Questions

The best way to create and store PC images which I can boot to

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Locked

The best way to create and store PC images which I can boot to

niallf
What's the best way to backup and store images which colleagues can use to restore there machine when something does wrong with the OS or harddrive?

I've had to reinstall Windows a couple of times this year on my own machine. My machine and colleagues machines have very similar program files installed. What's the best way to get machine back up with the complete configuration when the hard disk or OS goes bad?
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w2ktechman

it makes an exact copy of the entire drive, including the copy of ghost itself.

I keep the image file on a second HDD in my system, and also burn it to dvd

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statykserver

I agree with using Ghost as w2ktechman mentioned. It is really easy to use and the last time I used it it ran from a floppy.

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niallf

Today my PC wouldn't even boot in safemode, what could I do in this case.
Would the ghost's image work on all users machines or would there be something else required.

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statykserver

Well Ghost will only be helpful to you if you make an image of the system while it is at the "perfect" state that you want it in. Otherwise ghosting a drive that is filled with problems will result in an exact duplicate of the problem system. Think mirror image. If your are ghosting several systems and the systems are identical it will work flawlessly and you will only be required to change the product key.
See: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-1035_11-5034890.html
If you have different systems that are for example from Dell, Compaq, HP, and clones then it would be best to create an image for each. Taking the time to do it now will definitely relieve further headaches in the future.

But since you can't boot even into safe mode at the moment you could do a fresh install or try this alternative method. (second link has screenshots)
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm#How%20to%20Repair%20Windows%20XP%20by%20Installing%20Over%20top%20of%20Existing%20Setup:

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CharlieSpencer

"If your are ghosting several systems and the systems are identical it will work flawlessly and you will only be required to change the product key."

If the systems are on a domain you'll also have to change the system names. If you aren't using DHCP, you'll also have to change the IP address on each.

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statykserver

True but anyone on a domain that will be imaging hard drives that are attached to the domain should already know that all devices connected to the domain require different computer names and ip addresses if they are not using DHCP (if not then they probably shouldn't be ghosting drives in the first place and will soon find out when ip address conflicts start popping up on all the screens). But since he didn't specify that he was on a domain I assumed they were individual computers with similar software.

"I've had to reinstall Windows a couple of times this year on my own machine. My machine and colleagues machines have very similar program files installed."

But thanks for watching out.

Cheers

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niallf

Yes the machines in question are on a domain.
So, if I make an image then that image will hold the name and IP address of the machine from which the copy was created.. how can I change this?

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statykserver

You will simply have to rename each pc accordingly and also set the ip address for each system.

Here are two MS articles that explain how to perform these actions.

changing computer name
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/295017

changing ip address
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/expert/russel_02june17.mspx

Also I saw a post from HAL9000 about a program called the magic jelly bean which will show your current product license key and then you can also change it with the same program. (good if you are ghosting/changing a lot of systems)
http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder.shtml

Hope this helps and my bad for not asking about the systems not being on the domain or not, I just "assumed" they weren't.

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CharlieSpencer

MS has a free tool called sysprep. You run it as the last thing you do before you cut the ghost image. It resets the system name, domain, and license key. Run it, reboot directly to your imaging tool boot disk, and cut the image. When you reboot after the imaging or after installing the image on another machine, you'll be prompted for the relevent data.

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shardeth-15902278

The easiest for a small number of users is Ghost

For a slightly more sophisitcated (business class) variant, take a look at Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop Edition (also a Symantec Product). It has added features for automation of recovery point creation, and the ability to recover to non-identical hardware.

The cheapest (Free) - Is DriveimageXML
http://www.runtime.org/dixml.htm

Tt works well, and is significantly lighter, but it doesn't automate the process, and requires at least a touch of geekiness to do the bare-metal recovery.

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juan18_c

Use "Clean slate" very nice program, I have it running in at least 50 machines with very good results. It will create an image of your system at boot time and when you or any user "logs off" the machine restores the image and creates a new one. You can even thawd folders or partitions for your users to save to. or if you have Net /maped drives even better! keep us up to date