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Windows 7: I want to know the MOST EFFICIENT way to install (on multiple PC's)

15 Apr 2011   #11
Microsoft MVP


No it is not a fresh install, but includes everything already installed such as the Adobes, Works, CCleaner, Defragger, Firefox w/customizations, TeamViewer, Updates, SP1, Office, desktop, etc.

I prefer Paragon Adaptive Restore which if I moved this HD or its image to another computer then run PAR from CD on it, it would start up and I would have the same exact install on another computer with no noticeable changes or further setup needed after drivers are loaded.

SysPrep requires a bit more setup but still has everything you've installed for the most part. When original is setup as Hidden Admin, it will start up with Account Setup like a new computer from the store.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Apr 2011   #12


You're not doing a fresh install, you're restoring your image that you created with sysprep onto any new computer that you'd like(hardware does not mattter). Not only is the install very quick, but once windows is up and running, all the programs you installed are there as well saving you even more time.

It's much like the state your computer would be in if you bought it from Dell, HP, Acer, etc.... Plug it in, turn it on, you're at the setup screen. Once you get to windows all the HP/Dell/Acer software is installed already. This is how they do it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2011   #13

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


An imaginary scenario:

I have 5 computers, all with different hardware setup. I want to install Windows 7 Ultimate on all 5 rigs, plus Office 2010, VLC Player, complete Windows Live Suite and Skype. I have 5 Ultimate licences (product keys).

I use the one of these 5 rigs with the smallest drive C: as a "master rig" (this because of the problems and extra steps involved when restoring a system image to a smaller HD). I install Windows, Office 2010, VLC Player, Windows Live suite and Skype.

Now, following the steps on Method 2 in this already mentioned tutorial, I create a sysprepped image of that system. Now comes the easy part: I just restore this image to remaining four computers.

Result: five rigs with identical Windows 7 setup.

One important thing to remember when you are setting up rigs to be sold or otherwise deployed: When installing Windows on the "master rig", the one you are going to sysprep, stop the normal setup procedure when Windows after last reboot of installation phase stops to ask username. Do not enter the username ! Instead, press CTRL+SHIFT+F3 to enter Audit Mode.

Audit Mode allows you to install all apps you want to and customize the Windows setup. This is done using the built-in administrator account, no other user accounts need to be created. When the setup is ready, do the sysprep and deploy the image to other computers. Doing this way, every computer with this image boots first time as any new Windows installation, asking user to enter username and computer name.

To put it short, when you see this dialog, do not enter a username. Instead, boot to audit mode pressing CTRL+SHIFT+F3:

My System SpecsSystem Spec


 I want to know the MOST EFFICIENT way to install (on multiple PC's)

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