Create a distributable backup on dissimilar hardware

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  1. Posts : 11
    Windows 10 Professional
       #1

    Create a distributable backup on dissimilar hardware


    I have installed on VirtualBox a version of Windows 10 Professional with many utilities that I want to save on a medium and distribute on other computers with different hardware.
    I have already tried True Image and Snap Deploy and I must admit that they often work very well but when the computers are too modern or too old the restore process fails.
    Furthermore, going every time to retrieve the drivers of the new PC and add them to the machine is an inconvenient process in terms of time, often if there is no Windows 10 on the old hardware.
    I am looking for a solution that always works, 100%.
    I am reading here:
    DISM - Clone and Deploy using FFU Image
    Create a WinPE USB or ISO
    Before starting I would like to know if I am on the right path.
    Thank you in advance
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  2. Posts : 494
    Win 10 Pro x64 versions
       #2

    Since you wish to perform this image capture on different versions of Windows (ie. XP, 7, 8, 8.1) I suggest you use the image.exe utility found in Win 10 AIK distros. This way you can create WinPE using versions 2.0 and 3.0 for those systems.

    A good primer can be found at the link below:
    How to Capture and Deploy Image (.wim) Without Sysprep
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  3. Posts : 6,919
    windows 10
       #3

    Are you putting them on Virtual box on other pc or as a disk image with VB all hardware is more or less the same
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  4. Posts : 11
    Windows 10 Professional
    Thread Starter
       #4

    I don't understand the difference between FFU and WIM.
    I don't understand which one is best for me.
    I don't understand what Sysprep is for and if I should have it or not.
    I'm interested in creating a file that is created by VirtualBox and distributed on many computers with completely different hardware.
    I intend to distribute Windows 10 only, not other operating systems.
    I repair outdated computers (added SSD and RAM) or build new computers with recent hardware.
    I also read this in the guide:
    "Notice please: FFU image can only be created from a GPT formatted disk. Equally, it can only be deployed to a GPT disk. FFU imaging does not work with MBR formatted disks."
    I don't quite understand this point of the tutorial. It seems that in some cases my image doesn't work. Are there any computers that don't accept GPT?
    What are the PCs that don't accept GPT?
    The new ones or the old ones?
    Notebooks or desktop PCs?
    How can I create a Windows 10 image that works on any PC at 100% and not 99%?
    Thanks for all your support
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  5. Posts : 24,653
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #5

    myMoustache said:
    ...Are there any computers that don't accept GPT?
    What are the PCs that don't accept GPT?
    The new ones or the old ones?

    All Windows PCs can use GPT disks, but only modern systems with a UEFI bios can boot from a GPT disk. All Legacy bios machines must have an MBR disk as the boot disk for the system.

    How can I create a Windows 10 image that works on any PC at 100% and not 99%?
    See if this tutorial helps...

    Customize Windows 10 Image in Audit Mode with Sysprep
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 11
    Windows 10 Professional
    Thread Starter
       #6

    No the discussion you sent me is too long and too complex, it takes less time to install Windows 10 normally.
    I don't quite understand what you write because for me what I find on this site is all new stuff.
    If all computers accept GPT but not everything even at startup could a solution be to load the ISO with Rufus using MBR?
    What can you tell me about the difference between FFU and WIM?
    Is there someone in this forum who does my job and wants to explain to me how it is organized?
    Thank you
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  7. Posts : 494
    Win 10 Pro x64 versions
       #7

    What can you tell me about the difference between FFU and WIM?
    Is there someone in this forum who does my job and wants to explain to me how it is organized?
    First, in general terms a WIM file (Windows Image File) contain disk images that can be mounted within the Windows operating system, which means you can access the file system stored within the WIM file like it was a hard disk.
    These WIM-files allow a user to use the disk image on multiple computer platforms. WIM files are very similar to other disk image formats, but this file format is file-based and not sector-based like most disk image formats.

    Conversely, an FFU file IS a sector based or exact copy of a disk and is suitable for cloning all contents of a computer disk including drivers for the specific platform from which the FFU image was captured.

    Second, I do not do your job however, If were doing your job I would do it as follows:



    1. Begin with a new clean installation of the latest Windows 10 version. If customization of the installation is required the only tool for that to my knowledge is Sysprep. You can use that tool to do many things but not everything.
    2. Once the installation is completed use the Sysprep tool to Generalize the image which will remove hardware drivers and prepare the image for capture and deployment on other computers.
    3. Once that process is complete than you can use DISM tools to Capture an Image of the install as a WIM file. The Capture is best done to a flash drive for ease of use.
    4. Create a WinPE media disk for use to Deploy the captured image file to other computers.


    Windows 10 when applied as per the above and first run will start at the OOBE screen which is the first screen that a user sees when preparing a newly purchased machine. Windows 10 has by far the best hardware driver support of any version of Windows to date and should be able to boot and run on most any hardware.

    Further I would follow steps 1 through 3 and create images for both Legacy/MBR installations and another for UEFI\GPT installs so that both old and newer platforms could be serviced.
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  8. Posts : 11
    Windows 10 Professional
    Thread Starter
       #8

    In the meantime someone intervened, I tried to follow this guide but the procedure does not work.
    Create a WinPE USB or ISO
    Could anyone tell me where am I wrong?
    Railtech, can you recommend a detailed guide? I am not familiar with these things.
    Create a distributable backup on dissimilar hardware-01.pngCreate a distributable backup on dissimilar hardware-02.pngCreate a distributable backup on dissimilar hardware-03.png
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  9. Posts : 494
    Win 10 Pro x64 versions
       #9

    In the meantime someone intervened, I tried to follow this guide but the procedure does not work.
    Create a WinPE USB or ISO
    Could anyone tell me where am I wrong?
    Railtech, can you recommend a detailed guide?
    It appears that your screenshots show you are booted from drive X: which in most cases would be a WinPE media or flash disk and you say you have followed the guide to create a WinPE media disk but that did not work, how so?

    You then post screenshots of an attempted FFU image capture which failed. The error 50 from within WinPE often points to a registry error. It also can point to a bad build of WinPE. What version of ADK did you use to build the ADK? I have read where version 1903 would produce this error when capturing and image but if version 1809 would not. Ideally you should be using the ADK version that is the same as the image you wish to capture. Do a google search for WinPE DISM FFU error 50.

    There are no all in one guides to any of this. It is a learning curve and there are bits and pieces all around the net. The Tutorials of this Forum hold a lot of this information but not all of it I'm sure. For things you do not understand continue to ask questions as chances are good that someone can provide an answer.
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  10. Posts : 2,513
    trying to install win10
       #10

    Where is this D: that you are trying to store the image on? Is it possible to save the image on the same volume you are capturing? I don't know as I haven't done the ffu thing. What does the dism.log tell you? It appears to be an MBR disk, which might be the issue.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Create a distributable backup on dissimilar hardware-02.png  
    Last edited by SIW2; 22 Mar 2021 at 12:22.
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