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Windows 7, pre install

Posted on 2013-01-07
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
How do I go about pre-installing Windows 7 professional, Office and DELL drivers on a Solid State hard drive, so that all I have to do is swap hard drives and such?

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Question by:mapalaska2003
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by:Don S.
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If you want the computer to be exactly the same, then you need to clone the existing disk.  There are several comercial and even a few decent free disk cloning apps to do just this.  Search for disk cloning software.
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by:Timothy McCartney
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I would install all necessary programs, drivers, etc and run all available updates. Then once you've configured everything to the way you like it, power the machine off and use a bootable cloning tool such as Clonezilla (http://clonezilla.org/) to duplicate the hard drive.

This setup assumes all machines using the hard drives will be using the same hardware as well. Also, if you're planning to replicate your setup to several machines, you need to run sysprep prior to cloning (it removes any security identifiers and makes it a generic image).

How to use Sysprep - http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/toolsctr/v1r0/topic/dpsccm/dpsccm_t_running_sysprep_vista.html
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by:mapalaska2003
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I don't want to clone the existing HD. He installed Windows 8 on it and hosed it up. I just been to do a hot swap when his plane touches down.
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Timothy McCartney earned 500 total points
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Here are the generalized steps you need to perform in order:
A: Complete setup of first machine/drive
B: Run sysprep with generalize box ticked (select the option to shutdown after completion)
C: Clone the drive using Clonezilla (or alternate software)
D: Disperse replicated drives to the other machines and run the initial setup (username, computer name, etc).

As mentioned before, this setup works only in machines running the same set of hardware.
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by:Don S.
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If it's a Dell, then you'll want to do an install from the OEM restore disks that cam with the machine.  You can us another similar machine to do the install to your new HD as if it is his.  If you don't have a similar machine available, then you won't be able to do an OEM licensed installation, you would need to use licening media and your company Windows 7 license key.  Set it up on as similar of a mcahine as you can, then download and install all of the Dell specific drivers for his machine and install any applications you need.  Swap out HDs and let it find and use the drivers you pre-installed.
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by:Timothy McCartney
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I don't want to clone the existing HD. He installed Windows 8 on it and hosed it up. I just been to do a hot swap when his plane touches down.

So you're trying to have a hard drive ready for his machine when he arrives to the office? You'll need to have another machine with the exact same specifications in order to do that.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
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Since this is a one-of situation:
1. get an identical machine, install windows 7, drivers and updates,
2. sysprep audit mode
3. install software
4. sysprep /reseal
5. swap drives, you may want to use windows easy transfer and transfer over the settings, files etc.
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