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I administer several Windows XP machines. There are a lot of settings and software that I want to set in order to keep the same look/feel, but the machines are vastly different. I hear from others that you can't just image one machine and load it on another because Windows XP freaks out when the hardware changes in a major way.

Is this true? If so, can't I just load the drivers I need and continue working? Aren't there ways of getting Windows XP to work after a major hardware upgrade (eg new motherboard)?

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(This question should have been on ServerFault) – Tom Wijsman Jun 24 '10 at 22:22
Move to ServerFault. – Hello71 Jun 25 '10 at 2:20
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can capture an image with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and then install it on multiple computers in a hardware-independant way, you just need to insert the drivers with the Deployment Workbench and it will be no problem to install the image (containing your settings and software) on computers with different hardware.

This software can come in handy too when you decide to switch to Windows 7 later,
which doesn't freak out on hardware changes in a way that Windows XP does... ;-)

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My Windows 7 partition has been booted by 3 other laptops before this one and it is still running smooth, I don't think that Windows XP can do that unless you deploy it from zero or clean the hell out of device manager. – Tom Wijsman Jun 24 '10 at 22:24
Even Win 7 won't do so for things like SATA/IDE differences for the boot volume, though. At least if I remember correctly. But yes, for the most part changing the system configuration is much less painful than in XP – but hey, it's an ancient OS and you get what you can expect :-) – Joey Jun 24 '10 at 22:39
Indeed, with my example comment that could have been a problem, but with MDT you can just embed those SATA/IDE drivers. – Tom Wijsman Jun 25 '10 at 9:04

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