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Just had to gloat a bit....

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Drjones, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. So I do a lot of reinstalling OS's; I have gotten into the habit of wiping & reinstalling windows on all new computers I sell, and I'm upgrading a lot of people to 7, as well as recovering a lot of people from viruses.

    Naturally, it takes quite a little while to install Windows, run all the updates, install Office, antivirus, etc. etc. etc.

    I had a crazy idea I tried out WORKED.

    I did a fresh install of 7, along with all the programs I usually put on a new PC; AVG antivirus, Office 2007, etc. Installed onto an old Dell Dimension 3000.

    I then used DriveImage XML to create an image of that fresh install.

    I have been able to successfully write that image to several computers now. In order to get them to boot, before I remove the drive I've written the fresh image to, I mark the partition as "active" then install it back in the target computer, put a 7 disc in, boot to it, and launch startup repair.

    Windows then loads, installs drivers for all the new hardware, and presto!

    Like magic!

    Anyhow, I'm proud of myself & thought I'd share/brag a bit.

    One other thing I learned the hard way; if you're going to do this, be sure to install everything the first time onto as small a hard drive as you can find; I think the one I used was like 30-40GB.

    The first time I tried doing this, I installed Windows & all the programs onto a newer laptop with a 250GB HD, and when I tried to burn the image to a small (40GB or so) HD, it gave me an error that "the target drive must be at least as large as the source."

    Also; the activation doesn't transfer, so I just enter the license key that I've purchased for the client, or if it's a reinstall of 7 due to a virus or something, just re-enter the product key from the sticker on the machine.

    Works like a charm.....

    Oh, and FYI; I just discovered that the program "Speccy" by Piriform (Ccleaner makers) can show you your Windows Product Key! :cool:

    I'm here all night and I accept tips. :supergrin::wavey:

  2. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    Pfffftttt... Knew it was possible...

    It's great that you proved me right!!! :rofl:

    Seriously, I read about this 5 to 6 months ago that Win 7 was very resilient in this manner...

    You had the *guts* to do the leg work though!

    Now, just script Office 2007 installs, and you are *golden*! Oh... Wait.. It's Office 2010 now! And I was sooo ready to sell you the script... cheep price too... :supergrin:

    Thank for sharing DrJones!

    You behave now...

  3. No, no....I installed ALL programs on the drive before imaging it; INCLUDING OFFICE!

    So when I burn my image to a fresh drive, it includes the following:

    - Office 2007
    - AVG Antivirus
    - Adobe Reader X
    - Java
    - Flash

    Etc. etc.


    So literally all I have to do is run startup repair, reboot a few times & wait for 7 to automatically install all drivers, then run windows & antivirus update just to be sure it is absolutely up-to-date, and that's all!
  4. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    Ya Know... I think that if I were to READ THE ENTIRE POST I would appear a bit more intelligent... :embarassed:

    The complete image idea - awesome - and images are a massive time saver!

    I wonder if you can do this with the Native Windows 7 drive image program... I haven't tried installing a 64bit to a different WS, but I do know that once you make a recovery disk of X64 or X32 it will work on any machine of that 'flavor'...

    And I wonder if using the Windows 7 image restore would eliminate the drive size barrier??? Not a big deal, but makes me go Hmmmm....

    None the less - Great idea! Glad it's helping you out for sure! I may just have to make a generic image for those who need repairs in the future....

    Enjoy the Independence Day Weekend DrJones!

  5. JimmyN


    Sep 29, 2006
    Starting with Win2K, I've always used Windows "Sysprep" for that, it's an administrators deployment tool for just that purpose. You might want to check it out at Microsoft Technet.

    Install the OS and software to create a master drive then run Sysprep and shut it down. That drive, and clones made from it, can then be placed in any PC and on the first boot will go through all the hardware discovery and install the drivers. It's just like an install except all the files are there, so it only takes a few minutes to configure it to the new hardware and be up and running.
  6. wct097


    Jan 11, 2000
    I noticed that Win7 is very tollerant of this myself. I actually took the hard drive out of my Dell Vostro 1500 and stuck it in my new Apple Macbook Pro and was able to successfully boot into Windows 7 without even running a repair against the Windows drive.

    If you go into Device Manager and select the setting to show missing devices, you'll see that all of the hardware for the other computer still appears there.
  7. Patrick, your post got me thinking: Could I use Windows 7's native imaging function to migrate from one HD to another?

    For example, one of my clients wants to upgrade her HP Laptop to an SSD; it has space for 2 drives.

    Imaging the way I've done it with DriveImage XML won't work because her drive now is 300+ GB and the SSD is going to be 120GB, so I'll get that "drive must be at least as large as the source" error.....

    So then I started wondering - again, thanks to your post - if I could use 7's built-in imaging to migrate her to the new drive without having to reinstall her OS, programs, etc.....

    To add a layer of fog to the issue, she's part of a domain - does Windows Server 2008 notice hardware changes at all? I wouldn't think so, but I'm not a server expert....I just have one working for me. :cool:

    In any case, to use 7's built-in imaging function, wouldn't you first have to install 7 onto the fresh drive/PC, then tell Windows to restore from the image, or what?

    I'm popping open Backup/Restore on my system right now to see if I can get a better idea how that would work....
  8. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    I can see you haven't made a Win7 image yet... :supergrin: and that's okay cause lots more people still haven't used it...

    At the end of the imaging process you are prompted to make a CD... A Win 7 32bit Recovery CD will work with any (so far) Win 7 32bit system you need to recover, and same with Win 7 64bit.

    AD (Active Directory) may cause you grief. Seems to me there is a SID or GUID id that is written to a system, along with some GPO's when you join the domain. This may not be your best *first test*... but you are correct that Server 2008 doesn't care what your hardware is.

    I almost ran this experiment over the weekend, but I didn't have the hard drive space...

    But I think that it is totally possible that this might work better than we think. I have several very different systems, but it's the hard drive space that is killing me! (LOL)

    Let me know if you go for this... and take notes! You may earn yourself a Guest Blogger shot if you want to! :cool:

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  9. Well, I tried using Win7 imaging to attempt to migrate a client from a 500GB traditional drive to a 120GB SSD, dice.

    I forget now the specific error message I received, but I believe it was due to the (significant) difference in drive size.

    So it seems that there's no really straightforward way to move from a large HD to a small SSD using any sort of imaging.

    I was reading online about shrinking the size of the partition before imaging & stuff, but that's not something I'd like to fuss with....for now....
  10. wct097


    Jan 11, 2000
    With the way imaging works, you'll almost always have issues going down in drive size, unless you shrink the filesystem first. Shrinking really isn't that big of an issue when you're working with small drives to begin with. I've not had very good luck trying to shrink a 500gb partition, while I've done it many times going from 70gb down to 50gb and tweaking around that range.

    My Macbook Pro has a 128gb SSD, and it took me a few tries to get the Windows 7 partition sized to my liking, leaving space on both partitions to work with.
  11. Kith


    Jan 18, 2010
    I just did something similar woth Acronis brand backup software.

    Fresh install of windows xp, all microsoft updates (and drivers, obviously). Install Acronis, make first image.

    Then install software to tailor the operating system to a specific purpose, re-image.

    Restore first image, (bare install with just microsoft updates), install different software to tailor operaring system to a different purpose, re-image (and etcetera)

    I spent the day creating a hanful of images that will set my hard disk primary partition to a fresh, clean install.

    Oh, forgot to mention... takes less then 15 minutes to restore an think I used to spend hours and hours doing this the long way.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011