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May 8, 2007

Imaging dual boot Intel Macs

So, you have prepared a perfect Mac build and on the same machine, but different a partition, you have a perfect Windows XP build.  Your goal now is to clone this setup to bunch more identical hardware.  First you need to get the images from both Mac and Windows.

  1. Take an image of the Mac side.
    • Connect an external hard drive to the Mac
    • Boot the Mac with the MacOS X install DVD (hold down the C key during boot up time while the DVD is in the drive).
    • Start Disk Utility from the Tools menu
    • Select the Mac OS hard drive from the left hand menu bar
    • Choose to create an image
    • Store the image on the external hard drive.
    • Note:   Do not deny access to the root as per OIT security document on the initial Mac image.  This will make the image not functional
  2. Take an image of the Windows side
    • Run Sysprep (get sysprep.exe and pclsetup files from Windows XP OS CD  save them on the hard drive and run the sysprep as Admin user ). We noticed that running sysprep with just a Reseal command would not let us get back into Windows upon the initial boot.  We received an error saying that the Windows installation is not complete.  Before running Sysprep we ended up removing Windows Media Player shortcuts in Add / Remove programs Windows components as Windows Media Player updates were listed as a possible cause for the error.  We also ran sysprep Reseal with the mini-setup option.
    • Boot the computer into MacOS
    • Connect the external harddrive
    • Install NTFSProg software, so that the Mac OS can see the Windows Partition
    • Run NetRestore Helper
    • Store the image on the external harddrive


Once you have the images you need to put these on the new machine.  

  1. Partition the hard drive on a Mac into two partitions
    • Install Bootcamp
    • Run Bootcamp and choose to partition the harddrive
    • Insert the Windows XP CD and choose to Start the Windows Installation.  Bootcamp should recognize the Windows CD in the drive, reboot the machine and launch Windows XP installation from the CD.  We experienced that sometimes Bootcamp would not recognize the Windows CD in the drive.  In this case we manually restarted the computer and held dows an option key to boot using the Windows XP CD.  This effectively started Windows XP installation CD.
    • When presented with the partitions of the hard drive as part of Windows XP installation, choose the correct partition for Windows (in our case it was always the last partition on the list) and format the partition using NTFS.
    • Once the Windows XP installation has finished formatting the drive and starts to copy over installation files, turn off the power to the computer by holding down the power button.  At this point we have a Windows partition formatted as NTFS ready for our image.
  2. Copy over Windows image
    • Boot into Mac OS.
    • Start NetRestore software
    • Choose the image source file from the external hard drive and destination as the Windows partition
    • Set the computer to restart when done and  target as bootable partition
    • Windows image will be applied to the Windows partition and when the process finishes, the computer will reboot into Windows.  The first thing what will happen then is that Windows will do a drive consistency check.  It will then reboot and present you with the mini-setup screens where you need to enter computer name and other necessary information.  Once it is finished with mini-setup you are ready to log into Windows
    • Apply after install config changes.  We noticed that the Tweak UI setup for automatic login did not work after imaging, so we ended up re-keying the username and password for automatic login in Tweak UI.  Also, we needed to re-instate shortcuts for Windows Media Player.  We also noticed that it was necessary to launch Office 2007 once to eliminate the initial questions from Office setup.
  3. Copy over the Mac image
    • Connect an external hard drive to the Mac
    • Boot the Mac with the MacOS X install DVD (hold down the C key during boot up time while the DVD is in the drive).
    • Start Disk Utility from the Tools menu
    • Select the Mac OS hard drive from the left hand menu bar
    • Choose Restore pane from the right hand side
    • Browse to your image file on the external hard drive
    • Drag the MacOS into the target box on the right hand side of the screen
    • Choose to Erase the target and to Skip the checksum
    • Once the copying finishes, quite the disk utility and boot into Mac
    • Change the computer name in the System Preferences sharing to reflect the actual computer name.
Note:  You can also apply the Mac image to a computer before the Windows image.