I'm not sure how Windows licensing works with images, since I would expect that the serial number would be part of the image.
Prior to imaging the system partition, you will need to generalize the system using SysPrep:
- Run SysPrep
- System Cleanup Action: Enter System OOBE
- Tick box for Generalize
- Shutdown Options: Shutdown
- You must boot into WinPE/RE at this point
- If Windows begins to boot, SysPrep must be redone once OOBE finishes
%SystemRoot%\System32\SysPrep\SysPrep.exe /generalize /shutdown /oobe
As to licensing, per the Windows EULA, users are allowed to image their partitions an unlimited amount of times.
- SysPrep removes device specific drivers and all identifying info (Machine ID, Activation, etc.)
Windows, for at least as far back as Windows 7, if not Vista, comes with it's own imaging tools in all WinPE/WinRE WIM images.
- WinPE: Windows Preinstallation Environment
- Such as a Windows Setup boot media
- Press [
SHIFT] + [
F10] to access terminal
- WinRE: Windows Recovery Environment
- Only difference between a WinPE/RE image is WinRE contains a few extra WinPE Optional Components, of which are vital to recovery
- Using the native imaging tools included in Windows frees one from the non-standard image formats used, more often times than not, by 3rd parties, of which are coupled with the Linux OS 3rd party tools relied upon in order to run their imaging utilities.
For Windows >8, DISM would be utilized to capture an image of a drive:
In Windows <7, ImageX would be utilized in lieu of DISM.
It's impossible for an ESD/WIM image to become corrupted
- Provided imaging commands are always issued with:
- Windows >8:
- Windows <7:
ESDs can only be taken of a system partition
/Compress:Recovery is the only compression algorithm available.
- ESD compression ratio is ~33% more efficient than the WIM compression ratio.
ESDs/WIMs are smart compression image formats
- Only changed files are added to an image when a new image is appended to it
- Newly appended images utilize the same copy of unchanged files already contained within the image from the previous image(s).
- This allows for an image to remain small in relation to the data contained within.