Building an image with Storage Craft IT Edition

Posted on 2011-09-14
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I am building an image on a HP desktop Elite 8000.
By image I mean: Install windows 7, updates, MS Office, business applications, useful add-ons like adobe, cute pdf etc...
Once complete I was planning on creating a backup image using Shadow Protect IT edition then start duplicating other desktop computers (same hardware) by restoring my image (one at a time).
Is there a set of steps IT professionals normally use for this type of scenario?
Am I taking the right approach or am I making the job longer than it needs to be?
For example, with the Office Application, I just have the license key (OEM).
Should I just download a copy of the software on the computer I am using to build image but not install just yet, but instead manually install/activate Office on each computer with unique ID?
Can I do without a sysprep process?
Keep in mind I do not have lots of time to practice building an image system which I can roll out to multiple machines at the same time.
I already have a computer loaded with most of the components I need.
Once I have all computers with the same image I will need to add them to the domain with unique computer names.
Please advise if there is simple way to build image without requiring in depth knowledge.
Question by:stevenvel
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 36541089
If you use the cloned PC's within the same LAN, you have to use sysprep so the SID's are changed. Also, if the License keys for installed Software is different, then you shouldn't install it unless it is installable without inputing the key and no activation is required. Volume License versions on the other hand should be no problem.

Apart from that, if also the Windows version is OEM, then you aren't allowed to use any imaging software to distribute it among other PC's, as that is against the m$ EULA. Only the system builder (in your case HP) is allowed to do that.

Author Comment

ID: 36541209
I think I should be right with Office - I will install individually.

But with OS,  is there no way I can manually input unique product codes and activate after copying image across?
Also, I don't recall getting a prompt to activate the OS after my first install.
Is this because it's a HP OEM install (I used the HP Restore CD to install the 64 bit version).
I have the exact number of licenses for all PC's and I am not trying to deliberately bypass licensing.
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 36541257
Yes, that's because it's an OEM version. That means you aren't allowed to do what you want to do... (at least not if you want to stay on the legal side).

Normally in a business environment with AD servers etc you would get Volume Licenses for the OS and Office Software. Then install that copy of Windows on the PC along with your software, sysprep, then create the images. If the PC's came with OEM Windows preinstalled you should also first create the recovery DVD's first so that when those PC's are replaced with new ones you can sell them with the original OS.
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Author Comment

ID: 36541553
Thank you Rindi,
I understand in a larger business that would be the case.
Most of my work is in the area of small business and volume licensing is not popular or viable.

Technically speaking, do you expect any issues with SID's or anything else if I don't run sysprep?
Any issues after joining various computers to domain?
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 36541676
Yes, you will get issues if you don't run sysprep.

Author Comment

ID: 36541998
Sorry but havn't used sysprep before.
I have checked instructions on this and need to confirm a few things.
I am not sure exactly how to use the file based wim image once created?
My computers came with Windows 7 32 bit pre-installed.
I have re-installed one computer in 64 bit mode and I will use this computer to run sysprep.
Assuming I have successfuly created the wim image how do I deploy on multiple computers?
I suppose I start by copying the image on a network drive and somehow access the iamge and run?
After running the image do I need to go to each computer and change computer names and maually join domain?

LVL 88

Assisted Solution

rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 36542442
I don't think wim has anything to do with this. Wim is the file on the DVD that contains the Windows 7 installation files, and you can modify this for automated installations. With the further tools available in the WAIK you can create an automated installation for Windows 7 without having to use 3rd party tools like shadowprotect. But you have shadowprotect so you don't need to worry about wim files.

All you need to do is run sysprep before making the image. From what I remember you can then select what it should do, like remove user profiles etc.

After having run sysprep do the image.

Author Comment

ID: 36558168
Thank you for clarifying about use of Wim/WAIK, this make sense.

I tried running Sysprep with the Generalize option and system OOBE option and reboot.
After reboot, the typical setup screen displays where you have to enter user name/password and computer name.
I have read from another EE post by leew that as long as domain has not been joined SID's should not be an issue?


LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 36558623
I would still use sysprep, as you have seen it'll ask for computer name at startup when the sysprepped image is restored. This is good as you then will enter a unique name and won't need other steps that you may forget and cause issues.

Author Comment

ID: 36559025
OK will do.
I will be testing this shortly and will provide update.
Thank you

Author Comment

ID: 36573753
I used sysprep and was able to configure the main settings i.e. computer name, time zone ....
Only annoying thing is that each time sysprep is run you have to use a different user name because system remembers/keeps previous name and warns you that name has already been used so you can end up with several local accounts.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 36573772
Thank you Rindi!

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