Easy cloning to different hardware for Windows 10 (also from VM to physical hw)

  • Richard Y
    Post count: 3
    #675 |

    The problem:
    My colleagues in Nigeria needed Windows 10 installed on multiple computers in a computer lab for Bible translation students. I planned to install it on one of my trips to Nigeria – but I didn’t want to spend precious hours in-country installing and tweaking Windows, along with lots of linguistics and translation software. I wondered if there was an easier way – and I found one…

    The solution:
    I tried a piece of free software called AOMEI Backupper, which claimed it could image a hard drive and restore it to different hardware. Here’s a simplified version of what I did:

    1. I used VirtualBox to set up and customise Windows – complete with software, user accounts, etc.
    2. I installed AOMEI on the virtual machine.
    3. I used AOMEI to create an image file from the virtual hard drive (very intuitive, by the way)
    4. Then I used AOMEI to restore the image to a physical hard drive connected through USB. I selected the “Universal restore” option.
    5. Once in Nigeria, I put the hard drive into a lab computer (Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L), and booted it up.
    6. I went to Device Manager and installed drivers for a couple of hardware-specific devices which showed up in yellow.
    7. I activated Windows 10 online – it worked, presumably because I had a licensed version of Windows 7 installed before on the same motherboard.
    8. I did the rest of the post-cloning setup – renamed the machine, set the IP address, etc.

    So – it worked, and the computers we set up are running fine. And I saved a lot of time and hassle through doing the software setup ahead of time – not to mention the other advantages of using VirtualBox, like snapshots, which allow you to mess up the installation and go back to the previous stage.<br /> I don’t know whether the AOMEI Universal Restore feature works with all types of processors – but it worked for me.

    Now for the bad news – when I first used AOMEI, the “Clone to dissimilar hardware” option was free. Not any more – you need to pay $50 for a license, with which you can use AOMEI on 2 computers. If you clone all your hard drives from one computer, you only need one license anyway.
    If you’d like more details about how I did it, with all the steps, please click here.

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