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Best approach to restore workstation images

Posted on 2013-10-25
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Currently we have 1 server and 20 workstations
Server is windows 2012
workstations are windows 7 pro 32bit

I also have an additional workstation I use for testing and every now and then when I am satisfied I have fixed a number of issues, made improvements or installed new applications - I make an image of the test workstation and then would like to reimage all of the users workstations so they are all up-to-date.

I want to make sure the process I am following is correct.
All of the User workstations and test workstation are 100% identical (hardware etc).

I make an image of the Test workstation and place it on Server.

We use DHCP and Active Directory.

I expect that if I reimage all of the workstations with the test ws image, they will all have the same PC Name, Login and LogMeIn (we use for remote access) identities - this would cause problems on the Domain as you would expect.

On Test Workstation - I assume I would have to: remove LogMeIn, remove from Domain - before making the image - then roll it out to user workstations, rename each workstation, join domain, reset auto-login to specific login, reinstall LogMeIn.

Is there a better approach?
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Question by:AIGS
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Lee W, MVP earned 1200 total points
ID: 39602087
I make an image of the test workstation and then would like to reimage all of the users workstations so they are all up-to-date.

1. In order to do this, you MUST create the image using Volume License (VL) install media.  It CANNOT be OEM or retail.  This is because the same key is used on all the systems and a VL key can be.

2. You don't detail HOW you are putting the image of the test workstation on the server.  I strongly recommend you use Windows Deployment Services (WDS) which is an installable role included in Windows Server.  It can capture and deploy images without any additional or software.

3. You MUST Sysprep the systems BEFORE you create the image.  Sysprep removes it from the domain, resets the name and security details of the system so that it can safely boot up as a copy on the network.  

4. I would NOT install LogMeIn on the reference system (which is the technical term for the the system you capture the image of).

There is a TON of information on WDS and Deploying Windows 7 systems.  Google for MANY MANY resources.

All of the User workstations and test workstation are 100% identical (hardware etc).
Doesn't matter.  They can be all different.  Drivers are the only issue and you can inject them into an offline image if they aren't included by default.
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by:Craig Beck
Craig Beck earned 400 total points
ID: 39602649
If you're going to use WDS as suggested, look at using MDT with WDS.  It's going to make your life so much easier when it comes to deploying drivers, software, etc...
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by:SterlingMcClung
SterlingMcClung earned 400 total points
ID: 39608705
If you are doing this as a backup and restore procedure, I would suggest using an image level backup software, such as ShadowProtect, to perform periodic backups of each workstation.  Your current line of thoughts is going to require VL to leagally to your restores.  But with a per workstation backup solution, as long as you are restoring to the same hardware, you won't run into licensing issues with Microsoft, since you are restoring the same OS to the same hardware.  If you do have the VL necessary for your solution, then with ShadowProtect, you would even be able to do bare metal restore to dissimilar hardware.  All of the functionality of ShadowProtect, which is originally a server backup product, is available in a desktop version for significant cost savings.  I have used ShadowProtect for about 3-4 years and have been very happy with it.  I can respond with more information, if you are interested in moving this route.
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