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new system installs

somehow i have become the go to guy in our family and friends for this.  i set up many peoples laptops or computers when they get them.  i spend a lot of time uninstalling the junk that comes with new pcs and then installing all the settings and software i find to be best.  

is there a simple way to just setup and save a complete environment of software. operating ssytem and settings and then just copy it onto a new pc or laptop regardless of how the pc or laptop came configured?

thanks
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StewartGilligan
Asked:
StewartGilligan
2 Solutions
 
Manjunath SulladTechnical ConsultantCommented:
Hi,

You can use Symantec Ghost software to create one master image and you can reimage to other systems in within 10 mins,

Before that you can make oone computer perfect and create a master image of that computer using Ghot software. (This method is also called as Cloning)

~ Manju
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gicagoCommented:
There are a couple of thing to consider. Do you want to make an individual clone of a machine ( for future quick clean recovery with all drivers and small programs ) or do you want one installed windows 7  that you can clone on any machine? In most cases if you install clean win 7 without drivers and clone that, it will work in most cases when cloning on a different machine ( different in hardware ).

Also, in addition to Norton ghost there are a lot of other cloning software. One of them is Acronis true image home or even Hirens boot cd that I recommend ( set of a lot of tools that you can use preboot - includes acronis true image ). With Acronis you can clone directly from one drive to another or you can make one .tib file that is a compressed clone of your disk and store multiple images ( individual configurations ) and restore them whenever you need to reinstall because it saves a lot of time ( no need for updating or installing drivers  again) .
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StewartGilliganAuthor Commented:
see if i understand.  i can setup a windows 7 with all system settings i prefer and all software i installed.  i then make an image of that drive.  i now take the new laptop or pc and copy that image to the new laptop and it will start up running the same windows and software i installed on the other?  does it matter what hard drive size is on new pc or laptop?  does it matter what operating system was on new pc?  does it matter whether it is 32 or 64 bit?  sorry if i am not making sense :-(
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Unfortunately, YOU CANNOT.  The license agreement prevents re-imaging (and it's not called cloning, it's called imaging), of systems.  And even if you believe you can violate licensing, you'd face potential activation issues and driver issues.  

The only people who can image is Businesses who have purchased a volume license of Windows OR OEMs who are building the machines themselves for resale.

I suggest you look into scripts that can automatically deploy the software you want to put in or remove other software you don't want.  One product that's great for deployment and free for individuals in non-commercial environments is NiNite - google it - you can select from dozens of free apps and then script it to run at login to ensure everything is kept up to date.
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gicagoCommented:
Actually leew is right. I dont know a lot about licensing but at least you can install the laptop and make an image of it, store it and have it for restoring the disk to its original install state.

Best practice is to install everything (os, drivers, updates and programs ) then make an image with whatever program you want and store it on the persons computer. Name it backup-DATE and store it somewhere you know they wont delete it (or warn them not to delete that? ).
That way when someone wants you to reinstall you just copy the image on your usb and restore from that image. Restore in 10-15 minutes and you are good to go. Just dont forget to backup documents before restoring from the image ;)
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StewartGilliganAuthor Commented:
getting some insight now.  thanks all.  my goal is not to image and save a backup.  it is to image and use on other computers, hence saving all the time of stripping junk off new computers and installing desired software.  that ninite thing seems cool.  now if only there was something to image system settings etc to the new pc....
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Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
You can use something like Ninite.  I've only used it once so far but it seems to do the trick as far as adding "good" utilities, etc.

You are going to have less work doing a clean install of Windows, adding the drivers, dealing with Authentication, etc. by doing it from scratch.  

That said, creating an image of your result is a good idea for when it's needed.  Data backups are assumed of course.
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StewartGilliganAuthor Commented:
thanks all
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