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Ghosting new PCs - NEED efficient and cost effective solution

Posted on 2014-03-26
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Last Modified: 2014-03-28
i am getting ready to ween my company off of XP. ordered 10 new machine with fresh copies of windows 7 professional. my company is on a domain, and uses some proprietary software that takes a ton of setup time.

i am looking for a solution that would allow me to set up a machine, and for the lack of a better term ghost images onto the 9 remaining machines. looking for an efficient cost effective solution that requires only medium tech experience.
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Question by:jerlejeune
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Santosh Gupta earned 1620 total points
ID: 39955758
Hi,

you can use windows 7 inbuilt image backup option.
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/4241/how-to-create-a-system-image-in-windows-7/

if you want 3rd party then go with Trail of shadow protect. you need to create a image within 30 days of installation and you can restore on any hardware, multiple time. no limit for restoration.

http://www.storagecraft.com/products/shadowprotect-desktop-backup
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39955783
Symantec Ghost will do what you want. I have used this approach.  

For Windows 7, the machines need to be the same and you will have to activate and set up the software on each machine. The software will all be there and the process goes fairly quickly.
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Author Comment

by:jerlejeune
ID: 39955799
how will this effect my windows activation codes using the windows image option? will this remain intact or will i need to overwrite the ghosted codes with the proper licenses?
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Expert Comment

by:Santosh Gupta
ID: 39955804
if you have the different keys for each machine, then you can reactive the windows.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/osproductkeys/ht/change-windows-7-key.htm
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39955807
You need the proper licenses on each machine.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39955845
I agree with John Hurst.  If all the new systems are identical, set up the 1st Pc with all applications but don't register Windows. Run a Ghost image copy and then replicate that image on all the other identical pc's. Register each system with it's own Windows key, change the Pc names & IP addresses so none are duplicate and you are ready to go.

Hope this helps!
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Expert Comment

by:Sam Simon Nasser
ID: 39955974
easiest way (as i did it): i work in a university that have nearly 300 disfferent pcs.

download vmware player (it's free), create your virtual machine there (install OS without activation, software, etc..), then create an image using bootable ghost CD (boot the virtual machine into ghost cd) and create the image on flash drive.

the benefit of vmware player is that it create a driver-free platform, so when ever you deploy the image on new pc (regardless of brand, motherboard or specs), it will discover them automatically and define them
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39957859
Could everyone explain WHY THEY THINK Win7 needs to have identical hardware?  It doesn't. Please look at the install DVD - it IS an image and it doesn't care what hardware you install it on.

Next, you CANNOT create images without using Volume License media - if you don't have a volume license install media, then you need to obtain one and a key.  You don't need 10 copies - you need ONE that is the same edition as the version of Windows that came with the systems.  Meaning, if you ordered these systems with Windows 8 Pro, you need a SINGLE volume license for Windows 8 Pro.  You create your reference system with that, image it, and deploy it.

Finally Fog, ShadowProtect, Ghost... ALL WASTES OF MONEY (and/or time).

If you have a Windows Server, you have all the deployment tools you need for FREE.  Windows Deployment Services (WDS), Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK)/Assessment and Deployment Toolkit (ADK)

WDS can capture and deploy the image, including multicasting it to multiple systems simultaneously at high speed.  Go ahead and waste the money on third party apps or setup WDS and look at MDT to get this working using what Microsoft GIVES you.

WDS itself is fairly simple (not having a clue how to set it up and what to do, it took me about an hour if I remember correctly.  And once I realized what I was doing, it now takes me about 15-30 minutes to setup for most clients.
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