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In a few days I'll have to install 10 brand new pc that identical on the hardware side. Starting from windows 7 professional and ending to applications, settings and users. I thought about preparing a "perfect pc" and then clone it with clonezilla...

But then I should change, at least, computer name I think...

Any better hints?

Thanks for helping :)

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migrated from Jan 17 '11 at 7:43

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

Yes, clone and then change the computer name on first boot while it is off the network. Name the user account to something generic like "User" when you set up the first PC. – Moab Jan 16 '11 at 22:06
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Whatever imager you use, you should definitely use Microsoft's Sysprep to prepare your original image for deployment. This goes especially if the target computers are on the same network, because Windows uses unique identifiers for users and computers to manage access rights - Sysprep deletes all these IDs for regeneration.

There's other tools to do that, too - but Sysprep is by far the simplest for a small number of target PCs, especially with identical hardware: You just make a fresh install of Windows, make all your preparations, and when you're done, you run Sysprep and shut down.

The next time you run this sysprepped Windows, it will perform a Mini-Setup, so be sure you take the image right after shutting down.

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You could use Acronis True Image, set up one computer with all applications, settings, etc. and then create an image of the hard drive. As long as the computers use the same hardware, you can then copy the image over to the other machines.

You will then also have an image that you can use as a rescue backup in case something goes wrong or one system has a major hiccup.

(Everything else has some overhead in setting up, I think. Like using deployment techniques for server domains, etc.)

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Does it have any advantages over Clonezilla? – Pitto Jan 16 '11 at 22:03
I don't really know Clonezilla, but Acronis is really a "works-out-of-the-box" application in my opinion. – slhck Jan 16 '11 at 22:07
Same as Clonezilla except Clonezilla is free :) I was just wondering if I could find an easy way to do deployment (and if deployment can include application beyond operating system) instead of cloning. – Pitto Jan 16 '11 at 22:11
I'm not an expert on deployment, unfortunately. If you don't know it yet, ninite might save you some time! – slhck Jan 16 '11 at 22:19
It's really Acronis Snap Deploy which is perfectly suited to this: – paradroid Jun 11 '11 at 11:51

If this is something you think you will be doing often you might look into Windows Deployment Services, but if this is going to be a one time thing I would make one drive exactly how I wanted it then use your backup/restore software of choice (Acronis, Ghost, Paragon, etc.) to perform a drive to drive copy. Hirens Boot CD has lots of different backup software on it... and I think the current version of Hirens Boot CD is actually legal (no pirated program like the older versions).

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