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DOWNLOA 10 things you should know about deploying desktops from images

By Bill Detwiler Editor ·
Properly configured and maintained system images can dramatically reduce desktop deployment and support times. Images also standardize systems, reducing surprises during support calls. Furthermore, third-party disk imaging products, such as Symantec Ghost or Altiris Client Management Suite, have significantly simplified the image creation and maintenance process. The following 10+ tips will help you create a reliable Windows system image and successfully deploy that image across your organization.

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Imaging isn't all its cracked up to be

by vdavenport In reply to DOWNLOAD: 10 things you s ...

Disk imaging may be great if you are big enough to standardize hardware. Most small companies don't have that kind of infrastructure. In addition, Microsoft recently failed to recover or repair an installation that came from an Image. According to the Microsoft tech, it is not uncommon for the Microsoft install CD to fail to find an OS installation to repair or reinstall on a disk built from Ghost or other imaging programs. Symantec even gave up saying it was Microsoft's problem.
I learned my lesson and won't blindly trust either manufacturer again. Even with the disk image and backups it took me 3 days to rebuild
the workstaion and its databases.

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by apotheon In reply to Imaging isn't all its cra ...

Network booting and thin clients are the way to go in a homogenous network clients environment. Disk imaging is on its way out the door for such circumstances: it's more useful for producing systems to sell, or otherwise to be deployed in an environment where you don't have direct oversight.

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Some more imaging tips

by michael In reply to DOWNLOAD: 10 things you s ...


I use Ghost imaging extensively. I am the systems admin in a small college, and the computers in each lab are always identical to each other (but not from 1 lab to another). So I make an image for each lab and then ghost it to the other computers in the room. Making the image is a long, drawn out process. I have about 4 pages of notes that I refer to when making or updating an image, the notes remind me of certain settings that must be placed in the image based on either the room, the OS, or the softwware packages installed.

I use mandatory roaming profiles, so if a user setting or a software package setting needs to be adjusted later I can usually just update the user profile on the server without having to re-image.

Some tips:
-use the Disk Cleanup Tool before imaging, and remove all but the last System Restore restore point. Then turn off System Restore. This saves hundreds of megabytes of disk space, which means a smaller image. I leave System Restore off, since the users (students) don't install anything.
-if I installed a service pack (like Win2K SP4) then remove the hidden uninstall dir.
-many apps install sample files, sometimes there's 100 meg of these files. If users don't need them, then delete them.
-get rid of pagefile.sys right before imaging. Once you are ready to image, boot into Recovery Console. Goto the drive that contains the pagefile. You will not be able to see it in a DIR list. So copy a file like boot.ini to pagefile.sys, then delete pagefile.sys (got this idea from MS KB#255205). However, in order to do this you probably need to change a setting in Group Policy - under Computer Config:Windows Settings:Security Settings:Local Policies:Security Options enable "Recovery Console: allows floppy copy and access to all drives and all folders"
-by the way, I have never used Sysprep. I just remove the machine from the domain before creating the image. After applying the image I used Ghost's GhostWalker program to change the SID. Then I have it re-join the domain. Since I always install this on identical hardware, this works fine.


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You'd love SYSPREP

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Some more imaging tips

It will remove pagefile.sys, clear out the restore points, clean up the drive, and clear the SID. You're doing it all the hard way. SYSPREP will do it in under a minute. Just be sure you have a boot disk in before rebooting.

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OK, you convinced me...

by michael In reply to You'd love SYSPREP


I knew that Sysprep dealt with the SID issue, but I didn't know that it also took care of the other issues like restore points and pagefile. I'll give it a try next time...


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by baketown83 In reply to You'd love SYSPREP

First let me apologize, I am new to the IT world. I have been working IT for 2 1/2 and want to continue until retirement. (22yrs old now) I create an image file of my harddrive about once every two weeks. This way I have an updated image if I get a virus or the systems becomes corrupt. In my, 6 months of using images I have not ran across a SIDs issue. I read a little bit on it but really did not understand it. I was wondering if you could explain to me what SID is or reccommend some reading for me.

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by michael In reply to SID?

The Security Identifier (SID) is a number unique to each installation of Windows NT/2000/XP. You will find it in the registry. When a computer running one of the above-mentioned operating systems connects to a server, the server really recognizes it by its SID and not by the computer name. In addition, users on a local system have a unique indentifier which is preceeded by the SID. Servers also use SIDs to uniquely identify themselves.

So if you clone a computer using Ghost or whatever, and then apply that image to another computer on the same network without changing the SID, then there will be more than 1 computer with the same SID and it will confuse any server that these computers attach to. You can change the SID using Symantec's GhostWalker program (must remove the computer from a domain before imaging), or, as I learned in this thread, using Sysprep.

It sounds to me like you are using Ghost just to backup your machine and you do not appy the image on another machine. If that is the case, then you do not need to worry about the SID.

Hope this helps. If you need more info then search for SID in Microsoft's knowledge base.


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by baketown83 In reply to

Thankyou for the clarification. You are right I use the image for the same machine. Thanks for the information because I am building a small network at home and I wanted to make sure I understood what SID was. But I wont be creating a standard image for the machines on that netowork so I wont have any issues with SIDs. Thank again.


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Alternative to Ghostwalker

by puterfx In reply to SID?

Not everyone has Ghostwalker or Powerquest or the like. I have used a freeware program called NewSID from Sysinternals
that may be of use to you.

There's also a lot of other freeware programs and tools on the site that you can choose from and some good information whether a newbie or seasoned tech.

Hope this helps.

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by iMpulse In reply to Alternative to Ghostwalke ...

Bump, newsid works great. Quick and flawless.

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