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Windows 7: Drivers automatically installed upon reformat

13 Oct 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home 64-Bit
Drivers automatically installed upon reformat

Hi guys, I am going to try and explain this the very best I can.
For work I am going to be reformatting all the laptops before resale. Now downloading all the updates is very frustrating, but I have been advised to use a piece of software called Macrium Reflect, which basically copies the complete hard drive, so you have a perfect back up.

So my plan is to make a fresh install of windows, update Windows fully, and them make an exact image of that hard drive. What I then plan to do, is install this copy onto all the laptops (Using the unique windows key), which basically saves me wasting hours per laptop updating.

My problem is, when you format a laptop, some drivers are already installed, where others are not. I do not know exactly what determines why some drivers are already installed and some are not, but anyway, if I took the complete image of the hard drive, of lets say a Toshiba laptop, then put all that data on to an Acer laptop for example, would I get conflict between already installed drivers?

By this, I would not install any manually downloaded drivers onto the Toshiba until after the image is taken, meaning the only drivers moved between laptops are the pre-installed ones

I hope I have explained this as well as I possibly could
Thank you in advance for any help you can give :)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Imaging and installing onto many computers would be possible only if you have exactly the same hardware on all them, since yes, there could be conflicting drivers if you move the very same install.
Windows by default at install time looks for your hardware setup and loads the most adequate drivers it can find, since the drivers are both OS-specific and hardware-specific.
With only the default drivers you may have conflicts, but maybe not, depending on the hardware setup of each machine. Anyway, the most important drivers are those that ship with the machine and are vendor specific, unfortunately. You may be saving repeating the Windows install on each computer, but most likely will have to download specific drivers for each one to get fully functional computers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home 64-Bit

Thank you for the reply. Installing the drivers is not a problem, as I would have to do that anyway, and I use SlimDrivers which is a very good tool for identifying drivers.

My concern was about conflicting drivers. If, while installing the image onto a new laptop, the computer just rejected the driver, that would be fine, as I would just install the correct drivers.

The worry would be, laptops showing drivers installed, but them not working

Thank you for the help
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Oct 2012   #4
Mark Phelps

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit

The commercial version of Macrium Reflect comes with an option known as Redeploy. The way you use this (as I did recently) is as follows:
1) Make an image backup of the PC you want to deploy. Put that backup on an external drive.
2) Connect the external drive to the target PC, but boot from an MR boot CD.
3) Restore the PC from the backup on the external drive
4) Reboot -- but from the MR Boot CD
5) Choose the Redeploy option -- this will replace any incorrect drivers installed from the restore functions with the correct drivers for THAT PC.
6) Disconnect the external drive (the one containing the backup)
7) Reboot the PC -- from the hard drive

Understand though, that you will need an individual Windows License for each of the laptops, and after the PC boots, you would have to change the license key for each of the laptops to the key for that specific PC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home 64-Bit

Hi, So this morning I went ahead to transfer to my first laptop.

Got to the point to hit restore and it comes up with an error 'The Target disk is too small'

Now, I know there is definitely enough room to transfer the file, as the whole thing was 28GB, and the hard drive has over 250GB of free space, so that definitely is not an issue.

All I can think of, is that the system I used to make the Image had a 500gb Hard drive, so I am wondering if this is conflicting some how, even though the image is on really 28GB.

If so, is there a way for me to get that 500GB hard drive, make it appear lets say, a 30GB hard drive, make the image, then turn it back into a 500GB hard drive again.

Then I guess the same on the new PC, would the hard drive once restored look like a 30GB, and then could I convert that back to a 250GB hard drive?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Drivers automatically installed upon reformat

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