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Imaging PCs

itgolfer
itgolfer asked
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Last Modified: 2017-05-03
We've got about 20 PCs being delivered tomorrow and I was going to try to get 1 of them setup and then take an image to setup the rest. I haven't ever done it before so I'm just wondering if the Windows built-in one (I believe they have it) works or if it needs to be a 3rd party. The PCs will be Windows 7 if that makes a difference.
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aravind ancheWindows/Vmware
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Imaging is great and I highly recommend it for large numbers of PCs...

HOWEVER

You can't do it if you don't have a volume license.  Volume Licenses are REQUIRED for imaging.  The good news is that you only need ONE volume license for Windows 10 Pro in order to deploy the volume Windows 7 Pro on ALL the PCs.  The PCs *MUST* come with Windows 7 Pro (or a 10 Pro license).

Microsoft has a robust deployment capability through Windows Server (Windows Deployment Services is a built in role to Windows Server since 2003 R2). The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) offers many capabilities for customizing your deployments and is FREE.  Many of the tools currently available for Windows 10 work with Windows 7 as well.
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/deploy/windows-deployment-scenarios-and-tools?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396

While you CAN use other tools (Why?) the Microsoft tools are quite capable and free and generally not difficult in my opinion.  One thing you *MUST* do is SYSPREP your image BEFORE capture.

Frankly, if you've never done Windows Deployment before, you should be prepared to spend at least 40 hours learning it.  In the long run, deployment can save MANY hours of work, but learning to do it right can take time.  (but it is a beautiful sight to see 20 machines simultaneously loading Windows and being near fully setup in 30 minutes once you have your image prepared and the deployment systems ready).
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FYI most large OEM's offer an imaging service and will preload a corporate image before shipment (minimum purchase required)

http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/learn/imageassist

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Just so I'm clear, and that I'm explaining it correctly, I would like to setup one of our new PCs, take an image of that and then use that image to the others so that I don't have to reinstall software, Windows Updates, etc. Is that what you're all referring to?
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That's the general idea of an image.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Yes. It's Imaging and deployment.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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The OEM solution is not a solution for this shipment since it's already ordered.  It is something to consider, but it's also VERY limiting because you are restricted to the image and updating it can be a time consuming process.  Self-imaging with the proper tools is usually far more effective.
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Never said it was ,but when considering imaging why waste your time and effort when everything can be done at the factory to begin with?

I've rolled out thousands of desktops this way.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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aravind ancheWindows/Vmware
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All have good information