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Windows 7: Imaging with free Macrium

15 Jun 2015   #1400
Kari

 

I am sure Wolfgang has more experience in this and can answer more in-depth, here's what I know based on my own experience.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by profdlp View Post
Is it possible to use Macrium Reflect to restore a single image to multiple destination drives? For instance, if I had three identical laptops and wanted to put the same image on each of them can I do this in one shot? I would be removing the destination drives and hooking them up to a desktop computer for the imaging process.
I create my hardware independent Windows images with Macrium and use the image resulted in deploying it instead of the clean install to all my computers, restoring the same image. It works well, without issues. In your example case when the hardware is identical on all machines it should be even easier because Windows don't have to be generalized.

To put it short, this is how I install Windows on one machine, capture the image and use it instead of a clean install on all other machines:
  • Install Windows, enter Audit Mode from the first OOBE dialog
  • Update Windows, install all software
  • Customize (theme, desktop, colors, folder view settings, icon settings and so on)
  • Run Sysprep with the GENERALIZE switch and my modified answer file
  • Shutdown the computer
  • Boot with Macrium boot disk
  • Create the image, store it on external drive
  • Reboot normally and let Windows finalize the installation
This gives me a clean installed Windows with all my software installed and personalization / customization done. Now I can take the external drive containing the Macrium image, connect it to the next PC, boot it with Macrium boot disk and simply restore the same image (deploy instead of clean install) which, because of the GENERALIZE switch I used when sysprepping is totally hardware independent and can be restored to any machine, real or virtual.

To do the same on an existing Windows system simply open an elevated command prompt and give this command:

Code:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown
Now boot with Macrium boot disk and make the image, it can be restored on any PC capable of running Windows.

In case of identical hardware this as I mentioned above is unnecessary; you should be able to use the image on any machine with identical hardware without sysprepping it.

Important to remember if generalizing a Windows image:

Note   Note
What does Sysprep generalizing do to my Windows 7 setup?
  • All system specific information is removed or uninstalled
  • Security ID (SID) of your hardware setup is reseted
  • All system restore points are deleted
  • All event logs are deleted
  • All personalization is removed (taskbar, toolbars, folder options, start orb etc.)
  • Built-in administrator account is disabled (if it was enabled) and needs to be re-enabled if needed

What happens when booting first time after sysprep generalizing?
  • First boot configuration is run
  • New SID is created
  • Re-arm counter is reseted if not already re-armed three times
  • Windows 7 is booted using first boot default drivers and settings



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by profdlp View Post
As a corollary, could I run multiple instances of Macrium simultaneously from the same computer, each dumping a single image to a different HD?
You don't need to do that. You can simply run Macrium as many times as you need to, each time creating the image to a different storage location, or even simpler, create one image and copy it.

Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
15 Jun 2015   #1401
Kari

 

I am sure Wolfgang has more experience in this and can answer more in-depth, here's what I know based on my own experience.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by profdlp View Post
Is it possible to use Macrium Reflect to restore a single image to multiple destination drives? For instance, if I had three identical laptops and wanted to put the same image on each of them can I do this in one shot? I would be removing the destination drives and hooking them up to a desktop computer for the imaging process.
The latter part of your question first: the HDD or SSD you are restoring an image to can as far as I know be connected on any machine when restoring. You can take the laptop HDD, put it in an external case and connect it to your desktop, restore the image to it, connect the HDD back to a laptop and it should boot and work just fine.

I create my hardware independent Windows images with Macrium and use the image resulted in deploying it instead of the clean install to all my computers, restoring the same image. It works well, without issues. In your example case when the hardware is identical on all machines it should be even easier because Windows does not have to be generalized.

To put it short, this is how I install Windows on one machine, capture the image and use it instead of a clean install on all other machines:
  • Install Windows, enter Audit Mode from the first OOBE dialog
  • Update Windows, Install all software
  • Customize (theme, desktop, colors, folder view settings, icon settings and so on)
  • Run Sysprep with the GENERALIZE switch and my modified answer file
  • Shutdown the computer
  • Boot with Macrium boot disk
  • Create the image, store it on external drive
  • Reboot normally and let Windows finalize the installation
This gives me a clean installed Windows with all my software installed and personalization / customization done. Now I can take the external drive containing the Macrium image, connect it to the next PC, boot it with Macrium boot disk and simply restore the image (deploy instead of clean install) which, because of the GENERALIZE switch I used when sysprepping is totally hardware independent and can be installed on any machine, real or virtual.

To do the same on an existing Windows system simply open an elevated command prompt and give this command:

Code:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown
Notice that before sysprepping the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service must first be stopped with this command:

Code:
net stop wmpnetworksvc
Let the sysprep run and shut down your PC. Now boot with Macrium boot disk and make the image, it can be restored on any PC capable of running Windows.

In case of identical hardware this as I mentioned above is unnecessary; you should be able to use the image on any machine with identical hardware without sysprepping it.

Important to remember if generalizing a Windows image with sysprep:

Note   Note
What does Sysprep generalizing do to my Windows 7 setup?
  • All hardware and system specific information is removed or uninstalled
  • Security ID (SID) of your hardware setup is reseted
  • All system restore points are deleted
  • All event logs are deleted
  • All personalization is removed if the CopyProfile=TRUE is not used in answer file (taskbar, toolbars, folder options, start orb etc.). Because the CopyProfile setting only works when there are no existing user accounts, it can normally only be used when generalizing Windows in Audit Mode before any user accounts have been created. If generalizing is done on an existing Windows installation with existing user accounts, all customizations are lost and Windows reverts to default first run settings using default background, resolution, colors and so on
  • Built-in administrator account is disabled (if it was enabled)

What happens when booting first time after sysprep generalizing?
  • First boot configuration is run
  • New SID is created
  • Re-arm counter is reseted if not already re-armed three times
  • Windows 7 is booted using first boot default drivers and settings



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by profdlp View Post
As a corollary, could I run multiple instances of Macrium simultaneously from the same computer, each dumping a single image to a different HD?
You don't need to do that. You can simply run Macrium as many times as you need to, each time creating the image to a different storage location, or even simpler, create one image and copy it.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2015   #1402
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by profdlp View Post
Here's a question:

Is it possible to use Macrium Reflect to restore a single image to multiple destination drives? For instance, if I had three identical laptops and wanted to put the same image on each of them can I do this in one shot? I would be removing the destination drives and hooking them up to a desktop computer for the imaging process.

As a corollary, could I run multiple instances of Macrium simultaneously from the same computer, each dumping a single image to a different HD?

Best Macrium tutorial there is, by the way.
Running multiple instances makes no sense because you would get a lot of disk contention which would make the process slower than if you ran one after the other.

Restoring an image for a PC from where the image did not originally come will give you all sorts of problems. Besides driver problems you would also have activation problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #1403
Gary

Win 10 Pro 64
 
 

Macrium Reflect Free

Macrium Reflect is now offering a free version of this great program with almost all of the features of the paid one. I bought this program about two months ago , now I wish I would have waited. IMHO it is the best backup/restore software out there. There is a chart in the link that will show you the all of the features compared to the paid for versions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

18 Jun 2015   #1404
Anak

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Home Premium 64bit Ver 6.1.7600 Build 7601 - SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Gary View Post
Macrium Reflect Free

Macrium Reflect is now offering a free version of this great program with almost all of the features of the paid one. I bought this program about two months ago , now I wish I would have waited. IMHO it is the best backup/restore software out there. There is a chart in the link that will show you the all of the features compared to the paid for versions.
Hi Gary!

You may have missed the ongoing tutorial that whs created: Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #1405
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

The free version is now version 6 with some new features.
Quote:
We are pleased to announce that Macrium Reflect v6 Free Edition is available now. We have updated the user interface and added these exciting new features.

New Features in v6 Free:
  • Differential Images
    Differential Images for faster backups and reduced storage space.
  • Auto verification
    Automatically verify images after creation to ensure integrity.
  • Pre-defined backup plan templates
    Macrium Reflect backup templates allow for quick creation of scheduled backups.
  • Windows PE rescue environment
    If additional drivers are required for disk or network access, they are now automatically identified and if possible copied from the host operating system. You can now add a boot menu so you can easily restore a system image without inserting rescue media.
Source: Macrium Reflect Free
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #1406
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidE View Post
The free version is now version 6 with some new features.
Quote:
We are pleased to announce that Macrium Reflect v6 Free Edition is available now. We have updated the user interface and added these exciting new features.

New Features in v6 Free:
  • Differential Images
    Differential Images for faster backups and reduced storage space.
  • Auto verification
    Automatically verify images after creation to ensure integrity.
  • Pre-defined backup plan templates
    Macrium Reflect backup templates allow for quick creation of scheduled backups.
  • Windows PE rescue environment
    If additional drivers are required for disk or network access, they are now automatically identified and if possible copied from the host operating system. You can now add a boot menu so you can easily restore a system image without inserting rescue media.
Source: Macrium Reflect Free
Regrettably they have left out "Fast Delta Restore". This has allowed me to restore an image in 5 minutes which took 30 minutes before.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #1407
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidE View Post
The free version is now version 6 with some new features.
Quote:
We are pleased to announce that Macrium Reflect v6 Free Edition is available now. We have updated the user interface and added these exciting new features.

New Features in v6 Free:
  • Differential Images
    Differential Images for faster backups and reduced storage space.
  • Auto verification
    Automatically verify images after creation to ensure integrity.
  • Pre-defined backup plan templates
    Macrium Reflect backup templates allow for quick creation of scheduled backups.
  • Windows PE rescue environment
    If additional drivers are required for disk or network access, they are now automatically identified and if possible copied from the host operating system. You can now add a boot menu so you can easily restore a system image without inserting rescue media.
Source: Macrium Reflect Free
Regrettably they have left out "Fast Delta Restore". This has allowed me to restore an image in 5 minutes which took 30 minutes before.
I haven't tried the restore with v. 6 yet. I have the Server edition. I do like the incremental backups. I was doing a complete image on every backup when I had Standard. It's much more fun to do a backup in 5 to 20 minutes rather than 20 to 45.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #1408
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MilesAhead View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidE View Post
The free version is now version 6 with some new features.
Source: Macrium Reflect Free
Regrettably they have left out "Fast Delta Restore". This has allowed me to restore an image in 5 minutes which took 30 minutes before.
I haven't tried the restore with v. 6 yet. I have the Server edition. I do like the incremental backups. I was doing a complete image on every backup when I had Standard. It's much more fun to do a backup in 5 to 20 minutes rather than 20 to 45.
I'm a bit leary of incremental backups. I prefer differential which I see is available in the free v6.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2015   #1409
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MilesAhead View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post

Regrettably they have left out "Fast Delta Restore". This has allowed me to restore an image in 5 minutes which took 30 minutes before.
I haven't tried the restore with v. 6 yet. I have the Server edition. I do like the incremental backups. I was doing a complete image on every backup when I had Standard. It's much more fun to do a backup in 5 to 20 minutes rather than 20 to 45.
I'm a bit leary of incremental backups. I prefer differential which I see is available in the free v6.
I haven't tried a differential. I didn't like the idea of having to traverse files so I used to do the new image every time. But I can't just start it going and make a sandwich anymore. I only have a Laptop now and it's way too boring to do it the long way. I'm seduced by the quickie 5 minute backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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