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I figured if I could reimage the new laptop, I wouldn't have to reinstall all the development software I install on a regular basis on every new system when I get a new contract gig and have to work on site--it takes me a day and a half to get through all of them, so I really need a better solution.

Note: I am using Windows 7 Ultimate on my desktop, and using Windows 7 Home on my laptop.

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5 Answers 5

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Acronis True Image Universal Restore can take an image from one computer and install it onto a computer with completely different hardware.

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This is what I wanted. Thanks. –  picardo May 2 '10 at 17:18

You can use ImageX if you have two licenses for Windows 7 Ultimate.

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For some information on why people expect it not to work, see Unsupported Sysprep scenarios. Eg.

Microsoft also does not support the use of Sysprep to install an operating system from an image if the image was created by using a computer whose motherboard has a different manufacturer, or if the image was created by using a computer with the same configuration but from a different manufacturer.

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That is Sysprep, not other tools. It's like saying that because tool X that does Y doesn't do Y in scenario Z that tool Q won't do it either. –  ta.speot.is Apr 28 '10 at 3:38

You can certainly create an image of your laptop hard disk onto an external USB device and then later copy that image back to your laptop hard drive to restore it to its previous state, But you can't take an image from your desktop and copy that onto your laptop's hard drive and expect things to work.

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Why????? Regards. –  Xavierjazz Apr 27 '10 at 23:32
    
I would also like to know why, since Microsoft makes a tool for exactly this (see my answer). Also since a lot of virtualisation vendors have tools that do the same thing but between a physical and virtual machine (they obviously have different hardware configurations). Take a look at P2V/V2P/P2P tools. –  ta.speot.is Apr 27 '10 at 23:54
    
@Xavierjazz This makes plenty of sense to me. Windows installation is very specific to the hardware on your machine. Drivers are optimally installed or skipped as needed based on your own configuration. Obviously Windows is able to handle hardware changes while installed, but often if you replace too many components Windows either forces you to reactivate or you end up experiencing all sorts of driver nightmares. As Hugh point out below Windows locks onto the motherboard specifications as its basis for comparison on a given install and that would not be passable in the laptop/desktop scenario. –  Nathan Taylor Apr 28 '10 at 1:40
    
@Nathan Taylor, specific P2V/V2P and P2P tools allow you to transfer between different motherboards. –  ta.speot.is Apr 28 '10 at 3:35
    
@Xavierjazz Because the hardware differences require different drivers. And there may be other things. I wouldn't trust the OS after such a move from a laptop to a desktop. But, as others have pointed out, there are tools that may take care of all the differences. I don't know how well they work or if you can trust them 100% to take care of all contingencies. –  Marnix A. van Ammers Apr 29 '10 at 2:14

From winPE with ImageX included. capture a syspreped image save it onto a external storage device then deploy it onto the new laptop and have it build the drivers back in. If you do it right and find the drivers, have them added to your external storage it'll auto load them into you're new image and you can cross platform deploy this image. This won't work if the computer's have Different processors and a few other cases see hugh allen post

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