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Windows 7: Want to format. Build an image with installed apps on virtual machine?

25 Apr 2014   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Want to format. Build an image with installed apps on virtual machine?

Hi there,

I'm looking to wipe my PC, but ideally instead of formatting then re-installing everything one by one, i was wondering if i could just create a virtual machine, install all my applications and move essential files across then just build some sort of image from that that can be installed on a fresh, formatted hard drive?

Just so i can can continue working on my machine in the mean time while everything installs, to minimize disruption.

Thanks for your help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Apr 2014   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

Another idea is to install the OS and programs, set it up as you like and then capture the image. This keeps it smaller with only OS and programs and works especially well with a separate data partition for the User folders or linked via Libraries. The image isn't weighed down by out of data files but instead if it needs recovery in 20 minutes C is refreshed while your data is current and safe in its separate partition "vault." Of course you need to back up your files too.
User Folders - Change Default Location
Library - Include a Folder - Windows 7 Forums
Library - Set Save Folder - Windows 7 Help Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #3

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Apologies, not sure i understand your reply. I am aware of what a virtual box is (vmware or oracles free version).

I can install my windows disk on that, then install applications. How do i proceed from there?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


25 Apr 2014   #4
Microsoft MVP

 

I never mentioned virtual install. I suggested instead to go ahead and reinstall to C, set it up as you like without your files, keeping the image smaller and more manageable with your data kept in a separate partition.

Including your data in the image is cumbersome and also becomes out of data almost immediately.

Is there another reason you want to do this in a virtual machine instead of to C drive which is where you want the finished product anyway. I would use that bed to do your installation and setup, then image capture.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #5

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

It's really so i can work on my current machine while building up the new install and transfer my files over to it. I was hoping i could just basically clone what i had on the virtual machine.

Starting from scratch is a painstaking process.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

Yes, that should work too.

All of the things that must be remembered and other preparations, best practices for install, and the tools and methods which work best to get and keep perfect Windows 7 are compiled in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which applies to retail as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #7

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

What i was wondering though, was once i have built up that virtual machine and installed everything. How to i make it in to some sort of installation that i can put on USB then format my hard drive and install from usb.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

This tutorial is exactly for scenarios like the one you want to do: New Installation: How to Create a General System Image in Audit Mode

Just one change: if you want to prepare your image on a virtual machine, or on another machine than the one you will be deploying (installing) it to, in Step 3 you also need to tick the Generalize selection box in Sysprep dialog.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #9

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
This tutorial is exactly for scenarios like the one you want to do: New Installation: How to Create a General System Image in Audit Mode

Just one change: if you want to prepare your image on a virtual machine, or on another machine than the one you will be deploying (installing) it to, in Step 3 you also need to tick the Generalize selection box in Sysprep dialog.

Kari
Thanks. Does this also save any documents etc? Or am i best just putting them on usb manually?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Before you do anything I suggest we discuss what kind of installation disc you have. Is it a retail or an OEM disc.

With the OEM system you could not move it from a virtual partition to a real PC. Those would be considered 2 seperate systems and would require 2 seperate OEM (or other) product keys.

With a retail disc, there would not be that problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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