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How to create a Windows 10 Image that can be easily flashed onto multiple computers?

anoor9000
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Greetings,

 

My physics teacher is an awesome guy, so he was able to get some custom built rigs for the classroom. The whole purpose of this project is to move away from the atrocious technology policy at my school so he can have working computers year round. The hardware in them varies slightly, but overall they are pretty similar.

 

I am doing what's called a "Lab Aide" for a period during school and he asked me to help him out with getting the OS on each computer cleaned up and easily flashed to an original state at the end of each year to clean up all the clutter (student labs, simulation files).

 

Each computer has to have some programs on them in addition to just windows like LoggerPro, Rocksim, MS Office and whatnot. Additionally, each computer has to have some essential files (videos, labs, logger pro files, templates).
 

My thinking is that I re-install windows on each of the computers, create a non-admin user, and then backup the installation using the "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" on an external hard drive for each one of the computers. That way, I can install all the machine specific drivers, activate all the software, and have all the essential files and all he has to do at the end of each year is restore from the backup and run Windows update.

 

Does this sound like a good way of going about this? Am I missing anything important?

 

Thanks!

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How many systems? There is the right way to do this with something like sccm, but for a few systems it might be quicker to do manually or install one system and clone with something like dd on linux or clonezilla

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If you do that then your windows version is going to be several versions behind the current version.

NEW PC build: Blank Heaven   minimalist white and black PC     Old S340 build log "White Heaven"        The "LIGHTCANON" flashlight build log        Project AntiRoll (prototype)        Custom speaker project

Spoiler

Ryzen 3950X | AMD Vega Frontier Edition | ASUS X570 Pro WS | Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB | NZXT H500 | Seasonic Prime Fanless TX-700 | Custom loop | Coolermaster SK630 White | Logitech MX Master 2S | Samsung 980 Pro 1TB + 970 Pro 512GB | Samsung 58" 4k TV | Scarlett 2i4 | 2x AT2020

 

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5 minutes ago, Enderman said:

If you do that then your windows version is going to be several versions behind the current version.

Any reason he couldn't run windows update after each reset?

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13 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

How many systems? There is the right way to do this with something like sccm, but for a few systems it might be quicker to do manually or install one system and clone with something like dd on linux or clonezilla

Maybe 14 computers. The issue with cloning is that they don't all have the exact same hardware so the drivers and whatnot might not be correct.

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1 minute ago, anoor9000 said:

Any reason he couldn't run windows update after each reset?

Well, it will basically be the same amount of work as just clean installing windows.

Also there's usually less issues with a fresh OS compared to an old one with 20 updates on top.

NEW PC build: Blank Heaven   minimalist white and black PC     Old S340 build log "White Heaven"        The "LIGHTCANON" flashlight build log        Project AntiRoll (prototype)        Custom speaker project

Spoiler

Ryzen 3950X | AMD Vega Frontier Edition | ASUS X570 Pro WS | Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB | NZXT H500 | Seasonic Prime Fanless TX-700 | Custom loop | Coolermaster SK630 White | Logitech MX Master 2S | Samsung 980 Pro 1TB + 970 Pro 512GB | Samsung 58" 4k TV | Scarlett 2i4 | 2x AT2020

 

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3 minutes ago, anoor9000 said:

Maybe 14 computers. The issue with cloning is that they don't all have the exact same hardware so the drivers and whatnot might not be correct.

install programs on one system, sysprep(this is made to fix the driver issues), then clone.

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Ever tried DISM? 

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16 hours ago, Lukyp said:

Ever tried DISM? 

And this will work even though the hardware is not completely identical?

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On 1/7/2019 at 8:10 PM, Electronics Wizardy said:

install programs on one system, sysprep(this is made to fix the driver issues), then clone.

I'll definitely try that. However, I assume licence keys for programs will get screwed up because each computer has to have it's own unique key, correct?

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10 minutes ago, anoor9000 said:

I'll definitely try that. However, I assume licence keys for programs will get screwed up because each computer has to have it's own unique key, correct?

Yep, depends on the programs. With large deployments you have a server that manages this and allows for easy imaging.

 

For your use, image, then manually change the keys.

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