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Installing Windows 7 and software on several computers

Posted on 2010-09-08
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I want to install Windows 7 and some software on several computers, all new with the same hardware. What is the best way to do this?

I'm considering doing a complete installation on one computer, and the use backup and restore onto the others. Will this work? Is there another better way to create a system image?
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Question by:jstakk
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nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 33634107
i would install the oS + applications on 1 PC, then make an image of the disk, and put this image on all.
 a very good software is Acronis True Image - but there are free applications for that too, like drive imagexml :
http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm
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by:NarendraG
NarendraG earned 125 total points
ID: 33634136
Clone Zilla one of the best Disk Cloning software and it is free of cost
Faster than Norton ghost


http://clonezilla.org/
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by:rnicolaus
rnicolaus earned 125 total points
ID: 33634150
Assuming you have enough licenses to cover each system.

1) Install OS and Apps -  Update OS with Service Pack(s), Updates, etc. - Install and Update your AV, Firewall, etc.  (Do not join a domain at this point if you use one)
2) Install the hard disk from the 2nd PC in the 1st one as a secondary drive
3) Boot to Clonzilla CD (from  http://www.clonezilla.org/)
              I would create a Clonezilla Live CD
              A step by step guide how to use Live:  http://www.clonezilla.org/clonezilla-live/doc/
4) Repeat for the other drives
5) Install each drive in a system, boot while not networked, change the name of the PC, set IP if you use manual addresses, reboot
6) Join the domain (if applicable)

That should do it.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33634171
What kind of licensing are you using?  OEM licenses cannot be cloned/imaged (Though there is effort underway to clarify EXACTLY what can be done).
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by:sagiamar
ID: 33634176
after you done full onstallation on the first pc you can do it with symantec  ghost for dos by using - "disk to image" or "disk to disk option". just run the ghost with ghost -ntexact parameter.

dont forget to change the product key after the ghost
http://www.w7forums.com/change-windows-7-product-key-t1244.html
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by:jstakk
ID: 33634194
We have MSDN-subscription volume licenses, so that should not be a problem. We are installing Windows 7 ultimate btw.

I've started installing now, and will get back to you when I've tried you solutions. Thanks
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33634201
Do you have SA?
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by:jstakk
ID: 33634215
Probably not, what is SA?
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by:befriend
ID: 33634243
Dear You can use windows7's Feature as well. get the pdf book from my virtual drive:
befriend.4shared.com

Open in new window

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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33634245
Software Assurance.

If you don't have Software Assurance, you may not be licensed to redeploy Windows through an automated process (there's actually a rather intense discussion going on that I'm monitoring and lightly participating in the hopes of clarifying this).

http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2010/04/20/oem-reimaging-rights.aspx

Before you potentially violate licensing, I would strongly recommend you contact Microsoft and make sure your license allows you to image.

Now, if you have the appropriate License - MSDN is NOT an appropriate license - then you should look into Microsoft's free tools - including Windows Deployment Services, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, and the Windows Automated Installation Kit.
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by:jstakk
ID: 33634299
Will that still be a problem if I install Windows as a trial, and enters license keys and activates after I redeploy?

The computers came with home edition OEM, so we do a full reinstall with Ultimate edition.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33634397
Ultimate is not a Volume License Eligible version.  Only Enterprise and Pro.  

As I stated:
Before you potentially violate licensing, I would strongly recommend you contact Microsoft and make sure your license allows you to image.

Just to be clear, we cannot help you violate licensing and if you don't have/aren't deploying appropriate licenses, we cannot assist.

You should contact Microsoft because:
1) The licensing information provided here is a "best effort" and the interpretations of the experts could be wrong OR they could be wrong for the country YOU are in while correct for their own country.
2) "They told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in an audit where EACH instance of a violation could cost you $10,000.
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by:Mohamed Khairy
ID: 33634455
Do you have the possibility of installing one more server on your environment; If yes, you can use the Windows Deployment Services ( WDS ) and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit ( MDT 2010 ) to capture an computer image after built it and then you can create a task sequence including the License Key and workgroup/domain name that the computer will join also it will neeed you in the future if you need to add any additional software to the images.

the below videom links tutorial I will show you how to create reference Windows 7 computer, capture its image and then re-deploy it to production as finished and configured product:

http://edge.technet.com/Media/Deploy-Windows-7-The-Easy-Way-Using-WDS-MDT-and-AIK-Step-By-Step/

http://blog.frankovic.net/2010/08/deploy-windows-7-with-mdt-2010-wds-waik/

Note : All applications and tools (except operating systems) are free of charge and can be downloaded from Microsoft web site.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/dd407791.aspx



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by:Mohamed Khairy
ID: 33634467
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by:jstakk
ID: 33634473
Well... we do have licenses for every machine this is supposed to be installed on, for both OS and software. I didn't even consider that Microsoft would care how I accually installed the software. For me comming from a Linux environment this seem rather absurd.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33634490
The problem is the license you have likely does not grant the right to customize Windows and then redeploy it.  
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Assisted Solution

by:mattclarified
mattclarified earned 125 total points
ID: 33635458
Hi jstakk,

The process you should take will be to configure the machine as you wish with drivers, etc.
Then copy Sysprep.exe to the root of the C drive, and run it via command prompt with the following command.
sysprep.exe /oobe
This will prepare the installation in the 'Out Of Box Experience' mode stripping it of all licenses and computer names. You should then image the drive using one of the methods above. Once you reimage this to the new machines and power them up, this will then ask you for the details such as license key, computer name, license key, etc.
This method will make sure that you do not violate any licensing usage laws and be the easiest method for you.

M@
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by:mattclarified
ID: 33635505
p.s.
MSDN Subscription isnt Volume License, they are too completely different things, you will need to acquire a seperate license key for each machine being used, also the machine is to only be used by that developer that the MSDN is registered too. If you have the license to use, say 3 licenses, for that MSDN account then all 3 must be used by that developer only (eg. 2 desktops and a laptop)
If you use the MSDN in any other way then you are breaking the terms of the MSDN licensing agreement and run the risk of fines should you be audited.

M@
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by:jstakk
ID: 33635556
Under My Account page on our MSDN-page it clearly says: "Subscription Type: Volume License".

Sysprep sounds like a good option. I'll check that out.
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by:esp-projects
ID: 33636662
Hi,

You could use FOG (Free Open Ghost) if you have a machine available either with Linux already installed or that you could install linux onto.  It's basically an imaging solution that allows you to upload an image from one PC and then roll-out to multiple machines (even at the same time - multicasting).  The project is based here http://www.fogproject.org/
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Expert Comment

by:PURESKILLZZZ
ID: 33642498
I have done this 1,000's of times with differnt machines and o/s's .. I use acronis true image.
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