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So this best practise guide mentions that I can create a hyper-v image from a new install of SharePoint 2010, is it possible to run more than one machine (copied from this image) on the same network?

I thought you had to have a unique instance of each machine?

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You can create an image, sysprep it, then create differencing disks against it and spawn a bunch of SP images (which will need SP to be configured for each machine). You could also copy the whole image (this has nothing to do with Hyper-V, you can always clone a Sysprepped Windows machine).

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I know you mentioned you want to create whole images of an OS, however I thought you might be interested in a project called AutoSPInstaller. It allows you to create a pre-compiled/configured working directory. All you have to do is edit the configuration XML file.

http://autospinstaller.codeplex.com/

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