Disk imaging software

  Gary Wood 23:20 25 Feb 2009

I am going to be configuring several identical computers. Can anyone recommend any (preferably free) software that I can use to make a disk image of the first one I set up onto DVD, and then clone it onto the other machines?



  woodchip 23:24 25 Feb 2009

not possible with only one System disc and key. You would need to first buy a multiple System Disc from Microsoft to setup windows for X amount of Computers

  skidzy 23:25 25 Feb 2009

Thats going to depend on your os license ! is your license for more than one computer ?

Acronis true image will clone the os for you.

If your going to use a Linux distro,you will be fine and ATI will serve you fine.

  Gary Wood 23:31 25 Feb 2009

That's a good point re licenses. The computers are going to be brand new and supplied with Windows Vista, licensed individually on each machine. I'll then be installing Office and our Antivirus package, for which we have volume licences, making some configurations, and then wanting to clone this drive onto all the others.

So, you're right, there'll be a problem with licenses, in that each comptuer will get the same Windows licence number. Is it possible for me to change the licence number in Windows after doing the clone, to set it to the individual one supplied with the computer?

Also, is there any software other than Acronis? I'm looking for something free ideally, and preferably something that I don't have to install in Windows, because I don't want to have to install the program in Windows on all the machines.



  woodchip 23:37 25 Feb 2009

There is a way to change the key, but best way is to contact MS by phone explaining what you need to do. And Acronis is the best way to go as regards speed

  woodchip 23:40 25 Feb 2009

With Acronis you can load Windows as a Image or just Put everything on one computer then Create the Image and Copy the Image to each computer all in one go. The keys are the Problem using any type of imaging Software. Medion Computers use Imaging software

  brundle 23:47 25 Feb 2009

You might want to check out Sysprep; click here

  DieSse 00:06 26 Feb 2009

You can do this imaging free, using Seagate Disk Wizard - which is a free download of Acronis True Image. It has some restrictions - but not for complete images. If the systems are truly identical, you can use it to clone the drives - which will then run directly without needing to load up the image.

You only need to install on one system - them write all the clones on that system.

Changing the Product Key

click here

click here

and many other links on googling.

  jimv7 00:33 26 Feb 2009

As DieSse has said,

Load vista onto 1 computer then write the image to dvd, Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image will do this for you, upon install on another computer providing they are identicle, just put the license number in when asked.

If you have inserted the number prior to the original image then as brundle has said use sysprep to remove the number and all security settings before you image the computer.

  Gary Wood 15:08 26 Feb 2009

Thanks for all your replies. Just to confirm, the ten identical computers will be supplied with Windows Vista pre-installed, so the licence number will already be entered.

So, should the proceedure be as follows:
1) Install Office and AV on one machine;
2) Run Sysprep with the /generalise command to remove machine specific settings (including the licence key - will this command do that?);
3) Use Seagate disk image tool to create the image;
4) Image the other nine computers with the image from the first;
5) Boot each computer and enter the individual machine license key when prompted.

Is this correct?

Finally, can the Seagate image tool be run from a bootable CD, to avoid having to install software in Windows, which would mean it's then incorporated into the image and transferred to the other 9 machines? If that's not possible, is there any software that would do this?



  DieSse 15:44 26 Feb 2009

The Imaging restore MUST be run from a bootable CD, as the drive you're "restoring" to would be presumed to be blank (or corrupt - but blank in your case). You use the installation on the primary system to create the CD.

Install all the software you need on the source system (not just Office and AV perhaps?).

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