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  1. #1
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Cloning a Windows 7 PC to dissimilar hardware

    A charity at which I volunteer has previously successfully used Windows Backup to back up a source Windows XP and now 7 workstation (usually HP) and to clone it to the remainder of the PCs on the premises (usually HP, but a few Dell or NEC).
    [Yes, this mechanism does work - whatever people may have said in the past about Machine SIDs!]
    The charity has a Volume Licence for Windows XP and 7, and wishes to minimise the time for the rollout of Windows 7 and produce identical configurations with minimum effort.

    However, this procedure is now becoming problematical with Windows 7, with the dreaded "re-image system disk fails error 0x80042412" on the restore function. Considerable work has not been able to overcome this problem reliably.

    We now need a minimum-cost software product which will enable this Windows 7 cloning function to work straightforwardly and reliably.

    So far I have suggested Macrium Reflect Workstation and the equivalent EaseUS ToDo Workstation backup but I'd be interested in the views and experiences of anyone who does this sort of cloning on a regular (or even occasional) basis.

    Thanks!
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  2. #2
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I have used TeraByte's Image for Windows for this purpose with a no-failure rate every time I have performed a system hardware upgrade, including the most recent total upgrade (completely different hardware environment), Converting a re-build from MBR to GPT. Image for Windows includes TeraByte OS Deployment Tool Suite, specifically for moving an image to different hardware. I haven't used TBOSDT, as restoring a system image using IFW has been successful. After restore, one need only install a couple of hardware specific drivers.

    Just use a total drive image (the top tier in the partition selection for imaging), and it's pretty much a painless operation. The linked upgrade included converting from MBR to GPT, which added a wrinkle or two, but was successful nonetheless. No boot device is similar in concept, moving from HDD to SSD in my laptop. The same general process works for motherboard upgrades, CPU upgrades, and total hardware upgrades.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  3. #3
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Thank you bbearan - but the kick in the tail is the Image Redeployment Licence, which knocks the price up significantly...
    BATcher

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  4. #4
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    SIDs are not an issue - never have been it turns out. (Yay! I got a Googlewhack looking that link up.)

    I have always used MS ImageX and SYSPREP. Works, it's free, requires some initial work, especially with Office 2010 in the image. I do the image work on a VM to make life easy.

    I can probably walk you through the required bits if you are patient - I do have another job, but I'm the boss so making time is relatively easy.

    cheers, Paul

  5. #5
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Thanks for the offer!

    I have been looking at the usual suspects like Macrium Reflect and EaseUS ToDo backup, but AOMEI Backupper says it is
    "The One and Only Free backup software support to restore backup images to physical computers or virtual machines with dissimilar hardware.".

    It has the magic word FREE in it! I think this may be something we can play with first...
    I wonder if anyone has used AOMEI Backupper to restore to dissimilar hardware?
    BATcher

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  6. #6
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    The issue with cloning using backup software is you don't necessarily reset the OS to allow new user and machine names. The same is true of Office etc.

    cheers, Paul

  7. #7
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Sorry, Paul, I don't understand what you're saying!

    I'm expecting when the image is restored to a new PC to have to rename the PC to prevent duplicate PC names.
    There is no domain, just a workgroup, and the source machine will be set up with all the required usernames and passwords on it, which information will transfer across to the new PC.
    BATcher

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  8. #8
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    Sorry, I was assuming a domain. Even then you have to activate Office and that requires an external command.
    https://4sysops.com/archives/office-...m-office-2010/

    cheers, Paul

  9. #9
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Yes - using Windows Backup and then restoring the image (when it worked!), both Windows 7 and Office 2010 had to be activated. I didn't know Office 2010 could be reactivated with a command - I always went into Word and did it manually!
    BATcher

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  10. #10
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    Using SYSPREP, or a 3rd party equivalent, re-arms Windows ready for the deployment.

    Have you tried nLite? It takes the hard work out of cloning, but it's not an image tool as such.

    cheers, Paul

  11. #11
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Thanks again, Paul - the downside is that NTLite for Business costs $249 for a single 'seat'...
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  12. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BATcher View Post
    Thank you bbearan - but the kick in the tail is the Image Redeployment Licence, which knocks the price up significantly...
    Bear in mind that there is a fully functional 30-day free trial for Image for Windows, and that can be used to restore an image to bare metal, after which the installation of hardware-specific drivers (and individual machine Windows/Office Activation) is all that is necessary for a fully functional Windows installation.

    You could place a "drivers folder" for each machine type in the original image, which would make the driver update portion a piece of cake.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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  14. #13
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    If you want free you need the Windows AIK tools. Simple once you understand how to use them.

    cheers, Paul

  15. #14
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    Consider AOMEI Backupper 2.5. It is free for non-business applications and allows restoring an image to a computer with different hardware. After restore to different hardware, the computer starts the OOBE just like on a new computer. It might be worth asking them if you could use it free for your charitable organization. Technician Edition is probably too expensive at $699 for your organization.

  16. #15
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    I use ACRONIS True Image 2014 as my backup software. I has an imaging capability + backup so that the whole drive(s) can be placed on various computers, not only WIN to WIN but also WIN to APPLE and VICE VERSA. Of course you need the software.

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