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Tools for deploying Desktops - Windows PE vs Ghost vs ...?

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Tools for deploying Desktops - Windows PE vs Ghost vs ...?

melias
I work at a mid-size county government. Less than 1,000 systems connected to our WAN. I would like to know what tools different organizations are considering using for future deployments, and why. In the past we have used Ghost, both for ease of use, and the ability to multi-cast. Now Windows PE is free, but it is not quite as easy to use, nor can it multi-cast, but WDS for Longhorn supposedly can, and SMS will be integrated into WDS in the future. (according to Microsoft) Any thoughts?
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dan.cox

We use all of them.
Our organization is deploying to just over 30000 desktops and laptops.
We use ghost to image the machines. WDS is used for lite touch deployment and PE is used with that to actually launch ghost.
So, using PXE on WDS we load PE. In PE, we launch ghost which images the machine from a local server. once ghost puts the image on the machine it reboots the machine. Sysprep is used to prep the machine and launch our post imaging scripts which customize windows and install additional software based on site criteria. It is a pretty slick setup and works great.
The whole process is really just one touch.
Get someone to hit F12 to boot to the NIC. From there it is fully automated.

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CharlieSpencer

dan's shop is a magnitude larger than yours, melias. Mine's a factor smaller.

I have 250 systems. I boot them with a Bart-PE CD. Bart is a variant of Win PE, available on the web for free if your license agreement doesn't include Win PE. I install WXP Pro from the network using a .SIF answer file I think I built with a downloaded XP Resource Kit.

Once XP is on and I've added the drivers, I install the applications, download patches, defrag, etc. I log on as a non-Admin user, configure the desktop, proxy settings, etc. and copy that profile to the Default User profile (search the MS web site for instructions).

I then run Sysprep, configured with our license key, then boot from the Bart-PE CD again. The CD has Ghost on it and I put the image to an older server dedicated to Ghost storage. I prefer to have a separate image for each hardware model; I've never gotten around to researching how to have a single image and have Sysprep pull the drivers after booting.