By Ivy / Last update April 19, 2022

User case: deploying a windows image to different computer

"We use industrial pcs running windows 10 with our software to control machines we sell. The pcs are identical hardware. How would we go about creating an image to use on another or each so we don't have to go through the windows install, drivers and our software install each time. Are there any issues to be aware of here?“

You can easily restore Windows 10 image to different computer as long as you use a reliable backup and restore software, AOMEI Backupper Professional, for example.

But if you want to do this on multiple computers, it's really difficult, since you need to remove SID and customize a backup image with an answer file and dism.exe. For detailed steps, refers to system builder deployment. If you don't want to, you could try AOMEI Image Deploy in the Technician or TechPlus edition of AOMEI Backupper. 

When will we deploy system image to different computer?

In general, if you are in the following 5 situations, you may want to restore system image to different computer or multiple computers due to different purposes.  

  • Recover a failed system. 
  • Update hardware like motherboard, CPU, chipset, etc. Windows 10 and Windows 11 integrate various drivers for system startup but the previous system like Windows 8 and Windows 7 does not, so there is a great possibility that your computer may fail to boot due to driver compatible issues.
  • Batch multiple bare-metal computers to save time and effort.
  • Uniform computer configuration (eg: programs, drivers, system settings, etc) to meet work requirements.

In sum, this is divided into two situations, namely restore system to one computer and multiple computers and you will get how to do image deployment below in different situations.

How to deploy system image  to different computer(s)

The backup image restore between two computers can be easily completed. But if you are the administrator of a company and want to deploy system image created on a well-configured computer to client computers, you need to use AOMEI Image Deploy instead of restoring system one by one. This minimizes the tedious installation and follow-up work. And you can directly use all the deployed computers after this operation is complete.

Situation 1: Restore system image to different computer

Here you will use AOMEI Backupper Professional to restore system image from one computer to another. It allows you to accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSD disk if the disk on the target computer is. Also, you can restore system to new hard drive with its Universal Restore feature, which will install all the necessary drivers for system startup.

Please be sure you have a system image backup including everything you want. If you don't have, please download AOMEI Backupper Professional and backup system partition with its System Backup feature. For detailed steps, please refer to create a system image backup.

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System Backup

If the computer you want to restore image to does not have OS or is not bootable, you still need to create a bootable disc to boot computer from it. 

Then, follow the steps below to deploy system image to different computer:

Step 1. Connect the backup drive and bootable media, and make sure it can be detected. Then, boot computer from the bootable media.

  • Click start menu and select “Restart”.
  • Press the specific key on the first screen (usually F2 or ESC) to access BIOS.
  • Switch to the Boot tab and set the bootable media as the first boot option by “+”.
  • Finally, press “F10” to save the changes and start the computer from it.  

Bios

Step 2. After loading files, you will see the main page of AOMEI Backupper. Click “Select Task” under the ”Restore” tab and then select system image in the next window.

Select Task Winpe

Note:✎...
If you cannot see any system image in the Restore window, just go back and tick “Select Image File” as instead.

Step 3. Tick “Restore this system image backup” and "Restore system to other location". Then, click “Next”.

Restore Entire Backup

Note:✎...
You can select the backup image at a certain point or created by different backup method - full backup, incremental backup or differential backup.

Step 4. Select disk on another computer to store backup image and click “Next”.

Select Destination

Step 5. By default, this software will check ”Universal Restore” feature automatically if the hardware of new computer is not the same as the computer you create system image on it. Then, click ”Start Restore” to deploy system image to different computer.

Universal Restore

 

Situation 2: Deploy Windows 10 system image to multiple computers

Here you will use AOMEI Image Deploy in the Technician edition or TechPlus edition of AOMEI Backupper to deploy Windows 10 system image to multiple computers. You need to select a server computer and decide on all the client computers you want to deploy an image to.

>> The server computer can be any PC or server machine and you need to install AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition on it for image deployment.

>> The client computers are the ones to receive backup image, and usually, they don't have the operating system.

Besides, you still need to create a system image backup without SID, otherwise, the deployed computers may have conflicts. Note you need to boot into Windows PE immediately after removing SID, otherwise it will create a new one. Thus, the overall steps should be:

1. Create a bootable USB with AOMEI Backupper.
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 AOMEI Image Deploy.
5. Boot all the client computers and deploy image to multiple computers with the created system backup.

Preparation of server and client computers:

  • Go to the download page, download and install AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition on the server computer. It's suggested to use Windows 7 or higher version as server computer. Since this software requires Windows AIK/ADK if you use previous version of Windows 7, so you can create Windows PE successfully. 

  • Check the cable connection between server and client computers, ensure that they are in the same network segment in a LAN.

  • Verify the network card of client computers supports network boot (PXE boot).

  • Verify that the disk number for client computers is the same as the server computer. If there is only one disk, it is disk 0.

  • Remove all the other disks on the client computer in case of mistake selection and data loss due to it.

Remove SID and Create A System Image on A Well-Configured Computer

To minimize the follow-up work of image deployment, you need to configure a computer with everything you want. And it does not have to be the server computer. 

Step 1. Create a bootable USB with AOMEI Backupper. 

  • Go to the download page and download AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition. The previous one supports unlimited PCs while the latter one supports unlimited PCs and servers. 
  •  Then, click "Tools" > "Create Bootable Media" after launching it, select bootable disc types - Windows PE and boot device - USB, CD/DVD or ISO file.

  • Finally, click "Next" to start the creation of bootable media.  

Create Bootable Media

Step 2. Remove SID on the computer you want to backup. 

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. Boot the well-configured computer from bootable USB and then create a system image with this software.

  • 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". Also, you can create a disk backup by selecting Disk Backup in the following picture.
  • Then, select a network share or NAS to store backup image and "Start Backup" to excute this operation. Note the network path should be on the same network segment with all the client computers and server computer. For detailed steps, you can refer to backup Windows 10 to network drive.  

Create System Image

Deploy Image to Multiple Computers Step by Step

1. Switch to "Tools" and select "AOMEI Image Deploy" to launch the image deploy software. 

AOMEI Image Deploy

2. 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.

Create WinPE

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 create Windows PE and add compatible device drivers into WinPE by clicking “Make WinPE” in the main page and then “Add Drivers” . Then, you need to select ISO files manually by clicking “Browse”.
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. Note  there has to be and one only DHCP server within LAN, otherwise, the client IP address distribution may be messed up.

3. In the second wizard page, AOMEI Image Deploy program will prompt “The service has started, waiting for connect…”, then start all the client computers and set the PXE boot or network boot as the first boot option, boot from it. Then, you will see the IP address of server computer and client computer as well as the connection status. 

Boot

At the same time, you will see the IP address of all the client computers as well as the connection status in this software, click "I confirm ...." and "Next".

Connect Client Computers

Note:✎...
You can only boot the client computers when you see the prompt “The service has started, waiting for connect…”. Otherwise, client computers cannot boot successfully.
Be sure the client computers use “UEFI and Legacy” or “Legacy Only” boot mode. 

4. Specify backup image and image deployment settings.

  • Click “Browse” > “Add share or NAS device”  and input the display name, IP address, user name and password. Then, you can select the backup image (its file name is .adi) 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 disk number and deployed computers at a time. 
  • One more thing, batch preset computer name, IP address and enable "Universal Restore" to ensure your computer is bootable after image deployment.
  • Finally, click "Start Deploy" to deploy image to multiple computers.

Configure Deployment

Notes:✎...
All the client computers need to use the same disk number as the server computer, otherwise, this software will report an error. And if you restore to the wrong disk, there may be data loss.
If there is only one disk on the client computers, it is 0. And the disk number ranges from 0 to 256.
The number of deployed computers is at least 1, and 33 at most. The more computers you want to deploy, the longer it will take to deploy. The suggested number of deployed computer is 5 and in this case, it will restore 5 computers every time and then go for the next 5 computers.
If you cannot find what you are looking for and need further help, please do not hesitate to send an email to[email protected], or visit www.aomeitech.com.

Drop it in the box

You can easily deploy system to different computer with the help of AOMEI Backupper whether it is one computer or multiple computers. And either way, you can perform dissimilar hardware restore if the target computer has different CPU, motherboard, etc. However, the Technician or TechPlus version will be more convenient for deploying multiple computers. Since it is able to batch preset IP addresses for all the client computers, so you don't need to set the network one by one. 

And it’s highly recommended to keep this software installed on your computer. It can help you protect system and data on the computer with different backup solutions. To keep all the changes and avoid backup disk full issue, you need to set schedule backup and backup scheme feature. No matter what your purpose is, download this software and try it yourself.