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My objective is to be able to create a master 'image' of an android tablet, and then duplicate that image across about 200 identical tablets to streamline the administration of a university's pool of loan tablets (e.g. to roll out updated/new apps, to 'clean' them when they are returned, etc.)

What would be the best way to do that?

(I've seen a number of posts around the subject, using nandroid backup, adb, zen toolkit, and so forth, but all rather old and nothing definitive)

  • Currently the tablets are Samsung Galaxy 10.1 (GT-P7510) running stock Android 4.0.4 - but it'd be nice to have a procedure that ought to work if these are replaced by some other tablets.

  • The tablets aren't currently rooted, but could be if that made things much easier. It'd have to be a real advantage, though, as that might compromise the warranties on future new stocks of tablets.

  • These tablets don't have external SD storage, but it'd be great to have a process that would re-initialise ALL aspects of a tablet, even if it did have external (or ancillary internal) SD storage.

  • I'd ideally like to create/document a procedure that someone in basic first-line tech support could follow.

  • If it could avoid having to buy 200 paid app licenses, then that'd be great too :)

I'd appreciate any pointers you folks could give on how best to do this: I would imagine with android tablets becoming much more popular over the past year, that there must be corporations, education establishments and the like doing this...

  • the only way, am afraid, its catch 22 though, root devices, take nandroid backup from master, copy that across to others, and restore it, yes, requires custom recovery, the cheat way, factory reset every single one of them... then they would all be identical? – t0mm13b Mar 9 '14 at 17:15
  • Thanks t0mm13b - I'll do some reading on nandroid backup/restore (unless you have a specific good current writeup to reccomend?). Unfortunately a simple factory reset would be inadequate, as part of the objective is to roll out suites of software, content and so on - that wouldn't be present in a factory reset. – Charlie King Mar 10 '14 at 10:59
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That is exactly what happens with the nandroid backup. You root, then do all installation of applications pre-stage, then remove the bloatware, remove all email accounts, then take nandroid backup. This becomes your gold ROM so to speak. It is stored in another partition of the master tablet. You need to move it to a removable SD or USB.

All rest of the 199 tablets will be rooted with TWRP/ClockworkMod, and then nandroid restored from the master image on the USB.

It is fugly, but until Acronis or Symantec come out with a tool, I am not sure how else do it. Clearly hardware companies have something that clones the disk.

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