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What is the proper way to use Acronis True Image 2011 w/ PP to create Image of 1 PC to deploy many PCs on Domain

Hello, I have purchased a copy of Acronis True Image 2011 with Plus Pack. I have 25 HP Pro 6000 Desktop workstations. I am currently configuring 1 of these PCs with all the software, drivers, local and domain policies. Once I am finished, I would like to BACKUP with ATI 2011 Bootcd and then RESTORE to the rest of the 24 workstations.

I want to avoid issues with Windows 7 product key activation, SID identifiers and whatever else I am not thinking of at the moment. I have heard that sysrep is the way to go but am unsure of what to do with it in conjunction with ATI 2011
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XAnalyzer
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XAnalyzer
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5 Solutions
 
grayeCommented:
Yes, you will end up with the same SIDs.  However, that's no longer an issue (unless you later use one of those PCs to create a new Domain Controller).  

As for the activation... you can just manually change the serial number and reactivate.

There's no real need for SysPrep at all...
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pwustCommented:
I would first create an Image of the PC, then run sysprep, then do a second complete image. The second image is the one to distribute, the first image is the one to restore to the original PC.

Be aware that other software that you have installed on your master machine may also need some preparation prior to imaging.
E.g. McAfee Agent software (with EPO server) is storing a GUID in Registry that you should be removed just before creating the image. The GUID will then be recreated on next reboot of each deployed machine.

Hope this helps.
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XAnalyzerAuthor Commented:
@graye: "As for the activation... you can just manually change the serial number and reactivate." Do I just use a Microsoft license key changing app to change the Windows 7 key to the stick code on the desktop chasis?

@pwust: "I would first create an Image of the PC, then run sysprep, then do a second complete image. The second image is the one to distribute, the first image is the one to restore to the original PC." The poster above you says sysrep is no longer needed. So why should I run sysrep? And why use the second image to distribute and not the first... I'm not sure I follow your suggestion?

Thanks.
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pwustCommented:
ok, I just did some additional reading (Technet article, especially the last paragraph).
Although the machine's SID seems to be quite unimportant, Microsoft still officially requires to run sysprep to make a cloned system unique.

The fact that sysprep will prepare a system for cloning, I am doing two images of the reference computer: first image prior to running sysprep (and other prep tools, see example in my first posting above), and a second image after running all prep steps which will be the actual copy template.

You may of course leave out the first image. Then your reference system would behave in the same way as all cloned systems after first reboot. But: I always want to be on the safe side, and have the reference system in its state before doing big changes to it.

HTH
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grayeCommented:
We clone PCs all the time....   we have never used Sysprep.    Yes, I am aware of the Microsoft says as far as the only "supported technique"...  but that's just them.

Win7 allows you to change the activation key by just using the control panel's "System" applet.   It's quick and simple.

Just make sure to use the same kind of key for the "master" as you intend to use on the clones.  For example, in your case, you should use an "OEM key" to build the master, if you plan to use OEM keys on each of the clone recieptients.

The other activation key types are discussed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volume_license_key

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XAnalyzerAuthor Commented:
I used sysrep just in case. Didn't seem to do anything that I can tell except bounce me off the Domain which I had to rejoin.

My question as it pertains to the machine #1 image with Office 2010 and Windows 7 Pro installed-

What happens if i restore image to machine #2 and not change the license keys. Since it's already activated on machine#1 and working fine, I can assume that it will work just as fine on machine #2 *if* i don't do anything. I understand that I have to use a different key for licensing/legal purposes but otherwise is my statement correct?
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grayeCommented:
Yeah, that's the right idea... but you can't really predict when the "Microsoft Guiniune Advantage" might get activated again.   For example a patch for Windows or Office might trigger an activation check.

Here is what I do after I've cloned a PC

1) I Boot without the network cable plugged in
2) Rename the PC (and the Comments, but that's clearly optional)
3) Reboot with network cable in
4) Join the domain
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