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Imaging Windows 7

Posted on 2014-01-17
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I have some windows 7 computers in the company that have been used.
I need to sell them to users, however I need to uninstall all software and user data and profiles on the computers, and provision them to users just like when they purchase them from the store.

I thought about imaging one windows 7 computer after uninstalling all the software and data from it, then deploy the image to other computers.

I have done some reading online, They talk about Sysprep,WAIK, images,etc…..

I am not sure which one is the right tool in my case.

Any help will be very much appreciated.

Thanks
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Question by:jskfan
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by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 250 total points
ID: 39788605
Don't just uninstall software and give them away.
Do some serious overwriting (maybe use DBAN: http://www.dban.org/), then reformat and install Windows on one computer.

After that, assuming they are identical hardware, run sysprep and create an image that you would then deploy to all the computers.

HTH,
Dan
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by:remmett70
ID: 39788623
If possible I would restore them to factory default from the recovery partition if available, or the original recovery disks for the computers.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 39788789
How were those PC's delivered to your company in the first place? Did they come with an OS? if so, with what type license? Companies usually use Volume licenses, and you can't transfer that license to private users.

If the PC's were originally delivered with an OEM license of Windows on them (like most private PC's you buy in a shop come with), then you should use the recovery partition mentioned above to get them back to the factory state, or use the recovery media you made when you got the PC's. If there is no recovery partition, and you didn't create the media, you can order them from the PC manufacturer.

Personally I'd just wipe the disk with dban mentioned above and then sell them without the OS (but of course when selling make that clear to the buyer). He can then do what he thinks best, for example install a free OS like Linux or BSD, or buy his own Windows version to install on it. He could even order the recovery media from the manufacturer. Recovery media should normally be much less expensive than buying the OS.
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by:jskfan
ID: 39789017
I guess it is OEM license of Windows ..

I am much concerned on how to do this part :
<<run sysprep and create an image that you would then deploy to all the computers.>>
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by:rindi
rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 39789183
For OEM licenses you can't use either imaging or things like sysprep. You are only allowed to do that if you were an official system builder. Either use the recovery option, or deliver the PC's without OS.
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by:jskfan
ID: 39789186
Thanks...
what about imaging with Sysprep? do you have step by step link on how to do it ?
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by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 250 total points
ID: 39789240
Here'a a MS video for it: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/ee530017
And the Sysprep technet page: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744263(WS.10).aspx

But, as rindi pointed out, you cannot legally use sysprep with OEM licenses.

HTH,
Dan
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 39789289
<<<Here'a a MS video for it: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/ee530017
And the Sysprep technet page: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744263(WS.10).aspx>>>

is that all I need ?
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by:jskfan
ID: 39789293
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by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39789330
I never used Imagex.
Just syspreped, removed the hdd after the system shutsdown, cloned it (using Acronis, Macrium etc) then put the new hdd(s) in the other computer(s).

Something like this: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/135077-windows-7-installation-transfer-new-computer.html#post1161038
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39789561
As I mentioned already, imaging and sysprepping OEM versions of Windows isn't allowed by m$ and their license agreements. If still do that, and then sell the PC's, you risk getting sued by m$. The best way to avoid any such risks is to deliver the PC's without OS, or just by using the factory restore options.

Just dbanning the disks and then selling the empty PC's saves your time.
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 39790778
OK rindi,

let 's say you have 10 windows 7 computers at home, that you want to give out.
they all have data in them, that you want to strip off.
you take one computer, and install clean windows OS on it. you make it a reference image, and deploy the image to the rest of other computers…
what 's the method will you take to make such image ?

Dan Craciun, said all I need is boot the first computer run sysprep  on it , shut it down, pull off the hard drive and make clones to other computers Hard Disk.
it sounds simple...



Thanks
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by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 250 total points
ID: 39790805
The method is simple, but not legal, if you have OEM licenses. See here for not allowed scenarios: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/828287

On a side note, if the computers you sell won't be on the same network, you don't need to sysprep them. Just clone the hdd's, cause you won't have SID conflicts anyway...
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 39791096
it is not about the SID , when a user gets a computer , it is like getting it from the store.
I do not want the user name who installed the OS to be at the logon window, I do not want any data on the computer.

just mimicking  the new computer you get from the store.

it is Gracious give away not a sale… so the question is much more technical than legal.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39791105
If you have those 10 PC's at home, you probably also still have the recovery partitions on them, and you should also have the recovery media you made when you got them.

I would first make sure you have the recovery media, and if not, make them for every PC (particularly if they are from different manufacturers and different models, if they are the same model, one such recovery media may suffice).

Then dban the disks of those PC's, and when done restore them to factory defaults using the recovery media you made. When you the sell the PC's make sure you sell them with the recovery media you made.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39791116
But again, in your Question you say that those PC's are in the Company, and not at home. And Company PC's usually use Volume Licenses and not OEM licenses, and those PC's usually either aren't delivered with an OS included (so no recovery partition or recovery media), or the OS is already licensed to your company, in which case you can probably not sell it again with that license.

If those PC's originally came with an OEM license of Windows 7 home premium installed, it is very likely that that OS was replaced with your company's Windows 7 Pro license, as that is the minimal version of Windows 7 you can use in an active directory environment, and usually no one will bother making any recovery media, and the recovery partition is probably also removed...
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by:rindi
ID: 39791127
There is no difference between a giveaway or a sale. You are legally bound either way.
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 39791129
So what would Sysprep strip off the computer, just SID ?  what about the info of the user who installed the OS ?
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39791383
Why is the user important? You are going to dban the hdd's and reinstall the system, right?

Simply removing the user and what you think is private data from a long used system is a bad, bad idea.
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rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 39791417
I agree. Dban will be enough to remove old data. When you install the OS again all you will have is a basic admin user account with no data. If you use sysprep on that it wouldn't really make any difference.
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 39791690
when you do the fresh install of windows 7, then reboot, I believe you will still see the user account you installed the OS with….how do you get rid of it ?

then how do you make it as image , so that you boot with it other computers…
I know you mentioned Sysprep, but sysprep will not create image file that you will deploy to other computers.


So my objective is to make from one computer multiple copies, now that the SID is not important as the computers will not be in the same domain…..is just like going to each computer and install fresh windows 7, but with no username showing on the login screen when you are done installing and rebooting
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Author Closing Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 39843353
thank you
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