OS images for dissimilar hardware computer systems (XP pro/2000 pro)

Posted on 2007-11-23
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Can anybody recommend a good software program to make OS images (basically a standard load including certain applications/patches) that can be deployed to dissimilar hardware computer systems?

For example: If a PC needs to be reloaded I would have an image that could be quickly loaded that would work on multiple hardware platforms.
Question by:ctemp
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LVL 32

Accepted Solution

DrDamnit earned 25 total points
ID: 20340184
We use Image for Windows from Terabyteunlimited because they have the lowest licensing costs, and have a great product.

You'll need both of these to license it properly for what you want.

Image for Windows (
Image Deployment License (

There is going to be catch with whatever imaging program you use: if they hardware is too dissimilar, the iamges won't work because of the drivers that are installed; however, you can image the machines, then do a Windows repair, and they will work perfectly.
LVL 11

Assisted Solution

svetaye earned 25 total points
ID: 20340312
We use the Acronis True Image. It's really product. Work very fast, work over the network(you can backup to any computer in your network).
To create an image that will work with different hardware you need to change the HD driver to standart in the Device Manager. Then you can use this image for different computers with different hardware, you only need to install drivers.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 20340579

If you change the drivers to "standard" it will work until you run into a computer that has a SATA controller that is newer than anything that is in the image. Same goes for video, etc...

Some will boot you can just do the drivers if they chipsets are similar enough; however, if they are vastly different, a Windows repair will fix it.

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Assisted Solution

Tom-J-Lael earned 25 total points
ID: 20341336
Acronis also has an extra add-on license called "Universal Restore" that is supposed to let you image to machines with completely dissimilar hardware, you will need to supply drivers and what not, but that's a given
LVL 39

Assisted Solution

PUNKY earned 25 total points
ID: 20348140
Bootit-Ng, Acronis, Norton Ghost, and more to choose from. As noted and suggestions above, The Universal Restore as Tom said is what you need on different hardware configuration, and more helpful if you install standard IDE/ATAPI controller as Svetaye also recommended (this will avoid a lot of issue such BSOD when booting up first time).

And on my own experiences, I would create master image based on product family that help you later less trouble. Create one master image for Dell products, other for HP, so on.
LVL 29

Assisted Solution

matrixnz earned 25 total points
ID: 20349253
You can use any of the imaging products above to create your image, to make sure it runs on different hardware, setup your master machine with all the drivers loaded, or have them within Sysprep.  Run Sysprep with pnp mini reset and you should be all good, I currently have one image for our desktops, it was created on a Dell Optiplex 745 the image loads on GX270, GX280, GX520, Compaq EN, EVO.  I have a second image for Dell Latitude D600, D610, D620, D630, Toshiba Tecra, Compaq E500, Evo N800, so it can be done.  The only time I've noticed HAL (Hardware Abstract Layer) issues, was on machines using Standard, the machines I've listed above used UniProcessor/MultiProcessor Hals which are compatible with each other.  The last machine I saw with a Standard Hal was Compaq PIII En600Mhz and below, that was almost 5 years ago, we haven't had any issues since.  Machines with Sata Controllers are a little more difficult to package but as long as the mass storage devices are included within Sysprep they will work fine.

Hope that helps.


Expert Comment

ID: 20521734
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