Cloning And Drivers Question:

  • Here is my scenario. We are deploying 26 new computers that are the exact same model and have the same configuration. I want to use one of them as my base with all Win10 updates, driver updates, office install, etc. I've never done any PXE booting, I've only used USB bootable cloning that does bare metal restores. The HP's have restore partitions, and I want to keep them for warranty purposes. So, here's my questions:

    1. Will I be able to push one image with all drivers included and the restore partition to all of the others? It will be on an isolated network without access to the Internet using CloneDeploy DHCP.
    2. Will machines be auto renamed so I don't have to manually go to each one after?


  • To help chime in here, my college's computer lab runs a near identical setup, but with Dell workstations. Currently, we have DHCP running on a Windows 2016 Standard Edition server. Though, you can certainly use CloneDeploy for DHCP if you want. For PXE booting, the DHCP service is configured with the PXE boot file option. All of the workstations are configured with the PXE boot option set to enabled (e.g. in the BIOS). This was very easy to do and all configured in an isolated network.

    As far as HP restore partitions go, the partitions can all be kept in tact with CloneDeploy. If you want to separate or change any of the partitions, you can always use a custom schema in CloneDeploy for your other workstations. Also, you can push one image out with all of your drivers and applications installed. Though, I highly recommend that you keep a previous image as a backup just in case something goes wrong during image deployment. Be sure to upload an image before running sysprep as well.

    Have a look at these forum posts to get an idea of which method you might prefer to use for image deployment: [url=][/url] and [url=] [/url]

    As for auto renaming workstations, you will have to use sysprep in some way to do this. CloneDeploy can be configured to change the sysprep tags (e.g. computer hostname tag) in your unattend.xml file during image deployment. Take a look at the official documentation for that here: [url=][/url].

    I hope that helps!

  • Thanks for the chime in, Wizman87. I'm going to be using PDQ Deploy to deploy everything necessary to the computer, since it's just easier to keep track of and I'm familiar with it. I checked out the global properties link for the auto rename, but I didn't see any detailed instructions on how to change the sysprep tag? Any help there would be greatly appreciated.


  • Anytime, Iheartautomation.

    I was recently looking into using PDQ Deploy alongside CloneDeploy as well, though the free "trial" seemed to have limited functionality. I'll have to check it out some time. As for changing the sysprep tags, the sysprep tag entries are entered manually within the image profile (e.g. under Images > [Image Name] > Profiles > View > Sysprep).

    To create an unattend.xml file for sysprep, you will have to use [url=]Windows System Image Manager (SIM)[/url], which is included in the [url=]Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)[/url]. Have a look at this forum post for more information on auto renaming: [url=][/url].

  • Thanks again! Btw, the free version is only limited as far as no pre-packaged deploys, is limited to one step in a package you make and scheduling isn't available. Otherwise, it's great for pushing software. Office 365, Trend, and Connectwise Automage agents are mostly what I use it for. The fact it ties into your AD is a life saver. You can push to OU's specifically. Great for any MSP or in-house IT imo.

    As far as the answer file, do I have to make an answer file for the renaming? Or jussut edit the sysprep image profile?

    Thanks again!

  • Ah. That doesn't sound too bad!

    Normally during image deployment, CloneDeploy changes the computer name in the Windows registry if no answer file is found in the image. However, that functionality doesn't seem to be working at the moment. CloneDeploy most likely needs a small update to fix that functionality. As far as the answer file goes, once sysprep is run, that is when the answer file gets executed. As CloneDeploy is not currently changing the Windows registry, you will have to make an answer file for auto renaming. You will also have to add sysprep tags under Sysprep in the image profile for any changes that you want CloneDeploy to make to your image. Overall, it's generally best practice to upload pre-sysprepped and sysprepped images.

    Usually, what you would do first is prepare a Windows image in audit mode before running sysprep. While in audit mode, you would install any drivers, software applications, scripts, and unattend.xml answer files. Then, you would upload the pre-sysprepped image with CloneDeploy. After that, you would run sysprep on the Windows image. Once sysprep has been run on the Windows image, the computer shuts itself down. This is when CloneDeploy steps in with the sysprep tags. Also, this is when you would upload a second image with CloneDeploy. This second image is the sysprepped image. The first pre-sysprepped image will be used for updating the image later on down the line. Next, the answer file gets executed after boot. However, before any execution of the answer file takes place, CloneDeploy changes your defined sysprep tags that were under Sysprep in the image profile. After CloneDeploy is done changing the syprep tags, the Windows image executes the answer file and boots up like normal (e.g. into OOBE mode or the desktop).

    Does that help at all?

  • Yes! That helps a lot. I think I'm going to forego the auto renaming route, since I'll be doing max 20 machines at once and I can rename them once they replace other machines on-site. I appreciate all of your assistance.

  • New to the CloneDeploy Family. So this is a little over my head.
    I have always used Clonezilla, doing 1 to 1.
    I have CD installed on a standalone server, and it is working with my Windows2016 DHCP server flawlessly. I can upload and deploy images just fine, without any issues being caused to my network. Which is great!

    What I am reading here, is exactly what I want to do.
    I want to deploy a computer lab (30 machines) (and more labs in the future) with a specific image. I also want those machines that were just deployed, to have unique names (room number with machine number, ED: LAB301, LAB302, LAB303, etc)

    I have never used sysprep before, could you help me out and explain a little simpler what needs to be done. Or maybe point me in the direction of a how-to video that would be great for this? Im not new to the tech world, (currently a school tech) I have just never used sysprep.

    I appreciate any help you may have to offer.

  • @SnappleDapple2

    I am in the same boat. Just starting to use clone deploy and need to learn about using sysprep and answer files. Have you found any helpful links or videos yet? Or have you figured it out?

    I have never used Audit mode.

  • @orkinman Not really.

    I have learned that when I register a computer to CD, and I deploy an image to that machine from CD, that computer is renamed to what CD has registered. AS LONG AS THE IMAGE THAT WAS CREATED IS NOT JOINED TO THE DOMAIN. That's key lol

    That takes care of the first thing. Unique Machine names.
    Just can't seem to figure out Automatic Domain Join.

    All of the sysprep videos and how too's I've read up on are of no help as they have their own agenda's they are trying to get across.

    And the powershell script that I've follwed doesnt do anything.