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Imaging Windows 7 OEM PCs

Hello all...

This question has been asked in a few ways, but I wanted to re-submit with a couple of angles.

Before I begin, I am coming back to imaging after doing it for many years, then not doing for the last four/five. "Back in the day..." I would prep an XP box, run Sysprep, use Ghost to clone to another HDD. Then, when the image was needed, I connected the image-HDD as a slave, run Ghost again, and bobs-your-uncle.

However, now I am reading about angles with limited times you can re-image, Sysprep not working the same as before.

What I don't want to do (this is a small case, I only need to clone 8 PCs) is do anything server-based right now. While I am sure it is slick and efficient, but I am also sure getting to that point would take as much time as manually building 8 PCs.

So, in a nutshell:

Can I still do it as before, where I setup a PC (using Win 7), run Sysprep (or something similar), image the HD 'somewhere', and restore it to the seven remaining PCs?

I am ok with buying software (Ghost, Acronis, etc.) if it helps matters.

Let me know,

Windows 7Acronis

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8/22/2022 - Mon

For starters, do you have a Volume License Key for those Windows 7 machines?  Legally, you can't run Sysprep and clone to another machine without a VLK.

Let's say, for sake of discussion, 'Yes' I do have a VLK.
David Johnson, CD

Grab the Windows Automated Installation Kit and the update for SP1
From the Supplement copy over the necessary files and overwrite in the WAIK folder
Suggested option: get the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
Build a Windows PE disk and add imagex.exe and gimagex.exe (suggested)
How to add files to boot image

From the computer you have setup, run sysprep (c:\windows\system32\sysprep)

Boot from the iso you've created with the WAIK. Copy the captured wim file to removable media... from the disk you created (winpe disk) you can now apply using the instructions given earler in the discussion link and apply it to subsequent computers.

If you need to change your base computer when you boot into it at the OOBE prompts (username etc) hit ctrl-shift-f3 to enter sysprep audit mode this way you can reseal the computer and capture a new image without using up rearm counts.
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James Murphy
Lee W, MVP

If you have a server running Windows Server 2003 R2 or later, NOT using Windows Deployment Services is a waste.  WDS is a role built in to Windows Server.  Setting up WDS is pretty simple and it allows a network based capture and deploy.  Seriously... even if you don't know what you're doing, it shouldn't take more than an hour.  If you do know what you're doing it takes about 15 minutes to setup.
David Johnson, CD

you can leverage MDT with WDS by using the MDT boot images vice the WDS boot images

Thanks everyone for your input. I put it in the original question, but I don't want to do anything server related at this point. This is a one-shot, and configuring a server (completely) to do this isn't what I am looking to do.
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That's what I was looking for. Appreciated that Run5k.