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Imaging and drive cloning

Posted on 2014-01-28
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Last Modified: 2014-02-16
I have a customer that needs to make exact copies of windows to deploy.  The computers on the networks may talk to each other, but different networks will not.  I have tested Windows deployment, and from what I see it will not work.

Using Windows Deployment and sysprep generalizes the image to much to be useful.  However, if I could use sysprep without the generalization and just copy the image backup to Windows Deployment problem solved.  If you do not generalize the image, Windows Deployment will not show the drive letter to be imaged.

That brings me to Imaging or cloning with a third party tool.  I use StorageCraft, and I am pretty sure it will work for what I need, but I need to use the IT version.  The customer does not want a software copy left on the system.  The system needs to be imaged out side of the OS, and re-stored leaving no software.  The IT version is Expensive per year.

Now that there is a little history, here is my question.  

From the location perspective of the hard drive, is it that with an image, I am familiar with the big ones, the image can be done over the local network and restored the same way, VS drive cloning where a second drive is inserted into the master machine and copy is done internally, and then you put that drive into the target machine and then you have your duplicate copy.

Thanks, very much for the expert advice.

Rick
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Question by:RickArnold
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Expert Comment

by:nick2253
ID: 39815701
How exactly does sysprep make the systems too "general"?

If you are using Volume Licensing, there are tools from Microsoft to solve that hurdle, and if you are using any other kind of licensing, you basically have to use something like sysprep, from a legal standpoint, or else you are violating the licensing agreement with Microsoft.
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Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 39815712
First, you can only create re-deployable images from a Volume License - no other license grants you that.  If you don't have one, you cannot deploy.

Second, Sysprep is not an option - it's a requirement.  Things MUST be reset or you leave the system in an unsupported configuration.  Even if things appear to work today, you simply will not know when you do something, if a problem occurs, that it wasn't related to the machines sharing information they shouldn't because of an improper deployment.

What is it that sysprep appears to do that makes things more difficult for you?  Perhaps there's an easy way to resolve it that you're not aware of.
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Author Comment

by:RickArnold
ID: 39815778
This Customer use these systems as Kiosks type systems and they use IE heavily, and they have display settings that need to be in place.  When you do the generalize, it seems to re-display settings below

Power Settings

autologin for a user - did not login

Keoware did not start automatically - registry entry changed mostlikely

Video options Changed

Rick
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Expert Comment

by:nick2253
ID: 39815801
At the very least, as a work around, all of those settings can be set using BATCH files are similar, and such a script can be set to run through sysprep on first boot up.

Trying to get around sysprep will only cause you more problems than you'll solve, especially if these systems are in a high-abuse environment.  I would strongly recommend figuring out how to automate that setup so you can continue to gain all the benefits of the "right" way.
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Author Comment

by:RickArnold
ID: 39815819
I seem to remember that in the old RIS you could setup an answer file is that possible
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 39815820
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