UEFI GPT and cloning disks

Posted on 2013-05-23
Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I have 50 laptops running XP. All 50 laptops are identical, so Acronis True Image has been great. I created 1 working system, cloned that system to a external disk, then just copied to all 50 laptops using that 1 external drive. Works great.

Now, I have another 50 laptops. But these HP 655 notebooks come with UEFI & GPT 500GB disks and Win8. Win8 Pro will not run our custom software, so I downgraded one HP655 to Win7 Pro. I then wanted to copy that hard drive (using Acronis) to all the other laptops, by using Acronis bootable media. NOPE! Acronis 2013 saw the internal drive and the external drive, but when I tried to clone it, the only choice I had was to MOVE. Thats no good because it destroys the source drive. And if I did that, the destination drive would then just move to the next drive. I want a viable clone on the external drive that I can copy to the other laptops, and they in turn will boot up.

How do I create an image of this HP655, copy it to an external drive, then copy to another HP655, creating a bootable copy of the first HP655? I don't know much about UEFI/GPT, but I am beginning to hate UEFI/GPT. These drives are only 500GB, so don't need GPT, if that is the problem.

Someone said to abandon Acronis and use Sysprep, but I have never used Sysprep. I would prefer to use Acronis if I can. If I have to abandon Acronis, how do I use Sysprep?  Where do you get it?  What are the commands?  And what is ImageX?
Any help would be appreciated.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39192796
Think if you turn off UEFI and revert back to standard BIOS you are ok(this option is available on Dell models which I've reinstalled Win7 on as well)

Check the settings in the BIOS and see if its something thats available

Author Comment

ID: 39192813
Nope, was on a chat line with HP tech.  No way to turn UEFI off.  I can turn off Secure Boot, and turn on Legacy.
LVL 24

Accepted Solution

smckeown777 earned 500 total points
ID: 39192822
Nasty...glad Dell didn't take that option ;)

Ok, Sysprep is part of windows(lives in c:\windows\system32\sysprep)

Basically you install Win7 - then when you get to the screen where you enter a Username/Password during setup you press CTRL-ALT-F3 - this enters something called Audit mode

That will reboot the machine into Sysprep mode(ignore the dialog that pops up, close it - the Sysprep dialog I mean)

Install your apps, update Windows with latest updates - basically do all your standard stuff you want on the base image now

Once complete run sysprep - Start - run - Sysprep
Dialog will load again - select the Generalize option, OOBE option and Shutdown option

This will then sysprep the machine, close windows down and now you are ready to image it

Take the image with whatever software you want(I use Clonezilla)

That image is now sysprep'd and ready for deploy...
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Expert Comment

ID: 39192823
That was CTRL-SHIFT-F3 sorry, not ALT...
U.S. Department of Agriculture and Acronis Access

With the new era of mobile computing, smartphones and tablets, wireless communications and cloud services, the USDA sought to take advantage of a mobilized workforce and the blurring lines between personal and corporate computing resources.

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Expert Comment

ID: 39192831

Author Comment

ID: 39192855
Yow!  You've been the most help all day!!

Ok, on this step, I have already installed software and configured.  Does that matter:
"Basically you install Win7 - then when you get to the screen where you enter a Username/Password during setup you press CTRL-SHIFT-F3 - this enters something called Audit mode"

Or do I need to start all over, re-install Win7, and start audit mode at the beginning?
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 39192864
Em...technically I don't think so...I've done it the old fashioned way before without any issue

Basically you use audit mode to setup the default profile which will affect all users that log into the computer. Audit mode is also where you install applications that need to be installed for users to do their job before you capture the image as well as after the image has been laid down if needed.

But no, its not 100% will be ok

Author Comment

ID: 39192873
Great!  Definitely awarding you the points.  One last question.  Any tips on UEFI/GPT?  I am a MBR, BIOS guy.  And this new stuff works very different.
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 39192885
Unfortunately I've not played with UEFI properly yet(like I mentioned Dell allow you to switch back to regular BIOS/MBR) so I couldn't really comment on it...its the future no doubt but not had a real go at it yet...hopefully someone else can comment on that one...good luck!

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