machine to have a different username. How do I fix this, and how do I "standardize" the PC for best results.

Then, once I'm all configured and ready, how do I best copy or image or clone the machine so they'll all be nearly identical? And what changes need to be made to each?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Feb 2013   #2
AtariBaby

Windows 7 64bit Ultimate, plus practically every other flavor of Windows
 
 

For the copying part, I found these instructions elsewhere:

Make the image:
1. Make the PC as perfect as possible for your needs. This would include removing what you don't want/need and adding what you do and opening MS Office on each user account to complete registration. Drive Vaccine is in the C:\Downloads folder, but it is not installed, so that one of your worries slain. The image that arrives at your location is NOT an OEM version, it is an Enterprise version belonging to TFA (another worry slain?)
2. When the machine is good, back it up using the built in Win 7 backup, choosing the "create an image" method. We use an external USB drive to hold the image, but I believe you can use a network drive, a separate partition, or even multiple DVDs (not recommended).
3. After the image is created, you are offered a chance to make a Recovery CD. Do that.

Clone a machine:
1. Attach the USB drive that holds the image, if that is how you chose to store it
2. Boot from the recovery CD made in step 3 above (this can also be done with any bootable Win 7 DVD, but its not as straightforward.)
3. Navigate to where your image resides. If you use an external drive, it should find it automatically
4. Choose the option that wipes the old drive (this will only wipe out the local (C drive. Other partitions, such as system partitions should remain intact.
5. After this runs (about 10-15 minutes), you are mostly done. Reboot without the Recovery CD if you didn't choose auto reboot before.

Post-clone operations:
1. Enter unique information for each machine (machine name, workgroup, ip address if non-DHCP, printer info., etc)
2. While connected to the Internet, open Computer/Properties and scroll to the bottom of the page.
3. Choose "Change Registration Number" or whatever looks like that (I can't remember the exact wording) , and enter the WIN 7 number on the tag on the top of the CPU. This will make the transition of ownership to you easier at the end of the grant period, and needs to be done within 14 days of activating the clone. Best to do it right away.
4. Test
But what I really need from you guys is help with the before and after, and besides if you have a better way, I'm all ears.

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2013   #3
Kaktussoft

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

The computers are really exact the same? So also same size harddisk?

Keep in mind that if you clone, you clone EVERYTHING. So all user accounts and software as well. Of course after restoring the clone you have to give that machin an unique name, ip address (if not DHCP). And install drivers special for this machine (most likely done by windows update automatically).

What are your questions exactly?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Feb 2013   #4
AtariBaby

Windows 7 64bit Ultimate, plus practically every other flavor of Windows
 
 

Yes, they are identical, even hard drives. I guess I want to figure out best way to "standardize" the computer before cloning it and best way to differentiate after, so there is no confusion or conflict. Should I rename each user account, or add a user account, before or after? I have tried renaming a user account before, and that didn't go so well. It was complicated, plus I never got the folders to properly rename, if I'm making sense.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2013   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Have a look at Method 2 in this tutorial: Windows 7 Installation - Transfer to a New Computer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2013   #6
Kaktussoft

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AtariBaby View Post
Yes, they are identical, even hard drives. I guess I want to figure out best way to "standardize" the computer before cloning it and best way to differentiate after, so there is no confusion or conflict. Should I rename each user account, or add a user account, before or after? I have tried renaming a user account before, and that didn't go so well. It was complicated, plus I never got the folders to properly rename, if I'm making sense.
You can rename a user account, but this only renames what you see on logon screen (username changes)!! userprofile is still C:\users\oldName

Why rename if you want a perfect clone? what confusion or conflicts do you expect?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2013   #7
gregrocker

 

I'd just rename the Computer at Control Panel>System. No need to change the User names unless the same people won't be using the PC. If so, then create only the account that is common to all of them and add others later.

Wait to activate until they are cloned. I'd use the free Acronis premium cloning/imaging app which comes free with any WD or Seagate HD in the mix, or else use Macrium.

There is no reason to generalize anything else since you have the same hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2013   #8
AtariBaby

Windows 7 64bit Ultimate, plus practically every other flavor of Windows
 
 

I just wanted to say thanks guys. I don't know what I'd do without you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2013   #9
gregrocker

 

We're glad to help.

Keep us posted on how you resolve this. Then when ready you can mark it Solved.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Seek Advice on Cloning/Imaging and how to "standardize" beforehand




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