By Lily / Last update April 21, 2022

Need to clone multiple computers over network

Cloning multiple computers over network is a way to save much time and efforts for companies on both the front end and back end of mass system deployment. Expanding a division or upgrading systems for an entire company can mean dozens, even hundreds of new machines that need to be loaded with the appropriate software and configured to work on your company’s network.

Ensuring that all of your company’s computers have identical base configurations is important for system-wide security updates, compatibility and speedy tech support down the road. Your technicians can painstakingly set up all the machines one by one with the exactly same settings. This may cause a lot of work. 

At this time, some users may wonder if it is possible to configure just one machine and replicate the settings and data onto the other computers. Luckily, this can be achieved by cloning over network, and that is what AOMEI Image Deploy is good at.

Clone Multiple Computers Over Network

Best software to clone Windows image to multiple computers over network

AOMEI Image Deploy (AID), the best image deployment software, or network cloning software, offers you the easiest way to clone Windows image to multiple computers over network, including Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2003/2008 (R2)/2011/2012 (R2)/2016 (R2)/2019/2022.

It has two editions, namely AOMEI Image Deploy Free and AOMEI Image Deploy Technician. Below are main differences between them, please check them carefully and decide which one you want to use:

  Free Edition Technician Edition
Applicable operating systems unlimited PCs and up to 20 servers unlimited PCs and servers
Real-time process monitor monitor IP address, restore status and progress, and final result. monitor IP address, restore status and progress, and final result.
Batch preset name of client computers  Yes Yes
Batch preset IP address of client computers No Yes
Dissimilar hardware restore No  Yes
Business use No  Yes

Then, which one should you use? It depends on your computers and how many of them.  

If you only use Windows PCs with the same or similar hardware or there are 20 server computers or less, try Free Edition. Note you need to set IP address for each computer after deployment to be sure they are connected to network. 
If you have more than 20 server computers, or some of the computers have dissimilar hardware, for example, different CPU and motherboard, you need to use Technician Edition. One more things, it has high priority technical support and provides charged technical service to your clients if you want.   

No matter which one you use, you need to remove SID on the well-configured server computer first and then create a system image without SID, otherwise, the client computer may fail to boot after deployment. But none of them supports doing so. That's to say, to complete this process, you need to download both software - one is to create a system image, the other one is to deploy image. You can use free software, AOMEI Backupper Standard, for example, but the process is relatively complicated and difficult. Is there any way to achieve this goal?

The answer is Yes, you could consider using all-in-one backup and restore software - AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition. It integrates the image deployment software - AOMEI Image Deploy and supports all the features you will use in the deployment process. And it can help you protect your system and data continuously. For the differences between them, check the edition comparison page.

AOMEI Backupper Technician

How to clone computers across the network easily

As you can see from above, you are able to clone computers across the network in 2 ways, namely directly using AOMEI Image Deploy and free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard, or all-in-one backup and restore software - AOMEI Backupper Technician. The previous is worth trying if you don't mind using two software. The overall steps of them are below:

1. Create a bootable USB with AOMEI Backupper. It is used to boot the well-configured computer after you remove the SID on it.
2. Remove SID on the computer you want to backup.
3. Boot the computer you want to backup from the created bootable USB and then create a system image with AOMEI Backupper.
4. Create Windows PE automatically or manually with image deploy software.
5. Boot all the client computers and deploy image to multiple computers with the created Windows backup.

After getting the overall process, you still need to make some preparations in the following and be sure this process run smoothly.

  • Choose a fully functioned machine running Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista or server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019, 2022 etc as server computer. And be sure it is use the same network segment of all the client computers. 

  • Be sure the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) in the server computer system is complete. If it is incomplete or the system is older than Windows 7, please download Windows AIK/ADK

  • Confirm the NIC (also known as network adapter) in all the client computers supports PXE boot (or network boot).

Set Boot Order

  • Make sure the sequence number of the destination disks that are used for image deployment is the same, preferably remove all other disks in the client computer but only keep the destination disk for image deployment. 

  • Set a well-configured computer with the operating system (OS), applications, settings and data etc. Note the created backup image needs to be saved on network drive and it should be in the same network of all clients computer. 

  • Remove SID on the well-configured computer, otherwise, some of the client computers may have compatible issue and fail to boot from the destination disk.

After making preparations, you can follow the steps below and learn how to set up multiple computers with the same configuration. Here use AOMEI Image Deploy Free edition and AOMEI Backupper Standard in Windows 10 as an example. Of course, you can use AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition, the image deployment software is under the Tools tab.

Step 1. Create a bootable USB or CD/DVD with free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. 

Download, install and launch this software, click "Tools" > "Create Bootable Media", select bootable disc types - Windows PE and boot device - USB, CD/DVD or ISO file, click "Next".

Create Bootable Media

Step 2. Remove SID on the well-configured server computer. 

Press "Win + R" and enter "sysprep" in the textbox to find Sysprep.exe. Run it and choose Enter System OOBE, tick Generalize option, and select Shutdown. This step is necessary for users to avoid compatible issues after deployment.

sysprep remove sid

Step 3. Create a  system image backup without SID using free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard.

  • Insert the bootable USB created in the Step 1, set it as the first boot option and boot from it.
  • In the main page of AOMEI Backupper, click "Backup" >  "System Backup".
  • Then, select a network path to store backup image and "Start Backup" to excute this operation. For detailed steps, you can refer to backup Windows 10 to network drive.  

System Backup

Note:✎...
If you want to create a disk backup, select Disk Backup under the Backup tab. Then, you need to select source disk and network path. At last, click Start Backup as well.

Step 4. Create a Windows PE automatically or bootable ISO file manually.

Download, install, and launch AOMEI Image Deploy Free edition on the server computers within the same LAN. Then, click "Create WinPE automatically" to create a bootable ISO file and tick "Enable DHCP", so you can boot up client computers over network. Then, click Next.

Download AID Windows Server & PC
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Bootable File

Notes:✎...
If there are drivers being incompatible with your hardware and the WinPE cannot start up the client computers, select "Create bootable WinPE ISO manually" option. It allows you to add the compatible drivers into WinPE.
Usually, the DHCP server is enabled if you use a router and used to assign IP address for computer. And it's suggested to tick  "Enable DHCP" to ensure your computer can be connected to network automatically.

Step 5. Boot all the client computes from PXE or network boot.

Once AOMEI Image Deploy shows "The service has started, waiting for connect...", start all the client computers and set PXE boot or network boot as the first boot option, then boot from it. The client computers will display the following.

Loading WinPE

Client Connection Status

At the same time, you will see the IP address and Status (Client computers connected) of all the client computers on the server computer when they are connected. In this case, tick "I confirm all the client computers which need to be deployed are online” and click "Next".

Connect

Step 6. Specify backup image and set deployment settings.

  • Click “Browse” at the Select backup image file box and find the backup image you want to deploy.
  • Then, select "All" to select all the online client computers or only tick some of the client computers for image deploy.
  • Afterward, set the number of destination disk and deployed computers at a time. Please note that all the destination disk number need to be the same. Normally if there is only one disk on the client computers, it is 0. 
  • Finally, click "Start Deploy" to deploy image to multiple computers.

Settings

Note:✎...
If you don't want to set the name and IP address of client computers, you could consider presenting them in the Settings option. Also, you are able to enable "Universal Restore" if there are client computers with different hardware. The preset IP address and Universal Restore feature are available on the AOMEI Image Deploy Technician.

That's all the process of deploying Windows 10 image to multiple computers. Now you can view the image deployment progress of each client computer on this software. And you can preset the operation on completion, including Shut down PC and Restart PC.  

Deployment Progress

▶ Video tutorial:

Summary

With AOMEI Image Deploy, whether you use Free or Technician edition, you can quickly clone Windows 10 to multiple computers simultaneously. However, there are some differences between them, the biggest one is free edition does not support unlimited servers and restore system to computer with dissimilar hardware. And in this case, try its Technician edition. 

To make this process easier, or protect your computers continuously, you could consider using AOMEI Backupper Technician Plus. It not only supports image deployment software, but also backup, restore, sync, clone and other useful tools. But if you want to backup database within unlimted PCs and servers in a computer, you can try AOMEI Centralized Backupper.