Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Replicating system setup/config across 30 class machines

  1. #1

    Posts : 2
    Windows 8.1

    Replicating system setup/config across 30 class machines

    Hello everyone, thank you in advance for your assistance on this. I just spent about an hour searching this forum and other places on the web and have not been able to find any kind of solution to my problem.

    Here's my issue; I am a math and science teacher in a public middle school and am outfitting my class with thirty brand-new Lenovo touch computers. I consider myself above-average savvy with computers, having worked with every version of Windows extensively since the late 80s and DOS. The only OS that I haven't spent much time on is Windows 8.

    These computers are all brand-new and of course have legal copies of Windows 8 -- irritatingly, though not yet updated to 8.1. Soo...It took me a larger part of one day just to get ONE of these computers ready for class use. It involved several stages of the Windows update/reboot dance, followed by removing myriad unneeded bloatware applications, setting up multiple child accounts on the machine, and finally installing some freeware educational materials needed for instruction. It was all unbelievably tedious!

    I turned around and look at all the remaining twenty-nine computers with dread. Obviously I'm trying to work out some kind of shortcut to avoid having to spend my whole summer updating each of the new machines individually. In an ideal world, I would make some sort of image of the machine that I just spent several hours updating/configuring, and then replicate that across the other twenty-nine. In terms of hardware, this shouldn't be a problem since all of the machines are exactly the same make and model. But I anticipate other problems such as, for example, the serial number of the Windows version and the computer name will then be the same on all the machines and have to be adjusted. There very well could be other issues with replicated serial numbers, etc.
    I'm thinking maybe I just have to bite the bullet and work at each individual computer one of the time. And then image them individually so that when the kids mess around with them, I can do an easy restore. Unless some genius here has a suggestion on how I could make this work?

    By the way, whoever you are, I am already grateful for the time you took just to read this message, thank you.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center

    I'm not the brightest bulb on the tree but it seems to me the methods used by your library for multiple machines would solve your problem.
    Talk to the library people & see if they can help.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Here is what I would do. (It's what I do at work)

    Take the first machine that you built and set up. Get some imaging software (personally I use Paragon, but you could use Acronis, Macrium, etc). Take an image of the machine and call it the Gold image. Then, once you have that image, lay it down on one of the other computers simply to make sure it works.

    Then, once you know the gold image is good, take the first machine and run
    C:\windows\system32\sysprep /oobe /shutdown.

    Once it shuts down, take an image of it. (This is the image you will put on the rest of the machines). That gold image is there for when you want to change the master image. You can lay it back down make any changes that you want, then get a new gold image, and then sysprep it. This way, you always have a clean (non-sysprepped) machine to work from.

    Since your boxes came with 8, the OS will recognize the built-in BIOS key on each box and will automatically activate.

    If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to reach out.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 2
    Windows 8.1

    Thank you

    pparks1, my thanks for that. I wasn't aware that the BIOS was providing the signature in this OS. That makes things a whole lot easier for those of us who are not trying to be pirates.

    I will mark this as solved and try it out just as you suggested. Unfortunately, school is out now and I can't get back in for a few weeks, but it will be the first thing I try and I will post the results once I have done so.

    Again, my thanks.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Replicating system setup/config across 30 class machines
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