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

preacherdpa
preacherdpa asked
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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!!
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Commented:
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Hi,

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.

Cheers,

Alex.

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

http://blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2009/11/03/3291024.aspx

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

:):):)

Commented:
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.
Ivano ViolaSystem Administrator

Commented:
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:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/A_3095-Windows-7-Sysprep.html
3. Take an image of the laptop using imagex or gimagex.
http://blog.brianleejackson.com/deployment-image-servicing-and-management-dism-winpe-3-0-boot-environment

A little prep but the job done right.

Commented:
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

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Commented:
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!!!

Commented:
Preacher,
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
http://clonezilla.org/
It is a free Hdd imaging tool, that is very similiar to symantec ghost, that will easily accomplish what you are trying to do.

Commented:
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

Commented:
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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