Microsoft Tech Community Live: Surface Edition
February 15, 2022, 08:00 AM - 12:00 PM (PST)

Clone Surface Hub SSDs?

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Hi all,

 

I have to install a large number of Surface Hubs in the next months. The supplier tells me he is unable to guarantee that the version of Windows 10 Team will be up to date and is likely to be 1-2 versions behind.

Last time this happened it took several hours to download and update the Surface Hub's OS, and I'd like to avoid that.

My tech team has purchased a disk duplication station and is proposing to "clone" an up to date SDD to the other SSDS, but I am nervous that the BitLocker encryption will not allow this.

Can anyone comment on cloning BitLocker disks or is there a better way of quickly updating to the newest OS?

Richard

7 Replies
Hi Richard

My understanding is, due to Secure Boot and BitLocker, this won't be possible.

Also, given that the Surface Hubs will likely be shipped with 1511, anything that would leave it in an unbootable state would require an SSD replacement with Microsoft as Cloud Recovery is only available following the 1703 update.

Personally, I'd play it safe and update them all manually. It'll likely be less pain in the long run.

Dan

Hi Dan,

 

Your answer reflects my feelings - I think BitLocker will block this method.

 

Do you know of any faster method of going from 1511 to the newest release? Some method with the newest release on a USB stick and a side load or similar? My expereinces so far are that relying on Windows Update can take a day or more per hub.

Hi Richard

Sadly no, there's only 2 methods: WU via the internet, or WSUS.

However, I think WSUS support for feature updates was only introduced from 1607, so regardless you're going to have to do the first feature update to get off of 1511 over the internet.

Also, the W10 Team images are not publicly available and, even if you managed to get an image, you wouldn't be able to side-load.

Internet speed will definitely be a factor. One of our 10Mb sites took almost 7 hours to update from 1511. Our 10Gb sites take 60-90 minutes. Alot of the time is spent preparing the update. MS have made huge improvements behind the scenes for feature updates, and they're ALOT faster these days, but if you start on 1511, it's going to take a while.

I think your best bet is to prepare as best as possible for the updates. When I had 20+ to do, I booked a large room for them all, left them in the boxes, unwrapped them, plugged them all in to multiple power adapters and switches, and did them all in one go overnight. Took a bit of organising, but was easier than doing them one at a time, or waiting for them to be installed then updating/configuring.

D

Hi Daniel,

 

Thanks for your answer, which confirms my fears. Unfortunately your method won't work for me as the Surface Hubs will be drop-shipped from Germany to many sites around Europe. Sounds like an extra night or two in hotels!

 

My thinking is that BitLocker is expressly designed to prevent what my guys are planning, i.e. cloning a disk and having it accessable on another PC. I believe the BitLocker key involves the onboard TPM chip and any clone will not work, even if the BitLocker key is input.

Do you know enough about BitLocker to confirm my theory?

 

Richard

Hi Richard

Ah what a shame (though likely a good choice if they're all over the country!).

You are spot on in regards to BitLocker. The drives are encrypted and locked, with the unlock key residing on the TPM chip inside the computer. The whole point is to prevent access to the data if the drive is removed from the computer.

Even if this was successful, the computer/Surface Hub will still request the unlock key every time it boots as it will be different to the one stored in the TPM chip. The only way to stop the computer asking for the BitLocker key every time you reboot is to unlock the drive, remove BitLocker encryption, then re-lock. None of this is possible on Surface Hub.

Not only that, I'm fairly sure Secure Boot will throw a head-fit and just stop the boot process the moment it realises the SSD in the Surface Hub does not match the SSD it's expecting due to the drive being cloned.

Long story short, you're probably going to be spending many nights in hotels. I'd advise spending a good few nights on TripAdvisor finding some nice spots to eat and do some sight-seeing! :)

Dan

Hi Richard,

 

Can you open a Surface Hub support case and ask for me specifically?  I'd like to discuss this with you. :)

 

 

I'd like to hear the outcome of that conversation.  I have suggested in the past that a downloadable package for the latest up-to-date version would be of great benefit to the installers.  Right now I think we're up to 4-6 hours of install time delay depending on site bandwidth.