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Windows 7: Installing numerous PCs from a master build - Is this possible

10 Oct 2011   #51

Windows 10 Pro x64

Disk cloning was necessary (for Windows systems, at least) prior to Windows Vista mainly for two reasons. First, Microsoft really didn't provide imaging tools - in fact, they didn't suggest creating/keeping images at all before Windows 2000 (they supported it via sysprep, but they didn't recommend it). Second, even after imaging, there weren't any tools otherwise to handle re-deployment of a sysprep'ed machine. This brought the rise of Ghost (and other tools, but Ghost was king) for sector-based cloning of a hard disk. However, since Microsoft released Vista (and later OSes, including Win7) as images already, the first part of this was already done by the vendor. The second piece, cloning, can (and should) be done with Microsoft's tools using Microsoft's format (WIM). WIM files are file-based images of a system, rather than sector-based, meaning they can be single-instance storage (so you can store multiple versions of the same OS in the same WIM file, similar to how it's done on the Windows DVD, and only take up the space of one file if each "image" contains the same file), it can be updated offline (adding patches, drivers, adding/removing features, etc), does not contain any filesystem or partition information in the image (so it can be restored just about anywhere), and doesn't require a destructive wipe of existing data before applying the image.

Again, cloning is most definitely XP-era (and older) technology, and tools that do such should be avoided going forward. Also, even Windows XP can be imaged using the WIM container format using Microsoft's tools (the XP OS inside a WIM can't be updated or maintained like Vista or Win7 can, but you still get the other benefits of using the WIM container versus a sector-based image).

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2011   #52

win 7 hp 64 bit

Thank you Thank you.

My customers are in the two to ten range.
Say a real estate office.

What is MDT. Possibly a link please.

I am currently working with Paragon as
recommended here. I have my quote
(good price per PC) (some sort of MS
license included per PC). I have an
evaluation copy. I am working with
tech support to overcome a conflict
with the TeraByte boot manager I
have used for 8 years. I told them
that I tse TeraByte at the very

Excellent support.

Thanks again, Steve ...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2011   #53

Windows 10 Pro x64

I would say neither of those are needed, nor would they be recommended. They're old-design technology, and they're being used with OSes they weren't really designed to support natively. MDT == Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which is a user interface on top of the AIK (automated installation kit) and potentially WDS (windows deployment services), which allows you to install windows, applications, drivers, etc in a repeatable (and if necessary, easily debugged) manner. The really good part about it is that, other than a server license if you want to use network builds from WDS versus installing from a USB key (which I recommend if you can swing the server on the network), it's free.

Instead of go over MDT in detail here, I'll just shameless plug my own blog where I've discussed MDT in detail, including how it can be used for smaller organizations:
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Oct 2011   #54

win 7 hp 64 bit

I think there are multiple definations of image and clone.
This could lead to confusion.

I use TeraByte IMAGE to back up my accountant's PC
4 times a year FOR EXAMPLE. This makes an exact
compressed copy of the OS partition on an external

She knows to make daily copies of her data disk.
She is pretty good at this, rotating everithing
to external storage (her car) and her save box.

Steve ...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2011   #55

Windows 10 Pro x64

An image and a clone are usually used interchangeably, although most folks don't use "clone" anymore (hence why everything is an "image"). Again, unless it's using WIM natively, I wouldn't touch it for anything more than single-user (or home use) backup and restore/recovery.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2011   #56

win 7 hp 64 bit

The first two pages of your site read very well.
Well written, structured, ordered, well formatted.
This is very important.

I will start "studying" tomorrow.

Thank you very much.
What is your occupation?

Steve ...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2011   #57

Windows 10 Pro x64

Take a guess based on my blog .

In all seriousness, I do deployment (planning to execution) consulting and performance / system analysis for the most part, as well as doing a decent amount of app compat (including IE), virtualization, and VDI consultation and troubleshooting, in my day-to-day. I also spend a lot of time building and delivering training in those areas as well, and probably see around 40 different environments in a year.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2011   #58

Windows 7x32 Home Premium & XP SP3 x86

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kegobeer View Post
Windows 7 creates a 100MB partition during the install process, unless you stop it from doing so. It is hidden, so you do not see it and certainly you won't have a C drive with 100MB. This partition is for the bitlocker feature.

If your original (donor) computer had Windows 7 installed and it created this partition, and you try to restore the image to a computer without the partition, you will most certainly have problems since Windows will be looking for this partition.
So how can I ascertain that the 100MB partition was created and does it work? Since I am using Home Edition x86, which does not support bitlocker, do I still have the recovery feature embedded in the partition?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2011   #59
Microsoft MVP


Look in Disk Mgmt. If you have Sys Reserved 100mb partition and it is marked System Active then it is functioning correctly.

Then restart and tap F8 key repeatedly until you enter Advanced Boot Options, to see if Repair console is there and that it boots and works.

If one images the OS partition without SysReserved, the fix is to mark Win7 partition Active then boot the DVD Repair console or Repair CD to run Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times until it writes the System boot files to Win7 partition and starts. You can also use free Partition Wizard bootable CD
to mark 7 partition Active, then click to highlight HD and from Disk tab select Rebuild MBR which can preclude the need to run the Repairs from disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2011   #60
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64
This is why.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by w3a537 View Post
Thank you all.

I just wish MS had told me all of this
the first time I asked them.

Steve Broshears, thanks again ...
This is why I mentioned the proper agreement with Microsoft before trying anything else. Spending all the time it takes to learn and to do what you are trying to do would be wasted without the proper license.
If I was trying to do what you are trying to do I would take another long look at what cluberti has posted.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Installing numerous PCs from a master build - Is this possible

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