This guide will show you how to deploy Windows 8.1 on multiple computes at no cost by using only free tools and some common sense.
The case: you just received 10 computer desktops to prepare for a client, and the client asked to preinstall some software for him. Standard installation of Windows 8.1 Enterprise naturally and notepad++, visual studio 2013 (msdn version from the client), office 2013 (licenced version form the client), some visual studio plugins, Sql Server Express… wait this is already a good list and will take an amount of time. The solution: just install one machine do the complete setup of the applications and take a clone of the disk and deploy that clone at no cost.
In this first part we will get the tools for doing this job:
- CloneZilla as disk cloner
- PowerShell (version 4 Is standard in Windows 8.1)
Getting CloneZilla and creating a bootable media for it:
- Download here: http://clonezilla.org/downloads.php
- Use InfraRecorder to burn the ISO to a cd or dvd
Prepare Windows 8.1 for clonage:
- I assume here that all additional software is installed
- Run the PowerShell as administrator and execute the following command: Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage
It is important to execute this command because an error could rise when we are going to sysprep Windows 8.1. More information about this here: How To Fix sysprep fatal error in Windows 8.1.
- Hit he windows + r key, type sysprep in the run command and execute it as administrator
- In the System Cleanup Preparation Tool select
- Enter System Out-of-Box
At this point Windows will clean itself, if it reboots shut down the pc, we first need to clone.
To go the easy way we are going to clone from disk to disk, this is quickest method I’ve tested, needs just more handwork. In preparation of this you should find out the identification number of your source disk and your target disk (could be the serial number for example). A nice tip is also is to disconnect all drives and only leaving those needed.
Disk to Disk copy:
- Boot from the CloneZilla cd
- Select CloneZilla Live
- Select English for the language
- Select Don’t touch keymap
- Select Start ConeZilla
- Select Device-to-Device
- Select Beginner mode
- Select Device to LocalDisk
- Choose source disk
- Choose target disk
- Confirm all first selected options and accept all warnings
- Cloning will begin
- At the end do the process over for other disks, and insert the cloned into the desktop
You could now check the cloned disk and install it in a new desktop, system will boot up and you will have a fresh Windows 8.1 !
ConeZilla official documentation: http://clonezilla.org/fine-print-live-doc.php?path=./clonezilla-live/doc/03_Disk_to_disk_clone/00-prepare-clonezilla-live.doc#00-prepare-clonezilla-live.doc