Clone Hard Drive from One PC to Another

Isaias Perez
Isaias Perez used Ask the Experts™
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We have an old laptop that has Windows 7 and some very specific software that our finance dept uses. We no longer have access to this software that was created by company that is no longer in business. Users typically remote into this machine to run this software that requires SOAP UI Utilities and Office 2003 to work. We would like to Clone this PC unto another similar PC so more than person can access this software and perform the same function. All that being said, can we close the hard drive of that laptop unto another laptop (Does it have to be the same make and model?) so we can have an exact duplicate of that system? I was thinking about using Clonezilla.
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Scott SilvaNetwork Administrator

Commented:
You might first try cloning it into a virtual machine and testing it. Windows will most likely lose its activation and will have to be activated again. It might not be a bad idea to get the finance department to look towards a supported product because eventually it isn't going to work anymore, and you will lose data...
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Use either virtualization  or use Paragon Backup&Recovery with its AdjustOS feature which will adapt the system to new hardware.
Scott SilvaNetwork Administrator

Commented:
You will also have to hope the original software company didn't design some sort of copy protection in it based on hardware signatures...
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Is the Windows 7 version installed on the laptop OEM

Eg it was supplied with the laptop the hardware because moving to different hardware either physical or virtual will break Windows Activation!
Windows activation is definitely something that will be required whether you clone to a physical machine or a virtual machine.

A hardware lock or a dongle lock  in the finance application if present will stop the cloned version from working. However, I suspect that neither is in place and that you’ve already checked for them. Further i suspect that there is no online software license check system in place for the finance software because the company in question is no longer in service.

A physical clone with clonezilla would help if you wanted to replace the current system. It might not be the right pathway for what you want which is having multiple working clones. The problem with clonezilla for what you want is that after cloning you’d have to cater for two computers on your network with the same SSIDs, generally with cloning you’d sysprep the source so the target gets a new SSID. Now if the two computers are not on your network then this is obviously not an issue.

An easier approach would be to setup a virtual hosting environment and for that i’d suggest esxi (vmware), no licensing cost to you for a limited number of virtual machines. If you already have other hypervisor tech then by all means use that. however, i suggest vmware as converting your current system to a virtual system is as simple as clicking a button. once you,ve moved your computer in then cloning it becomes the next step and an easy one at that. Also for esxi you dont need a beefed up server, you could go with rock bottom and if it all works the way you want you could then get a business case going to get virtualisation properly provisioned.

lastly, from an iis perspective (web tech for Soap); assuming being windows the software is using iis not apache. You may need to change a few settings likes host  files or dns in your network or the worldwide web which ever is being used.

Hope this helps in someway. Have a great day.
Isaias PerezIT Operations Manager

Author

Commented:
I think I am going to go the ESXI route. Ill choose a bare metal machine with 16GB of ram. This is free software if i am going to just use it for 1 or 2 VMs ?
Isaias PerezIT Operations Manager

Author

Commented:
Serg KazakovNetwork admin

Commented:
Clonesilla is a good choice if you do not need to fix system settings, such as the ip address and computer name on the network.
This will work if your laptop receives an address via dhcp, but if it is static, then you need to use software that can fix system settings after cloning, for example, from Paragon or Acronis.
@isaias, VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 6.7U3 is what you are looking for, being a hypervisor, the gui is not on the server you install. you just open up a browser on another computer in the network and browse to the servers ip address and the enter your root users credentials ( that you used to set up esxi) . I find that there is a bug in chrome after the login screen sometimes and if it see an error message just hit the escape key on your key board ( this information is based in esxi 6.0, youll be working with the next version up so the bug might have been fixed)

hope this helps in someway. Have a great day.
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
It will not make any difference if it's physical or virtual.....if the Windows 7 is OEM! You will be stuck after conversion with a non-activated OS.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) versions

Note: Physical-to-virtual hard drive migration of a Windows installation is a valid function for customers with Software Assurance and full retail copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Software Assurance provides users valuable benefits—please contact Microsoft Corporation for further information. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) using OEM versions of these products may not be transferred to a virtual hard drive in accordance with Microsoft licensing terms.

Source
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/A_3721-Can-I-transfer-my-OEM-version-of-Windows-to-another-PC.html

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28950405/Virtual-Machine-XP-license-problems.html#a41642367

there is an EE Question here, on this very subject of OEM conversions!

https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28950405/Virtual-Machine-XP-license-problems.html#a41642367

and two EE Articles

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/A_3721-Can-I-transfer-my-OEM-version-of-Windows-to-another-PC.html

https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/3218/XP-OEM-and-the-repair-reinstallation-which-disk-do-I-need.html

If you do go down the ESXi route, you must ensure the server you install ESXi onto is a Certified System on and the HCL.

Your download is here

https://my.vmware.com/en/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=vsphere-eval

and you will need to convert the Laptop OS to ESXi, and I've written articles EE here...

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 6.1

HOW TO: FAQ VMware P2V Troubleshooting

HOW TO: Shrink or Reduce a VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone v5.5.2


Do not ignore the OEM issue, otherwise all this could be a waste of time.

I also wrote articles about how to install ESXi

Part 1:  HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5)

Part 2: HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5) using the vSphere (HTML5 Web) Host Client 6.5

these are for 6.5, but 6.7 is exactly the same.
Isaias PerezIT Operations Manager

Author

Commented:
Funny cause after i cloned the OS to another PC (Exact same make and model) Windows 7 Activated on its own. I had to rename the second clone PC because it was on the network to avoid DNS issues but all seems to be working fine.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Well that's a given, you cannot have the same PC name and IP Address on the same network!
Scott SilvaNetwork Administrator

Commented:
Cloning to another PC of the exact same make and model is different than a completely different piece of equipment when it involves a bios locked OEM install...  I can guarantee they didn't use a KMS based install on an OEM laptop

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