27 May 2012

How To Restore A Windows Image To Different Hardware

If, like me you wipe and reload a lot of laptops and PC's, you will know how monetenous and time consuming this can be.
Even when you install Windows with service packs built in, you still will have to install a large number of updates, which can take a lot of time, depending on your broadband speed.

I will discuss and show how to create a Windows 7 image, that will include all windows updates, a few applications and how to restore this image to any laptop or Pc regardless of manufacturer or hardware. These images can be updated when new updates are released.

This type of image restore is often referred to as:

1. Baremetal
2. Universal restore
3. Restore to dissimilar hardware

There are a number of software solutions that can be used for creating these images.

1. Hard Disk Manager 12 Suite
2. Acronis True Image Home 2012
3. Esaeus Todo Backup Workstation

I will be using Easus todo backup here as I have found it has an easy interface

Eseus Todo Backup comes as a free edition, but unfortunately leaves out the option to create a bootable USB key for restoring images
To have the USB restore option you need to buy the workstation edition @ €30 approx which is very good for what the software can do

1. PC or laptop not older than 2 or 3 years old (to avoid driver issues)
2. Windows 7 Installation DVD or ISO
3. DVD Drive or PowerISO
4. 4 GB minimum USB key (For ISO Install Of Windows) see link below
5. Easeus Todo Backup
6. 2 GB minimum bootable USB key for restoring imag

As you are aware there are a number of Windows flavors

This procedure will need to be repeated for each flavor of windows you intend to use

The 3 most common flavors are

1. Windows 7 Home Premium
2. Windows 7 Professional
3. Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 32 bit Vs 64 bit

the rule of thumb is as follows:

If system has 3GB memory or less - use 32 bit
If system has 4GB memory or more - use 64 bit

there are other considerations to be taken on board if using 64 bit. Not all software and drivers come in 64 bit versions. Using 32 bit software and drivers on 64 bit systems will case stability issues, crashing and even BSOD's (Blue Screen Of Death)

Let's Get Started

1. On an existing machine install PowerISO
2. Complete the steps on the link below


3. On an existing machine install Easeus Todo Backup
4. Create An USB recovery Disk for Easeus Todo Backup
5. Open Easeus Todo Backup

6. Uinstall Easeus Todo Backup - no longer required
7. On a blank PC or Laptop install Windows 7
8. When Windows setup arrives at the screen below - Stop

Normally the "use recommended settings" option would be selected, this would cause windows to start downloading updates immediately setup is finished if a network is available, but for this project the "Ask me later" option needs to be selected because when the desktop appears we need to configure windows update settings before we let windows download the updates

9. Continue the rest of Windows setup and let Windows come to the desktop

About Windows Update

In Windows XP there were 2 options for Windows update. Express and Custom
Express just downloaded and installed the most important updates
Custom showed all available updates and allowed you to choose which updates were downloaded and installed

In Vista and Windows 7 these options are not available and by default Windows Update operates in Express mode
For this project we need Windows Update to operate in Custom mode so we can make sure that all available updates will be downloaded and installed.
We also need to stop Windows Update installing drivers

How to Stop Windows Update Installing Drivers

How to put Windows Update in to Custom mode

Installing Windows Updates

Each time before you check for updates, reboot machine, if windows update does not request a reboot
Keep checking for windows updates until the following screen appears

Installing required applications