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I'd like to create a CD/ISO of a windows installation that has all the software I normally use in a machine: Windows 7, Visual Studio, Office, etc.

I'd like to be able to create this once and then whenever I get a new machine I can just pop in the CD and have it install everything back to my normal starting configuration.

An example: Let's say I have 50 desktop PCs that all need to have the same software: Windows 7, Visual Studio 2010 and Office 2010.

I don't want to install Windows 7, then update all patches /service packs and then install Office and Visual Studio 50 different times. That would get very time consuming. I'd rather do this once and then create a CD that would basically copy this one machine so I can pop this disk into the other 49 PC's and have it exactly the same.

What's the best (free) solutions for this sort of thing?

I believe the term I am referring to is called slipstreaming?

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Are you saying that you want to pop the DVD in and install Windows onto the HDD from the DVD or do you want to pop the DVD in and run Windows from the DVD? – joeqwerty Jul 11 '11 at 15:47
I'd like to create a CD that is bootable which contains the OS plus commonly used software: Office, Visual Studio, etc. – Dismissile Jul 11 '11 at 15:49
I don't think it's possible to run Windows 7 from removable media. It is reportedly a feature that will be available in the upcoming Windows 8. – joeqwerty Jul 11 '11 at 15:51
What do you mean? Not possible to create a custom bootable CD that has windows 7? I've installed a vanilla Windows 7 from a burned CD before. I just want one that is more customized. – Dismissile Jul 11 '11 at 15:53
You're saying you've installed a version of Windows 7 before but your previous comments suggest you mean booting from the DVD without actually installing anything. – dannymcc Jul 11 '11 at 15:55
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Sysprep and ImageX will allow you to capture a Windows 7 image with custom applications. East and straight forward. Here's a video tutorial as well.

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A sysprepped image as suggested by JohnyD will be ok for most basic deployments; but if you want to fine-tune your deployment process, you should definitely have a look at the Windows Automated Installation Kit and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.

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The best tool I know to do that is RT7Lite, it's very user-friendly and works like a charm.

Another way to achieve what you want is by having a dump of the partition/drive ready to be used and it's simpler to update: restore, update, dump again the new image and burn or prepare for PXE boot.

Clonezilla is fine for that, not as user-friendly as RT7Lite (cli only) but as easy to use thanks to the included wizard.

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RT7Lite is a good tool, and it lets you slipstream the service pack as well – beakersoft Jul 12 '11 at 9:38

If your machines are pxe boot-able you should also look at using WDS to host the images, that way you wont have to even walk around with a dvd. Plus i've noticed that a couple of the Windows 7 64bit images we have had from manufactures have been huge (over 5gig), so you if you are going to burn your own you will have to get the size down to fit on a normal single layer dvd.

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