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How to clone a HDD

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December 17, 2012 12:15:06 PM

Hello,

So I the company I work for just upgraded from old dells, and we want to donate them, but the problem is all of the HDD need to be replace with new ones. I wanted to know if there was a way for me to somehow work and setup one computer, and then just copy/clone it to the rest of the new HDD instead of setting up 15 computers one at a time.

Thanks again,
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December 18, 2012 1:18:14 PM

When it comes to deploying, attempting to deploy, or simply refreshing any Windows media, you first might want to check out the re-imaging rights document available from Microsoft here. The document reviews the rights of creating images and using those images for deployment scenarios.

With that said, you will want to use Windows Volume License media to create a reference machine, install all necessary software, proceed to capture your image and save it to your server. Typically speaking, many users utilize Windows Deployment Services (WDS) for this step.

Presuming your Dell machines have product keys fixed somewhere on their casing, you would be able to locate the OEM product key and enter it after deploying out your customized Windows VL image. As part of the imaging process, when you run Sysprep /generalize as Hawkeye22 suggested, the system specific information is removed. Therefore, each deployed machine will have to connect to the Windows Activation server and activate itself on boot.

Alternatively, you might want to take a look at the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT). It’s free and it can handle all your deployments including Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2008 and Windows 2008R2. Using MDT, you can easily add both applications and drivers, create task sequences, join a domain, add a KMS or MAK product key, create an administrator account, specify time zone, etc. You can also import all user data into the new environment using the User State Migration Tool (also free), if needed. To become familiar with the process of using MDT, you might want to check out these videos from the Springboard Series page on TechNet:

Deployment Day Session 1: Introduction to MDT 2012
Deployment Day Session 2: MDT 2012 Advanced

You can even tie MDT into Windows Deployment Services if you wish to help streamline the deployment / refresh process.

Finally, anytime someone is attempting to do a capture process and deployment I always recommend the following videos:

Alphabet Soup Deployment: Understanding MDT, WDS, MAP, ACT, SCCM, and USMT
Deploy Windows 7 The Easy Way: Using WDS, MDT and AIK – Step-By-Step

Hope this helps!

Jessica
Windows Outreach Team – IT Pro
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