General discussion


Best practices duplicating a machine

By NewITGuy ·
I am in the higher education industry and we have several computer labs all with the same exact PC configurations. (Windows XP with the same software and permissions) Every semester or two I want to reload all the computers in the labs with the original image as when I first loaded the machines, keeping the original software and user permissions. I want to be able to do a whole computer lab at once. Does anyone have any past success stories they would like to share with me? Reloading each machine with the same software takes entirely too long. Thanks in advance.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

by mrjay67 In reply to Best practices duplicatin ...

We use Norton/symantec Ghost. Ghost works very easy in our environment (also a school setting). We usually have one pc that acts as a server for the imaging on each campus. We use ghost cast server to push the images out. If you have good/fast switches and/or hubs then you could image in about 15 min depending on image size. I have some labs that image in about 15-20 miniutes and some that have taken about an hour due to some slower hubs or faulty cabling. We typicly do just a few rooms or labs at a time but have done an entire campus with good results. The bigest problem with doing an entire campus is you may have several clients fail and then you have to figure out which ones. I would stick to doing 1 lab at a time.


Jason Bradley, CNA

Collapse -

by mrjay67 In reply to

The curent version we are currently using is a little older: Symantec Ghost 7.5 CE. Im sure they are up to at least 8 or 9 by now but havent checked lately. It is basicly a suite of apps such as Ghost cast server, Ghost Boot Wizard(for making network boot disks), Ghost console, and some other things. It doesnt have to be a true "server", we use ours on XP Pro. Worgroup or Domain shouldnt really matter, we are in a novell setup and the computers are just in workgroups but Ghost shouldnt care. The only problems might be them actually seeing the domain sometimes, if thats the setup you have, when you reimage. But taking the PC out and putting it back into the domain after the image usually fixed that. You really shouldnt have to have any special configs for ghosting/imaging as long as all the PCs are built the same. You can store the images anywhere you want(as long as its not the PC you are going to image regularly). However, you will have better performance generally if the images are on the same PC as the "ghost server". We have stored them on our regular file servers and works fine but sometimes the speeds are slower. I havent tried on an external drive or optical media.


Collapse -

by mrjay67 In reply to

I hope im not doubling up here, as i posted a reply but i dont see it. Anyway...

We use Symantec Ghost 7.5 C.E.(Corporate Edition), it's a little older so they are probally up to at least 8 or 9 by now. Its actually a suite of apps that include Ghost Cast server, Boot Disk Wizard, Ghost console, and some others. You can store the images anywhere you like but I would recomend keeping them on the same pc that you run the Ghost Cast Server on. In my experiance at least it seems to perform better. I would at least keep them on a pc(or server) that is connected to the same main switch, but you dont have to. You may have better LAN speeds/servers and can store them in different locals. We use WinXP Pro to run the "Ghost Server" software. It doesnt have to be anything special like a dedicated server or anything like that. As far as domains/workgroups it should not matter as far as ghosting is concerned. We have a Netware network so our pcs are in workgroups. There are some advantages in being in a domain with using some of the other apps but not a requirement.



Collapse -

by NewITGuy In reply to Best practices duplicatin ...

Thanks for the reply. I do have a few questions. When you said Ghost cast server. Is there a server version of ghost? Which version do you use? Do you store the images on the server PC or on an attached media? Can the PC server be an XP Pro box? Must all PC's be in part of a workgroup or domain? Thanks in advance.

Collapse -

by 5jgibbs In reply to Best practices duplicatin ...

well.. ya you can use ghost to make an image file of the SYSTEM you want to moddle your others after.. then you can use the ghost server or windows has someting that you can do.. like boot from lan and load the image.. someting like that.. but i know in windows you can do it with server 2003.. but i am not sure how.. it just depends on how much your really willing to spend

Collapse -

by NewITGuy In reply to

Poster rated this answer.

Collapse -

by Nyxbox In reply to Best practices duplicatin ...

I have used Ghost before and i understand the workings of it. But, i kind of like the idea better of a network boot. Pretty much have all your computers boot from a dedicated server where the assigned image for the machines are kept, load the workstations up with enough memory so that everything can run in ram (such as 512mb) and you wont even need hard drives. ideal for an educational environment you can lock down the machine from the student messing it up, and they can try and put whatever thay want on it but as soon as they log off since the image is run in "read only" mode they cant write to it so the settings are the same everytime they log back on. and then when u have to add something to the image like a progam just redo the image and then assign it to all the machines. I personally like this idea instead of ghosting, but they each have different purposes.

Collapse -

by jsnetman In reply to Best practices duplicatin ...

In our school which contains a mixture of 275 PC's and laptops we have successfully used ghost and is reasonable priced for a licence @ ?3 a machine. We have susccesfully got our images down to 2 for all machines and laptops basically this is because of the different HAL configurations. An excellent website that informed me of the process of slip streaming drivers into the process using sysprep

Related Discussions

Related Forums