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How can I use "cloning" to set up 15 computer lab machines

Posted on 2010-09-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Our small grade school of 60 kids has a brand new 15 machine computer lab.  the machines are brand new dells with win 7 pro preinstalled.   We want to bring them up on our server 2008 domain.  I've configured one of the computers as we'd want them.  I've used a group policy to lock it down as we'd like and will be running deep freeze to keep them that way.  How can I economically, read that "cheaply," clone that one machine and save the time and effort of installing software and configuring windows 7 on the remaining machines?  Is there a way - and a way tha a preacher could understand and afford.  THANKS!!
Question by:preacherdpa
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Accepted Solution

Malajlo earned 1600 total points
ID: 33661665
Can you use Windows Deployment services? Using WDS you can make an image of one computer, and then deploy that image over network (using network boot).
You can use any of cloning utilities (Ghost, Altiris, etc.).

Procedure will be following these steps:
- set up client
- run sysprep
- make image
- deploy image on rest of clients (clone, copy frem network, DVD...) (if you haven't done sysprep, you have to change SID)
- set up clients (join domain etc) (can be done automaticaly using AIK Automation installation kit)

Expert Comment

ID: 33661667

The easiest way is to use WDS (Windows Deployment Services) this will allow you to take an image of a completly built PC then distribute it to any others.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Deployment_Services

It's free too! However it may take just as long to setup and successfully test as it would to build the 14 others. That said when it's in place the next time would be a doddle.



Expert Comment

ID: 33661837
You dont actually need to change a SID on a client machine.  Newsid tool has now been retired.......

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Expert Comment

ID: 33662368
Well, but you must have unique SIDs if you use WSUS.
But I must disagree sysprep won't work with installed applications. I did it with XPs on WDS just one month ago.

Assisted Solution

dufyd earned 400 total points
ID: 33664567
FREE inexpensive and easy way to do it.

Because they are all the same computers and windows 7 machines. you can do a back up with the back up software included in windows 7.

1. on  your reference computer ( the one you configured) go to start and type "backup and restore"
2. on the left panel click on "create a system image"
3. you will need an external drive or a network location. select your destination and create image. I reccomend the external hard drive if you are unexperienced.
4. on each of the other computers. as they are starting up press "F11" key
5. from the list select "reapair installation"
6. you can cancel the current procedure
7. select view advanced options for system recovery and support
8. follow the steps ( it will ask you for your login information)
9. you will get a list of recovery options. ((select system image recovery)
10. it will attempt to find your location, if not you can select a system image manually.
11. just follow the prompts it should be easy from now on.

Expert Comment

ID: 33664576
it will take about 40 minutes per computer. but it is a great inexpensive and easy way to do it.


Expert Comment

ID: 33665810
well, we don't know if computers are in domain. But comp. name should be changed afterall.
But it's a good way to deploy clones.
LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:Ivano Viola
ID: 33668028
1. Setup your image laptop with all the programs and settings as needed.
2. When you have the laptop ready, sysprep the laptop. Here is a guide:
3. Take an image of the laptop using imagex or gimagex.

A little prep but the job done right.

Expert Comment

ID: 33669458
I was thinking the best solution is to push all settings using GPO. That way you can apply any changes on all comuters without reimaging.
But it takes some extra time and testing. Especialy with legacy setups.

So, you can do
1) backup/restore - but can't use WSUS
2) sysprep & copying - some modifications with config to automate minisetup
3) WDS - same as 2) but deployment works over network and once set up, it is easy to use

Author Comment

ID: 33671660
wow - thanks for the all the responses.  i'll do some "accepting" soon - as I started from the top and installed WDS.  Pretty sure I've got that set up correctly - on the server.  I'm still not quite sure how to get the machines to boot over the network - somehow.  I'm still torn between imaging the one machine I have confiigured with WDS, or utilizing the backup / restore option.  And I've learned I'm running server 2003, not 2008 as I previously stated.  And yes, while not joined now - in their current state, just out of the box and with win 7 installed and waiting to be configured - the goal is to bring all the lab machines up on our domain.  thanks again for the guidance!!!
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 33671791
In the long run the WDS server is a great tool if you are deploying a lot of images to a lot of machines.
Since you only have 15 machines I would would reccomend looking at this program
It is a free Hdd imaging tool, that is very similiar to symantec ghost, that will easily accomplish what you are trying to do.

Expert Comment

ID: 33671920
Do you have DHCP on server? Did you set up WDS to accept and answer to clients? Do you boot over network (in BIOS settings or press F12 or F10 to change boot order)?

Author Comment

ID: 33674434
i had to disable a rogue dhcp server, but am still getting no boot "something" when trying to boot the lab machines from the network.  I seem to have WDS configured as necessary, but something still isn't clicking.  thanks all for assistance.

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