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We just purchased a bunch of new PC's in bulk and I have one computer setup the way I like with all of our company software. I want to push the System Image I created in Windows 7 onto the remaining pc's.

My question is, can I push this image to the other PC's through system recovery without any issues? All PC's have identical internal hardware.

I've never done this before and want to make sure we won't have any SID's that are identical (think Norton Ghost. I've had a little bad luck with that in the past). I'm guessing I'll have to put the computers on the domain and the image will take care of the rest if it is, in fact, possible?

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The proper way to do this is with Sysprep, doing it your way will have Windows activation issues. –  Moab Oct 26 '12 at 21:02

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

My suggestion to you would be to use (at least) Sysprep. Doing so will clean the OS and remove any identifiers that are unique to it. You can provide an answer file to the setup process that occurs when an operating system boots after being sysprepped so that you don't have to enter the information manually for every PC (except the name). Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) is a useful tool for this.

You will need to clone or take an image of the "reference" computer somehow and depending on the number of times you need to use your image, you might want to think about how you deploy it. You can use ImageX to capture and apply an Windows Image (WIM) file. Applying an image is done by mounting the destination drive you you can only realistically do one at a time.

A more comprehensive tool called Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) will create an answer file, help you Sysprep and capture the image, and help you create media to deploy the image (among many other things). Microsoft Deployment Toolkit will help you with this and the creation of some media for deploying the image to a PC (ie CD or USB media), but if you want to speed things up and do multiple simultaneous deployments over a network, you'll need something like Windows Deployment Services.


Some useful resources

Technet - Building a Windows 7 image: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee523217(v=ws.10).aspx

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit: Mitch Tulloch has written a lot about this http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Deploying-Windows-7-Part1.html

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