View Full Version : Best way to image Win 8.1 onto multiple machines?

10-01-2013, 03:13 AM

I am a sys admin.

What I need to do is:
- Install Win 8.1 Pro 64bit and various apps onto one machine
- Image it off to a network share on a local Windows server
- Place that image, from the network share, onto e.g. 10 machines with very similar hardware to the original machine

For years I have done this using Ghost 8 on a WinPE bootable CD. I've probably imaged 1000 PCs this way over the years. It worked perfectly with Windows XP. When we went to Windows 7 I need to repair the Windows installation following imaging to new machines but no great shakes. As a company we missed out Windows 8.

Windows 8.1 appears to have introduced new problems. I can image off and image on. However, after imaging to new machines, Windows 8.1 doesn't start and I cannot repair the installation with a Windows 8.1 installation DVD. I believe this has something to do with the format of Windows 8.1 partitions...?

How are other sys admins doing Windows 8.1 imaging? - with a bootable CD/DVD/USB stick and with images stored on network drives I mean. I'm happy to spend some money for the right product. I would like to avoid any Microsoft products/methods, unless anyone thinks they've recently cracked it, as I've never thought MS understands how we as admins want to do it. (I don't want to slipstream anything or setup any server-side software - and as we use only volume licensing I'm not too fussed about licenses). Also I'm not worried about potential NIC driver issues as I believe I have that part understood/covered.

Any help appreciated!


10-01-2013, 03:50 AM
I fixed my immediate Windows 8.1 problem using this post-image fix from a web page that I am not allowed to link to (not made enough posts here):

Boot from a Windows 8 Recovery Media...
Trouble Shoot -> Advanced Options -> Command Prompt
CMD> bootrec /scanos
CMD> bootrec /rebuildbcd
CMD> bootrec /fixmbr
CMD> bootrec /fixboot

... but I'm still interested in other people's methods...


10-01-2013, 04:24 AM
How are you currently creating your image backup? Did you create a USB Recovery Media?

10-01-2013, 04:29 PM
Since 1997, I've been using ONLY Ghost, for all my backup needs.
I even ran Ghost 2003 from a DOS boot floppy disk, for backing up XP, which I run in FAT-32 format. That still works just fine today. :)*

* That is the only version, that will offer to put itself on a backup DVD, thus making that DVD boot to Ghost, for a quick, one disk restore. Toshiba, used to use that technique for their Factory Restore disks.

But when MS, in their infinite wisdom, changed the MBR in Vista, Ghost 2003 more or less stopped working. It will make a backup, but the restored image file will not boot up the PC. Oooops!

So I was forced to upgrade to Ghost 11.5, the latest version that will run in DOS, but too big to fit on the old floppy disk.
I now run it from either a bootable CD or flash drive.

It looks and plays exactly like my old trusty 2003, but it was updated to handle the new style MBR.
Ghost 11.5 is very capable. It will backup XP, Vista, W7, W8, W8.1 and even Linux.
And being run in DOS, it takes Windows and locked files completely out of the equation.

Just a thought!
TM :cool: