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Sorry if this is too generic a question, but we do a lot of imaging on a lot of different models of PC (all using Windows XP and Symantec Ghost).

The first issue identified was the use of a checksum and utility partition. We were able to defeat this by deleting the partitions and creating one large one.

The next issue is getting windows to accept a CD key. I've even gone so far as to extract the CD key from a Lenovo x61 and attempt to use it again after cloning, with no results. When feeling particularly plucky, I've attempted dealing with Microsoft Activation support, who told me that the CD key was counterfeit, and Lenovo, who told me that they didn't support cloning/sysprep and that I would have to talk to Microsoft.

At some point, we were cloning PCs without sysprep and then running NewSID after cloning. With the latest batch of Lenovo T510s, that procedure seems to stop the network card from working again (even after reinstalling drivers).

My latest has been trying out a universal image (courtesy of driverpacks.net and offline sysprep), this image has been certified working on 7 different models in the environment, but does not want to take on a Lenovo: We freeze at the first screen in mini-setup.

Everyone in the organization likes the Lenovo hardware, but it is getting to be very very time consuming to support. Does anyone have any tricks to bypass all the pain that seems to be inherent in cloning each new model of Lenovo laptop?

Note: Unsure if this should be community wiki or not. There may be an exact answer of something I'm doing wrong, but it may turn out to be just a few pro-tips and general suggestions. I am leaving it as a regular question for now, but am welcome to changing it to community wiki if needed.

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ThinkPads are designed for enterprise use, so it must be possible. Try asking in the Lenovo forums if you do not get the answers that you need here. –  paradroid Oct 13 '10 at 18:57
    
You might post what OS and what cloning software you have tried. My experience with cloning and W7 is you have to do a startup repair after cloning on the first boot. Newer UEFI bios's use a different scheme to install the VLK for different manufacturers and activate it, it is a complicated process to activate on a VLK and a UEFI bios from what I have read. SID duplication is considered a myth these days...blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2009/11/03/… –  Moab Oct 13 '10 at 19:17
    
We are using windows XP presently, but I've heard of issues with most Windows versions. We use Ghost 11.5 to clone. –  Chris Sobolewski Oct 13 '10 at 19:28
    
Have you tried other software?...ping.windowsdream.com –  Moab Feb 28 '11 at 18:04
    
Unfortunately, using something like Clonezilla is a non-starter in this environment for many reasons beyond my control. –  Chris Sobolewski Feb 28 '11 at 19:21
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1 Answer

do you use the images that Lenovo sends you or do you wipe them, reinstall everything and then image from there?

I've basically never cloned a PC with a factory image - might be something stupid with their image.

I use Acronis an love that - but i'd just create your own clean install - sysprep then image (reboot and boot to CD).

also - does ghost allow you to boot to CD so you can clone without installing stupid symantec software? I'm pretty sure that's why i stopped using it because the newer versions weren't supporting that feature - i maybe wrong but that's besides the point.

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Boot to CD is a bit lame, when ThinkPads have Intel AMT and network PXE booting =) –  paradroid Oct 14 '10 at 4:14
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