1.    25 Nov 2015 #1
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 7
    Windows 10

    Install all my apps in 1 hit after/during Windows 10 install?


    Hi,

    We have 5 machines, 2 laptops, and some tablets. I am also designated to "service" all my relatives computers.

    It is getting to be a pain to have to fix them every 3-6 months after the kids trash them with unwanted software.

    Installing Windows 10 takes like 30 minutes, but it will then take me another 4 hours to re-install all the other software that we have. Most of it is freeware and I was able to use EaseUS PC Trans to quickly re-install most of that software. But I still have some free software, and a heap of paid software that I have to individually re-install on all the machines.

    Anyway to over come this, like can I make a backup of my windows and then reload it on another machine and just change the licensed software registrations?

    I understand I will have to register the software on each machine, that is ok, takes about 20 minutes per computer.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    25 Nov 2015 #2
    Join Date : Aug 2014
    Forever West
    Posts : 3,913
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, Win7 Home, Linux Mint

    I don't think it will be that easy. It's not the Registration but the Activation of Windows that will be a downfall unless all computers are exactly the same. But then they can't be for the purpose of Activation, the identifications of the computers' hardware will be different from each other based upon what Microsoft recognizes. Windows can't be Activated on more than one computer. The OEM/Brand computers are a different licensing arrangement with Microsoft.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    26 Nov 2015 #3
    Join Date : Oct 2015
    Posts : 1,968
    Windows 10 Pro X64

    Hi,

    All of the above plus Windows will just crash if the machine is not technically identical to the one the backup was made on.

    Cheers,
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  4.    26 Nov 2015 #4
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 7
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    I have individual Activation keys. I just thought there must be a way that an IT person would do it, or how the big manufacturers do it. They must have some system to install Windows and all the related software so that no human has to sit there installing individual pieces.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    26 Nov 2015 #5
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 2,308
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1706 (CU build 15063.674)

    Well, haven't done this myself, but you could install Windows 10 in a "master" disk. At first startup where you create the users etc, you press a special key combination to start in "audit mode". In this mode you can make changes to the computer, like installing applications, themes, wallpapers etc. Then you can deploy this installation on other computers. There is a "generalize" function to make it hardware independent. After you have installed all the applications (do not activate them yet) and generalized the Windows installation, you can clone the disk to the other disks using Macrium Reflect, Acronis True Image and other utilities. Then put the disk in the other computer. You should be presented again with the first welcome screen, create the users and then proceed to activate Windows and any other application and of course install drivers (it is a good idea to have them downloaded beforehand and saved in a folder like C:\DRIVERS). Before giving the computers to the kids, it would be a good idea to create a full backup to a spare hard disk or even to a smaller partition in the same disk. If anything goes wrong, you restore the backup and you are ready to go.

    This thread explains how to use "audit mode". It is a little technical, but I hope you can follow.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    26 Nov 2015 #6
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,662
    Windows 10 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Gambler71 View Post
    Hi,

    We have 5 machines, 2 laptops, and some tablets. I am also designated to "service" all my relatives computers.

    It is getting to be a pain to have to fix them every 3-6 months after the kids trash them with unwanted software.

    Installing Windows 10 takes like 30 minutes, but it will then take me another 4 hours to re-install all the other software that we have. Most of it is freeware and I was able to use EaseUS PC Trans to quickly re-install most of that software. But I still have some free software, and a heap of paid software that I have to individually re-install on all the machines.

    Anyway to over come this, like can I make a backup of my windows and then reload it on another machine and just change the licensed software registrations?

    I understand I will have to register the software on each machine, that is ok, takes about 20 minutes per computer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gambler71 View Post
    I have individual Activation keys. I just thought there must be a way that an IT person would do it, or how the big manufacturers do it. They must have some system to install Windows and all the related software so that no human has to sit there installing individual pieces.
    It can be done exactly as you outlined and in fact it is amazingly easy to do. It is exactly what I always do with a new version or new build of Windows. I would not bother to clean install Windows on all my machines; instead I do it once, install all my software and then simply deploy that Windows image to other machines.

    In all it's simplicity it goes like this:

    • Install Windows 10 on your reference computer without entering the product key selecting I do not have a product key when asked for it
    • After the last reboot when Windows shows the Settings dialog, asking if you want to use the Express Settings or customize settings, press CTRL + SHIFT + F3 to restart to so called Audit Mode
    • Windows signs you now in to Audit Mode with the built-in admin account because no user profiles / accounts exist yet
    • In Audit Mode, install all your software (only the software you want to be installed on every computer). I use PowerShell OneGet in 10, Chocolatey in 7 and 8 to do it with one command, installing all my software silently in the background from one simple PowerShell command. If some application needs an individual product key do not enter it now
    • Sysprep the Windows image with the following command given in an admin command prompt, it will make your Windows image totally hardware independent removing all hardware related information (device drivers, registry entries etc.) and shutdown your reference PC:
      %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown
    • Now boot the reference PC with a boot / emergency / rescue disk (different names used by each imaging application) of your chosen imaging software. I use both Macrium Free and EaseUS ToDo Free for this, lately almost exclusively the free version of EaseUS ToDo
    • Create a system image of your reference computer
    • Done!

    Now you can simply, instead of clean installing Windows 10, boot each computer with the boot disk of your chosen imaging software and restore the reference image. That's it

    Pros:

    • A totally hardware independent image which can be restored (deployed) to any hardware setup capable of running Windows
    • When the image is restored to a new PC instead of a normal clean install, the normal OOBE first run setup is run. Users set up the initial user profile as if installing Windows normally
    • When the initial user finally boots to desktop, all software is already there, installed and ready to be used
    • Restoring the complete image with all software takes usually less time than a plain and simple clean install of Windows
    • The image can prepared and captured on a virtual machine. I use a Hyper-V vm as my reference PC when doing this


    Cons:

    • Windows needs to be separately activated on each PC the image was deployed to. If the PC has no digital entitlement the product key needs to be entered when the PC is booted first time after the deployment
    • If software like Office suite needs to be activated, it needs to be done separately on each PC after the image has been deployed


    Tutorials:


    Create and restore a system image videos:





    Videos from the thread Solved Windows 10 instructional videos by Ten Forums members - Windows 10 Forums

    Please notice that if your reference computer is a UEFI system, the image can only be restored to other UEFI systems, and the same with BIOS systems which can only be restored to other BIOS systems. Also notice that if you create this "base" Windows image on a let's say 250 GB hard disk using all of it (minus system reserved) to Windows C: drive, the image can only be restored / deployed to the hard disks of at least the same size, in this example 250 GB.

    Don't hesitate to ask if you need more information


    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    I don't think it will be that easy. It's not the Registration but the Activation of Windows that will be a downfall unless all computers are exactly the same. But then they can't be for the purpose of Activation, the identifications of the computers' hardware will be different from each other based upon what Microsoft recognizes. Windows can't be Activated on more than one computer. The OEM/Brand computers are a different licensing arrangement with Microsoft.
    Quote Originally Posted by fdegrove View Post
    All of the above plus Windows will just crash if the machine is not technically identical to the one the backup was made on.
    Read my response above.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    26 Nov 2015 #7
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 2,308
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1706 (CU build 15063.674)

    Thank you Kari for outlining the steps. In fact I may create such an image containing the most common applications (Adobe Reader, Classic Shell, Media Player Classic etc) to save all the trouble installing them every time for my customers. Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    26 Nov 2015 #8
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 7
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Yes thank you heaps Kari.

    I like this method. Hopefully it will even continue as new versions of windows emerge.

    I am ever so grateful.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    26 Nov 2015 #9
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,662
    Windows 10 Pro

    You are welcome. If you have any issues, post here or in any of the tutorial threads.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 


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