Real case about cloning Windows 7 to multiple computers
“I need to clone windows 7 over 60 computers for a school. And all the computers employ the same hardware and configuration. I want to clone all of them with the same operating system and hardware etc. However, I do not want to clone them one by one. It’s complex. Can I clone all the computers at the same time? If possible, please tell me how.”
Cloning Windows 7 to multiple computers is a tough thing for the majority of people, but you still can achieve this purpose using image deployment software.
And it will be much easier if you just want to clone Windows 7 to another computer. Note this method only works when the harware of new computer is the same as Windows 7. If not, try backup and restore method and the Universal Restore feature ensure secure boot.
Why do we need to clone Windows 7 to multiple computers?
After searching "clone Windows 7 to multiple computers", except this situation, you will see another situation - transfer Windows 7 to new computer. Below are som common reasons for both situations:
- Recover a failed system.
- Update hardware like motherboard, CPU, chipset, etc. Windows 7 does not integrate various drivers for system startup, so there is a possibility your computer may fail to boot due to driver compatible issue after changing hardware.
- Built system on a new computer.
- Batch built system on multiple bare-metal computers to save time and effort.
- Uniform computer configuration (eg: programs, drivers, system settings, etc) to meet work requirements.
Situation 1: clone Windows 7 to multiple computers
If you want to clone Windows 7 to multiple computers, you can try image deployment software - AOMEI Image Deploy. And you choose to download the stand-alone version of it or directly use AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition.
|AOMEI Image Deploy Free Edition||AOMEI Image Deploy Technician Edition||AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition|
|Usage||image deployment software||image deployment software||all-in-one backup software integrated with deployment feature|
|Applicable operating systems||unlimited PCs and up to 20 servers||unlimited PCs and servers||unlimited PCs or unlimited PCs and servers|
|Boot mode||BIOS||BIOS||BIOS and or UEFI|
|Real-time process monitor||monitor IP address, restore status and progress, and final result.||monitor IP address, restore status and progress, and final result.||monitor IP address, restore status and progress, and final result.|
|Batch preset client computer name||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Batch preset client computers IP address||No||Yes||Yes|
|Dissimilar hardware restore||No||Yes||Yes|
|Price||$0||$199||at least $599.2|
Then, which one should you use? The stand-alone version of AOMEI Image Deploy or AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus. It depends on how much you value your data, what you intend to do with the software, and your budget
- If you just want to deploy image to multiple computers, try the stand-alone version of AOMEI Image Deploy. Technician edition is recommended, it supports unlimited PCs and servers, and is able to batch preset IP and dissimilar hardware restore. This will save much tedious installation and follow-up work after deploying image. Besides, you need a free backup software to create system image for deployment. See detailed steps in image deploy page.
- If you don't want to download two software for this task or any of the client computers using UEFI firmware, try AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus. It supports all the features on the stand-version of the AOMEI Image Deploy Technician edition and is able to backup system, disk, partition, files as you like. It is very helpful for continuous data protection. More surprisingly, it allows you to create portable version of this software and save it to a removable device.
Preparations for cloning Windows 7 to multiple computers
Download and install all-in-one backup software on the server computer. Here take AOMEI Backupper Technician as an example. 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).
Remove all the other disks on the client computer in case of mistake selection and data loss due to it.
Create system Image without SID on well-configured computer
To minimize the follow-up work of image deployment, you need to configure a computer with everything you want. It does not have to be the server computer. And you need to pay more attention to the following items:
- Remove SID before backing up the computer. The system assigns a unique SID (Security Identifier) when installing Windows on it, which may cause WSUS incompatibility and such issues caused by SID duplications on the same network.
- Boot your computer into Windows PE after removing SID immediately. If not, it will create a new one.
Thus, to ensure the process goes smoothly, you need to create a bootable USB before removing SID. Please follow the steps below carefully.
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.
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 compatibility issues after deployment.
Step 3. Boot the well-configured computer from a bootable USB and then create a system image with this software.
- Insert the bootable USB created in Step 1, set it as the first boot option, and boot from it.
- On 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 execute this operation. Note the network path should be on the same network segment with all the client computers and server computers. For detailed steps, you can refer to backup Windows 10 to network drive.
Deploy Image to Multiple Computers Step by Step
1. Switch to "Tools" and select "AOMEI Image Deploy" to launch the image deploy software.
2. Then, click "Create WinPE automatically" to create a bootable ISO file. It supports booting from both BIOS and UEFI mode. Please remember to tick "Enable DHCP" to ensure you can boot up client computers over network. Then, click Next.
- If there are drivers incompatible with your hardware and the WinPE cannot start up the client computers, select the "Create bootable WinPE ISO manually" option. It allows you to create Windows PE and add compatible device drivers into WinPE by clicking “Make ISO” or "Make WIM file" on the main page and then “Add Drivers”. Select the second option if any of the client computers use UEFI firmware.
- Usually, the DHCP server is enabled if you use a router and used to assign an IP address for the computer. And it's suggested to tick "Enable DHCP" to ensure your computer can be connected to network automatically. Note there has to be 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.
At the same time, you will see the IP address of all the client computers as well as the connection status on the server computer. Then, tick "I confirm ...." in the AOMEI Image Deploy Technician and click "Next" to continue.
- 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.
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 deployment.
- 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.
- 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.
Situation 2: clone Windows 7 to new computer
If you just want to clone Windows 7 to new computer with the same hardware, it's very easy. You can use System Clone or Disk Clone feature in AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition. It depends on the capacity of disk on the new computer. And either way, you can enjoy the following advantages:
- Clone HDD/SSD and GPT/MBR disk. For example, you can clone system from MBR HDD to GPT SSD and boot from it successfully.
- Intelligent Clone. It allows you to clone only used sectors of system or disk on Windows 7, which makes it easier for users to clone large HDD to smaller SSD without boot issue.
- Adjust partition size automatically or manually. In System Clone feature, it will expand the size of system partition automatically if the target disk is larger. In Disk Clone feature, you can choose to move unallocated space to all partitions automatically or selected partition manually.
- SSD Alignemnt. It is to accelerate the reading and writting speed of SSD disk.
Now, let’s see the detail steps of cloning Windows 7 to a new computer. Note the destination disk on the new computer will be overwritten, so you'd better backup system before cloning it.
Step 1: Launch AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus, click “Clone” and “System Clone” subsequently.
Step 2: Select a disk or partition to save your system and click “Next”
Step 3: Tick "SSD Alignment" feature if the destination disk is an SSD. Then, click Start Clone clone Windows 7 to new hard drive and install it on the new computer.
Wait until the process complets, take the hard drive out of your original computer using the screwdriver and install it on the new computer. Then, boot into BIOS and set it as the first boot option, press F10 to save changes and boot from it.
This operation is very easy, but it is more sutibale for one or two computers. It will be a time-consuming task if you use it on multiple computers. And it cannot be used on computer with different hardware. If you are in the last two situations, switch to the Situation 1.
You can easily clone Windows 7 to multiple computers simultaneously with all-in-one backup sofware - AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus. And it still allows you to transfer Windows 7 to another computer, the cloning method is for computer with the same hardware, the backup and restore method is for computer with different hardware. In later situation, you will use Universal Restore feature to install all the necessary drivers for system startup.
After cloning, you may want to protect system and data on it continuously, this software can also help you. It is able to schedule backup system, disk, partition, files and delete old backups automatically to free up disk space for new backups. And you can create portable version of this software to a removable device. With which, you can perform any operation without installing this software again.