Cloning new laptops out of the box

Posted on 2009-04-29
Last Modified: 2013-12-01
My first question here at EE...

I know this type of question has been asked before but it seems when I find those topics, they tend to differ slightly from what I want to do.

I'm going to set up an HP laptop to be exactly the way i need it as far as software and settings. I'd like to be able to copy JUST the applications I installed (licensing isn't an issue), and the settings of the laptop. there is no need to copy the OS since the other laptops already have it installed from factory (all are exactly the same model as well). At that point, I'd like to some how clone/image/copy that specific aspect of the laptop to the other new laptops.

After all that would be done, I'd then join them to the domain individually since that only takes seconds to do anyway.

I've seen the topics on how to do this but everyone of them includes the OS. And those confuse me, cause I can't get past the thinking that if you image the entire HDD to a new laptop, you then have two exact OS's with 2 exact OEM's.

Hope you guys can help. I'm just about burnt out from looking on Google for the answers.
Question by:beavensc
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Cloning the entire HDD is probably not a good idea because you would run into issues with drivers etc., and lose time advantage. The biggest problem with what you are trying to do is windows registry. Most programs write to the registry (some of them a ton of stuff). My only suggestion is to place setup programs on network (may save some time). You will still have to offer attention to each setup process as they will all be different. I would quit looking for the ideal solution you want and try to minimize the amount of effort that you are going to have to spend. That said... Good Luck.

    Author Comment

    Well cloning the entire drive is something I'm NOT trying to do. But I honestly don't think I can clone the installed apps and some settings over WITHOUT doing the whole drive.

    If this ain't possible then I'll just configure 1 laptop at a time. I just looking to see if things could be expedited or streamlined some how.

    Author Comment

    Ok well, so far everything I try turns to crap.

    -Ghost 9.0 fails. I get a BSOD when trying to boot from the disc. I found another SRD that I could use and it seemed to work and then just hung there for over 2 hours. I scratched that method.
           ****ghost works great if restoring to the same drive it actually was created on****

    -XML will take over 5 hours to create a 250GB image. I only assume it will take just as long to restore it to a new laptop. So I stopped it.
           ****XML works great if restoring to the same drive it actually was created on****

    -Acronis restored to the new laptop. But....programs that shouldn't have been there (since they weren't on the saved image) were there, and programs that SHOULD have been there weren't. Not to mention there were all sorts of system errors when opening explorer windows and such.

    -Clonezilla seems to want to work but then finds errors in the HDD I want to clone. It's a brand new laptop. Errors my ass. It says to run chkdsk /p,  then /f, then /r. I can run p & r but not f. After running this I'm assuming it will tell me the same shit. So I'm not getting my hopes up.

    I'm already looking for more software that's not going to work and waste more time trying them out only to realize they don't do what they claim to do.

    I'm beginning to seriously doubt that it's possible to create a clone of a HDD and use that clone on make other laptop HDD the exact same.

    You either have to install the software on all machines you want this done on, or you have to write up scripts, create boot up CDs, and other shit. in order to do this. It's ridiculous.
    By the time I'd be done even LEARNING how to do that, I'd be finished configuring like 5 laptops to be exactly the same one by one.

    It seems all of these programs out there that claim they can clone or image from one drive to another are just informing you they can create BACKUPS of your current drive. So that you can restore later if something happens. NONE of them can actually take that image or clone and put it on a sister computer so you can have 2 or more laptops exactly the same.

    It would be awesome if there were a program that would enable you to clone one drive. Then take that clone, burn it to disc. Pop that disc into the other laptops cd drive, boot up the laptop and have the disc run and clone the HDD immediately. Once done it restarts and there you would have an exact clone of the first laptop. Pop out the disc, and pop it in the 3rd laptop and so on and so on down the line.

    Too bad it's not possible.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I purchased an Iomega Rev a couple of years ago which came with software to do a cold-steel backup. All things being equal on notebooks, perhaps you could use this solution. I believe the softwares were Yosemite Tapeware and Iomega backup. As I recall, package came with a boot disk. You just plugged in the rev via an available USB port and booted with the supplied disk.
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Windows XP already has a set of features to use to create images and deploy images.  Check out the webpage,  It tells you how to syprep the workstation.  Make an answer file and deploy the image to workstations without the use of a server.  This solution does not require additional equipment purchased, plus syprep allows you the installation to prompt for a new product key for each install.

    Accepted Solution

    Ok....update. I've tried clonezilla again after a defrag of the master laptop. I removed the HDD from the new laptop right out of the box. Connected it VIA a USB HDD connection device (pictured). After about 12 minutes of cloning a 250GB HDD (which I think is QUITE fast), I popped the cloned drive back into the new laptop and it worked.......


    Author Comment

    Here are the options I pick when cloning one disk to another....

    After you boot up Clonezilla choose the default options for everything. When you get to the screen that . shows Start Clonezilla, choose to "Start Clonezilla".

    Next choose "Device-Device". Make sure to plug in the USB device that is connecting your target HDD now. Choose "Disk to local disk" Select the "source" which is the drive that you are cloning from. Which would be either hd1, hda, sd1 or sda. Then select your target disc. Which will be hd2, hdb, sd2 or sdb. The next 2 windows can be left at their default settings.

    Say "yes" to all of the other questions in Yellow and it will start cloning one drive to the other. Once it's finished follow the instructions to Poweroff.

    Remove you HDD from the USB device and place it back into the laptop or PC. power it up and it's EXACTLY the same as what it's cloned from.

    ****NOTE**** if you plan on having the cloned HDD join a domain, DO NOT join the domain with the master HDD before the cloning process.********

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