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Configuring PC installs

By stugra65 ·
I would like to throw this one to the forum and see what king of response it gets.
I want to configure pcs with XP pro.
The system data goes on one partition, all programs on another, user data on another.
I have been told that it is possible to boot directly into a ghost image, which sounds plausible, installed as a separate OS, again on a separate partion.

As i see it the benefit of having this image is as a quick way of getting back up should the normal system get corrupted or infected, or whatever. Providing the image is up to date, will it work?
Will all the links to the programs be there, will it see the other partitions etc?
Would there be a way of simply booting up and re-installing the system parition from the image.
No more timewasting trying to troubleshoot OS installations, just go so far then re-install form a ghost file.
Or is there a better way to achieve what i am driving at?

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by csmith In reply to Configuring PC installs

The scheme you propose is not new, and is why many technicians copy the OS CD to the hard disk, to save time.
What you propose will work, however there are two weak points.
First the ghost must be kept up to date, and the ghost must not become corrupt/infected as well.
This is where the traditional backup scheme has its' advantage with the grandfather, father, son, rotation scheme.
Usually the problem is discovered before the third tape/CDROM is corrupt.

Only a quick mention: off-site storage required?

The second weak point is the partition table and the MBR.
What do you do, when the partition table is trashed?
Of course, it gets even more expensive when the hard disk fails. (Notice, I said when, not if. I assume you are in a corporate environment, so this will be a regular problem.)

Plus, I have not included the problems caused by technically illiterate users trashing files on hard disks.

So, in closing, I do not recommend backing a PC up on it's own hard disk. (Which is what this plan essentially is.)
Regards, Chris

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by HereInOz In reply to Configuring PC installs

We run several machines with software that needs to be installed by the software company's support people, so they need to be called out at great expense should a re-install be necessary on a machine.

What we do to protect against system corruption - the usual cause of failure - or HDD failure, is to have two identical HDDs in the machines and keep a ghost image of the system on the second drive. This image is updated monthly, or whenever significant changes are made to the machine, or just before major updates (service packs etc). We make as sure as we can that the system is working properly before overwriting any image - no sense in ghosting a corrupt system!

That way, if the system goes down, or even if the HDD fails, we swap the IDE cable around, change the jumpers on the HDD if necessary, and boot up the ghost image. Then restore from backup as required and away you go.

We had a machine suffer an unexplained system failure last Monday and rather than trying to fix it, we simply brought up the most recent image, restored from backup and had the person working again in an hour.

Not perfect but pretty good. I agree with the previous answer, an OS image on the same drive is not as good, as it won't protect you from HDD failure. With the cost of HDDs now, the dual drive scenario has a lot going for it, and if you need to protect it from the prying hands of other users, you can disconnect it until needed.

Alan

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by ddtservices1 In reply to Configuring PC installs

Go to www.xpoint-tech.com
IBM has an alliance with Xpoint and IBM currently uses Xpoint on IBM desktops. Speaking from personal experience it is absolutely wonderful.
Makes it possible for end users to restore their own pc's with little or no assistance in an environment where downtime it a critical factor.
To find out if it will fit your needs you would
need to check out their website.
Good Luck!

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by wlbowers In reply to Configuring PC installs

Multiple partitions sound great until you fill one up or have problems. I don't partition anything anymore.

I had one client that was so proud of himself. He called and told me his machine had crashed. When I got over to service it I asked where his backup was. He poked out his chest and said on the d: drive. I knew what he had done as I was holding the only (crashed) drive in my hand. He threw a tantrum when I finally explained what the problem was.

I have several clients that I have structured a instant recovery of sorts.

If all of the machines are hardware the same this works great.

Do an OS build. All patches software, settings ect. Once this has been done. Use Partition software to reduce the partition to a minimum.

If the resulting partition will fit on a DVD great. If it won't then just copy the partition or ghost image to the server or a hard drive.

Using this as a base you can create a data backup that can be copied to the restored and resized partition.

Good Luck Lee

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