On Linux, if I copy the root from linux machine #1 to a fresh install of linux on separate machine #2, will machine #2 contain the exact setup as #1?
Or do I -have- to create images of the drive and use software to duplicate the machine?
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
Assuming the source system only has a singe filesystem used for root, then copying
You will need to manually re-setup your bootloader on the target system. Simply replicating the root filesystem will not re install grub/lilo into the MBR.
Depending on how you perform the copy, and what distribution you are using you might need to update the UUID on the entry for the root filesystem in