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Windows 7: Cloning Win 7 PCs

10 May 2012   #1

XP SVP3
 
 
Cloning Win 7 PCs

I need to setup several different workgroups (8-12 PCs in each) without servers, each having their own set of software. I don't want to setup a complicated imaging setup or make an imaging server.If I setup the first, then clone the other's hard drives using something like Clonzilla, what happens with the product keys? They are all new PCs, each with its own product key and I don't want them to all show the same product key after being cloned from the initial one. Is there a way to clone the subsequent PCs and each still have it's original Product Key?
Thanks.
pdewb

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 May 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Legally, you have to have a unique product key for each PC. Depending on what software you're going to use to perform the cloning, I'd consult their support forums to find out if the software copies the product keys or not. I've only ever used Windows (ImageX and other utilities from Windows AIK) and I know it doesn't copy the product keys.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

If you have a volume license for example Windows 7 Enterprise you can download WAIK tools from Microsoft's official website here (it is a big file)

In WAIK you can use imaging tools such as ImageX and deploy them through DISM. With WSIM you can create an answer file which will automate the installation and in this answer file you can put the product key. Due to legislation this key would obviously have to be a volume license.

It can be rather complicated with no experience so I would definitely recommend you if you know someone who has experience to do it for you. If not and are willing to learn I definitely advise any tutorials you can get your hands on such as YouTube, forums etc.
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11 May 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Assuming you have a volume license for all those computers and a "MAK" product key (not KMS) , you can just set up one computer and once it's done run the sysprep program which is located in C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep

Use the "generalize" option. It will reset activation and prepare the win 7 installation for cloning onto another computer with other or similar hardware.

After running sysprep, remove the hard drive and capture the image using Macrium reflect (my preference) and do this on another pc. After you have the image, all you have to do is blow the image to other hard drives one by one and then you'll need to input your volume product key on each and run activation online on each.

You can get into advanced sysprepping using answer file if you want to tweak deployment options but you don't have to really.
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 Cloning Win 7 PCs




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