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I'm looking for something that can drop an image of Windows onto an uninitialized Hard Drive. I have new units that haven't even had the partition table created on them, and I'm trying to come up with a one (or two) step process for getting a disk image onto them.

I've tried clonezilla, but that doesn't seem to like the lack of partition table, and as far as I can tell, Acronis doesn't work either.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

What did you use to make the image (or have you not got that, yet?)

Also, the "full disk image" from Clonezilla doesn't really care about partitions. As I understand it, it does what is essentially a 'dd' on the source drive and makes a sparse file (I think?) on the storage drive. Then when restoring from that image, it 'dd's the blocks back.

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I've been playing with Clonezilla. I'll look for this option and try it. – JoelHess Mar 16 '10 at 12:43
I'm not sure; I don't use Clonezilla, but I used partimage, and partimage has a selection screen that won't see the destination drive without a partition set up on it. Once I created the partition it saw it as a selection to restore to. It may be that while Clonezilla uses DD, it's looking for a partition to target instead of a device, but like I said this is speculation on my part. – Bart Silverstrim Mar 16 '10 at 13:22
Bart: Sure, partimage stands for "partition image", afaik. You should give the live Clonezilla a shot. It's what we use for all of our imaging (in a small shop, it's easy). They also have the server for distributed imaging. – Matt Simmons Mar 16 '10 at 14:04
Clonezilla does work. I was just using the wrong option to create the image. – JoelHess Mar 16 '10 at 14:52
Ah, that's great :-) Congrats on getting that done! – Matt Simmons Mar 16 '10 at 15:15

Use windows OS tools - IMAGEX (starrts with 2008 or later) can take a file based image and is pretty fast aplpying it. It also works on partitions, so size is not an issue.

That, plus a Windows 2008 server running WDS and you can actually load a windows image from the network. Works VERY nice.

I suggest using 2008 R2 as server - has some nice features for post-image driver install IF the os deployed is R2 / win7... if not, it still is a decent WDS server.


  • WDS for distribution
  • ImageX for taking an image.

That is all you need.

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I forgot to mention I don't have network. Everything needs to run from USB. – JoelHess Mar 16 '10 at 12:42
Well, still - imagex, winpe boot from usb, then extract from usb.Nothing special ;) – TomTom Mar 16 '10 at 12:51

I don't know if that'll work with windows images but I guess it should

dd if=/path/to/iso/ of=/dev/sdX bs=4096

Other than that, I've heard that people are using Norton Ghost quite a lot for installing windows from images so you could give it a try. I've never used it though and cannot offer any advice.

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