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Windows 7: Easiest method of re-installing W7 Ultimate on 30+ machines

05 Oct 2015   #1

Windows 7 ultimate 64bit
Easiest method of re-installing W7 Ultimate on 30+ machines


We need to format all of our office PC's and are trying to find the best method. Before you read the plan below, please be aware that we have all license keys for each machine all ready to go.

Here is the plan, but I'm not sure how practical it will be;
  1. Using a host PC/HDD, install a fresh unlicensed W7 Ultimate and then install trial editions of Office and other software we need.
  2. Clone a dozen HDD's from the host HDD.
  3. Boot up each PC and apply their original license key for all software (Windows, Office etc)

It's a much cheaper and faster solution than what we've been quoted by third party companies, plus we have all the equipment to do this, however is it that simple regarding booting up and activating Windows with that PC's original key?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2015   #2

Windows 10 Professional

Quick question. In this office environment do you not have a version of Windows Server installed on a machine? If so I would install and configure Windows Deployment Services and carry it out that way. Could easily get every computer done in about a day once deployment is started after initial sysprep of a fully updated machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2015   #3

Windows 7 ultimate 64bit


We use Windows Server 2012, however I do not know much about Windows Server to confidently start that task.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Oct 2015   #4

Windows 10 Professional

I have briefly scanned over this tutorial and it seems to include everything you need to know.

Basically the process is:
  1. Install WDS role through Server Manager.
  2. Configure WDS to suit your environment (AD DC/DHCP or not).
  3. Add boot image.
  4. Add capture image.
  5. Fully update a host machine with desired operating system and activate PXE Boot option in BIOS (Do not activate any licenses).
  6. Sysprep the host machine (I like to use the /shutdown switch instead of /reboot to make sure I have full control over the bootup procedure, as you only get 3 tries at Sysprepping a machine then you have to reformat).
  7. Start host machine and mash F12, wait for it to contact the WDS server and press F12 quickly when prompted.
  8. Allow the request in pending devices if that was chosen in WDS configuration.
  9. Select capture on host machine, then the image will be pulled over the network and stored on the server.
  10. Enable PXE Boot on client machines and mash F12 at start going through the same process.
  11. This time choose your recently captured image and let it install Windows.

Then you will just have to go through an out of the box experience setup and then you can activate licenses, join to domain etc etc.

If you are still not confident it is always worth trying it on one machine, seeing what happens. If there was a miss configuration do it again and re sysprep the host if needed. The time it would take you to test out WDS on one computer would be almost the same time it would take to clone one HDD, maybe faster. Once you are confident that test client machine is working, you can plug all the others into the network and do them all at once.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Easiest method of re-installing W7 Ultimate on 30+ machines

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