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This is a question that has been asked a lot, but I can't seem to find the answer I am looking for.

We are looking at buying a small quantity of workstations, around 6, which all will have exactly the same hardware and OS.

What we really want to do is set one of the workstations up exactly how we want them all, with software, settings, etc. and then 'clone' the workstation in its entirety. Then we would ideally be able to put the clone (presumably via CD/DVD) into each of the other workstations and have them all exactly the same. So all we need to do it manually alter the IP addresses for use on the network.

The server is only very basic, so I don't believe it's an option to network boot and deploy things that way.

Is Norton Ghost perfect for the job?

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I have just found 'Clonezilla', but this line is putting me off Clonezilla, based on DRBL, Partclone and udpcast, allows you to do bare metal backup and recovery. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (server edition). Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore. does it allow me to setup my first workstation and restore the image to as many workstations I want, or only to the original workstation? – dannymcc Sep 17 '10 at 17:20
It would be helpful if you tell us what OS you are trying to clone. Just about anything other than MS Windows XP (or later) will be a no brainer if they really are identical, but you'll need to reactivate the software for any "WGA" licenced products. – symcbean Sep 18 '10 at 13:06
Hi, sorry forgot to mention - Windows XP SP3, most likely on a Dell workstation. Not sure of the model yet though. – dannymcc Sep 18 '10 at 14:47
Clonezilla will let you deploy the image to any number of workstations. There is no limitation. The difference between Live and SE is the way the images are deployed. Live does one at a time. SE can use PXE and multicast to image many machines simultaneously. – Jim G. Jun 8 '12 at 21:00
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Clonezilla will work if you run sysprep before cloning it. Make sure the PCs are the same, you'll have to enter the COA key in fore each machine and reactivate them, but no biggie.

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I know very little about sysprep, is there a particular reason it has to be run? Is it to create the unattended answer file? Is so, isn't this skipped by the fact that were not actually installing to operating system, just copying it? Please forgive my ignorance. – dannymcc Sep 17 '10 at 18:03
Ditto Clonezilla. You actually don't need to worry about sysprep. Just realize that you will have to change machine after first boot. Also you will have join to domain after first boot, so do not join the machine to domain before you create the image. But Clonezilla works exactly like Ghost just that it is free and easier to use for basic image building and restore. – Webs Sep 17 '10 at 19:34
So install everything without touching the networking and then clone from there? – dannymcc Sep 17 '10 at 20:44

Create the image exactly as you want it to be. Then run sysprep on it with the /generalize switch. This will allow the image to be cloned on to differing hardware and will let you re-enter the OEM key that you are probably using for each machine.

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For a complete beginners use is sysprep just run in the prompt, so something like sysprep.exe /generalise ? – dannymcc Sep 17 '10 at 20:42
sysprep, but you need to be in the proper folder somewhere in system32 ;) – TomTom Jun 8 '12 at 20:59

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