Cloning Many Windows 8 Laptops

Clonezilla’s now playing a little catch-up with the latest laptops, which feature UEFI boot and Windows 8, which requires UEFI boot. Mainly, it’ll tell you that what you think will work, can work, if you know how to deal with UEFI.

This is a followup to Cloning Many Windows 7 Computers Quickly.

Can these Windows 8 computer hard disks be clones? The short answer is “yes”.

The reality is that it takes more work, and thus may not be suitable for larger networks that need to be restored from a disk image regularly.

Presently, the Clonezilla system doesn’t support a UEFI boot over the network. Linux handles UEFI, but the tech to deploy remote boot images over UEFI and start up Clonezilla isn’t there yet. The current UEFI boot examples boot from disk, and use GRUB2 to load Linux; Clonezilla boots from the network, and sends over SYSLINUX, a much smaller linux system. Forum posts indicate that Steven Shiau is working on it.

I don’t know what that means. Adding UEFI boot for SYSLINUX? Moving to GRUB2? This post indicates that UEFI for SYSLINUX is coming soon.

So, basically, we have to work around this problem for now.

Basically, what you do is get into the BIOS (press DEL or F2 during bootup) and then switch from UEFI boot to legacy boot. This will enable the PXE boot code. Do this for the master clone, and for all the other clones.

You can then proceed as normal to clone the disk. Image the whole disk, as it’s a GPT disk and contains a partition with the UEFI boot drivers.

Once a target computer has received the disk image, reboot it, and press F2 or DEL to get into the BIOS to turn UEFI back on.

While this is acceptable for one-shot or very rare cloning operations, it’ll be a bit of additional work if you need to clone frequently.