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I have a few friends which keep on coming to me every month to format their laptops and then reinstall Windows.

This is time consuming.

Is there any way that I can make an image of their full system on my Harddrive and then restore to their Laptop from my computer?

What I want is

  1. I have the image of the whole laptop on my desktop.
  2. The laptop is formatted with no OS.
  3. I have no CD/DVD to put in laptop (as the image is 15GB).
  4. How will I trasfer the image from my desktop to the laptop without using CD/DVD?

Any option for booting via network, etc?

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To transfer the image from the desktop to the laptop, use an external USB hard disk. Also make the disk dumps of your friends' computers directly to that disk. – harrymc Apr 15 '10 at 11:12

For an open source solution, I suggest Clonezilla because I've used it and it was fairly easy.

If you didn't already know, in general this is called imaging. See also Disk cloning on Wikipedia.

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One for-pay option is Ghost. Works very well.

I'm not familiar with any Open Source options, though I'm sure one exists.

UPDATE: Yes, according to this link it will (although the instructions are for older versions of Ghost, I assume that the latest version will do that as well).

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I have edited the post for what i want. Will Ghost do that – Mirage Feb 12 '10 at 2:56
@Mirage updated answer to account for your question update. – Michael Todd Feb 12 '10 at 4:03
  1. Get a Windows Home Server. Back up all of your computers and your friends' computers (assuming you don't have too many friends - max 10 PCs backed up). Back up right after you install the OS, patches, and apps. Have them come visit you for additional backups every week or month or whatever.

  2. Make them standardize on one OS.

  3. Switch to Windows 7. Older OSes take longer because you have to wait for lots of patches.

  4. Create a slipstreamed install disc, with patches and service packs, to save you those steps next time.

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#5 get new friends. I have to wonder what his friends are giving OP for his time. – Broam Feb 12 '10 at 14:00
I just bought a Windows Home Server for less that $300 just for this reason. I now have all 5 of our computers backed up to the WHS just in case I have to restore any of these in the future. – Zooks64 Feb 12 '10 at 14:46

It's quite easy to do this if you have a hdd box . You ghost that image to your desktop hdd . It's done .

If you don't have one , you can ghost through network I think :-? Ghost can do it well . I haven't tried this before, but many net managers do it everyday :) Try Google and I find this one,.

Another way is : You can create an boot usb . After that, you can use this one to ghost :) It's the most and easy way you can do :) ( USB is easy to find , right? )

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I'd personally reccomend Acronis Home Edition. ou can take a base image of the Laptop and store it either on another computer on the network, on Physical Media such as a removable HDD or DVD's, or on a seperate protected partition on the Laptops HDD. There is also the option to install recovery manager on the pc so the user can just press F11 at boot to restore the image. If the image is on the HDD then this re-imaging can be done anywhere in only minutes. Another handy option, although it might be only on higher end products, is the universal restore which allows the image to be restored onto dis-similar hardware and drivers specified and added at image restoration time. I've used this product for a few years now, as well as the enterprise versions, and have had only positive experiences, even when moving servers from box to box for testing and migration.

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