Windows 10 Clone

Hi guys

Due to stupid Microsoft forcing updates even when disabled i need to reinstall my OS on 4 different computers.

Whats the best option for a software to clone windows 10 over to my other computers.

I have used one called carbon copy cloner but its a mac only cloner, I’m after something like this.

Free would be awesome and easy to use as I’m annoyed as hell and cant be bothered dealing with annoying software at the moment.

If anyone has some good option that would be great thanks

This got stuck in the queue.




It depends if you have a licensed key, or a digital key copy for your windows machines.

If they have digital keys (which are created by snapshot-ing your hardware info and binding it to a license key), then you can reinstall at any time with the stock image of windows that you can download and burn on a usb, from Microsoft’s website. No hassle.

If you have a traditional license key, then you will still need to download the same image from Microsoft but will then need to enter the key upon installation or post installation.

You cannot simply clone one system to another because it will cause an issue with key invalidation. You might have to call the Microsoft robots and re-validate your key.

So to be frank, there isn’t a way for you clone your system due to licensing. You will have to do the appropriate response to your situation as outlined above.

I haven’t tried this on windows 10 but this should work.

  1. Create a system restore image.

  2. Install windows 10. Don’t use the machine yet!

  3. Restore from the system restore image.

This helps you have some sanity if you need to install windows on 45 lab computers and all of them need ms office, MATLAB, visual studio, bla bla

Also if a hard disk fails, you simply replace it and put a new one and restore.

Licensing might be an issue like others have said. I’ve only tried it on windows with volume license. So this might be YMMV.

on one machine reinstall windows clean and activate. next install all wanted programs. now run sysprep on the machine . once sysprep finishes shut the machine down , start the machine with cloning software (acronis, clonezilla, etc), then clone drives .
clone the syspreped drive to the other drives. then reinstall the other drives to their respective computers or reinstall the clone source drive to the source computer (if you did that). if using clonezilla, you can clone over the network.

once cloned reboot into windows , you may need to create a user , which can be deleted later after the initial setup finishes (you will be asked to if it is needed).
you will need to re-enter keys and activate all $micro$oft software that requires it.

optionally you can create a drive image of the freshly installed & sysprepped os on a removable drive for future use.

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If this needs to be done, then it should be on an enterprise environment with SCCM.

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Also worth asking first, why are you disabling windows updates? (they are important)

No solution will work if you are going to repeat the same things again.


i am assuming something is being broken on their systems by one or more updates.
they could do as i do at work (for a different reason stated elsewhere) and set the ethernet connection as “metered” and use a tool like wumt to install (your selected) updates.

Acronis Disk Director or Acronis True Image.

+1 for CloneZilla.

But be aware of one “limitation” of CloneZilla. Unless you want to deal more advanced options within CloneZilla, I recommend that you resize the main Windows partition, to the smallest size possible, right before you clone the drive. By doing this, you will be able to put your cloned image onto devices with less capacity. Etc. from a larger capacity hard-drive, to a smaller capacity SSD.
It’s also important to note, that you need to make a clean shutdown of Windows before cloning, if you don’t, CloneZilla will tell you that Windows is “dirty” and abort the process. The easiest way for you to do this, is selecting reboot from within Windows 10. Remember, REBOOT/RESTART, Not shutdown.

It’s good practice to clean the system through something called “Sysprep”, but it’s not a must and it’s properly not within your scope at this point.

You also need to be aware of what version of Windows 10 you have (“Home” or Professional), so that you can match the Windows-licence key bound to your PC.
If put an image, cloned from a Windows 10 Pro machine, the machine you put the cloned image on, should also be a machine where Windows 10 Pro has been activated on.
There is two ways Windows can be activated:

Number 1, the most likely: The “key” is bound to your system board. Windows will read it and activate if it’s allowed. This also goes for PCs that’s has been upgraded for free to Windows 10.
Remember, the version of the Windows image cloned, have to mach the version of the “key” on the machine you put the cloned image onto.

Nummber 2: You have a manually insertable code. In this case, it does not matter what version of Windows was on the receiving machine, as long as your key is made for the version you want to activate, has unlimited activation and is allowed to be activated on whatever machine you wish.

You can perhaps build a windows deployment server using the deployment toolkit with eval versions of server.

build machine
use deployment server (Microsoft MDT) to take a clone of the hard drive
import that image into the deployment server
deploy image using MDT

I’ve used the free version of macrium reflect, might do enough for you and is fairly simple to use. Good luck!