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New & moved PC deployments

By Tech_Lady ·
Our organization has purchased several new Dell PCs with XP Pro preinstalled (each with its own license). I need to deploy these to users and add additional software they currently have installed. Also, their old systems will be moved to other users who use different software. What is the best way to complete these deployments without having to manually wipe and install everything many times? Sysprep and cloning? I was concerned about license keys. We are a non-profit so cost is important. Our network is a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory environment. Thanks for any help and ideas.

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by Sawan Gupta In reply to New & moved PC deployment ...

1. Add the new systems to the existing domain. 2. Configure the RIS (Remote Installation Server).
3. Whenever the user will login on to the new systems, he/she will get a prompt to install the softwares which he/she is allowed to use (and which are currently not available on that system).

Sawan Gupta

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How many machines, and how often do you upgrade?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to New & moved PC deployment ...

Sawan's correct, the easiest way in the long run is a Remote Installation Server. However, depending on how many machines and how often you do upgrades, it may be faster to go with Sysprep'ed clones. If you don't know how to use RIS or don't have a server set up, you may lose more time learning that utility than using the imaging tools you're already comfortable with.

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RIS or Cloned images?

by Tech_Lady In reply to How many machines, and ho ...

I've never done either one, but I'm anxious to learn and cut my time spent! I briefly looked at RIS, and if what I read is correct, it requires quite a bit of disk space which is low on our server right now, and I don't think it's set up either. Right now I have 5 new PCs and will be moving the 5 PCs they replace & possibly moving a couple more. We plan to order another batch of 5 & do the same thing shortly. I was looking at using open source Clonezilla together with Sysprep to prepare my image. Any experience with this? Since we're non-profit and haven't paid for imaging software I was looking at open source. Thanks for all the help.

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Limited numbers

by CharlieSpencer In reply to RIS or Cloned images?

If you're only dealing with ten new systems and ten or twelve used ones, then installing, configuring, and learning RIS is a waste of your time.

I've no experience with Clonezilla, although someone else here may sound off. MS provides a lot of info about using Sysprep, but basically:

*Follow your imaging tool's instructions for making a boot disk
*Configure a PC with all the software you want on it.
*Copy the Sysprep installation files to the system
*Insert the bootable CD and then run Sysprep
*Reboot the system from the boot disk and make an image.
*Reboot the system from the hard drive and allow Sysprep to do it's thing.
*Boot the subsequent systems with imaging boot CD, install the image, reboot from the hard drive and wait while Sysprep runs.

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Imaging would be easier

by Forum Surfer In reply to RIS or Cloned images?

In the short term, Palmetto is correct. With imaging, it will be far easier and you will get results faster.

I would also look into Windows Deployment Service. RIS acts as more of an automated installer, whereas WDS is an imaging service. We use it and love it. It is a bit tricky to setup properly. Luckily for you, if you haven't done's all tricky so that kind of evens the playing field.


Sounds like you should try experimenting with the open source products that you mentioned since you have limited server resources. You never know till you try. Good luck!

WDS does have some long term benefits. I can use it to deploy server 08, 03, Xp and Vista. If you're a larger shop this is very beneficial. Although now that we've moved to more virtual servers, the automation is handled differently. But for those actual new hardware based Microsoft servers, it is very handy.

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FS, Thanks!

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Imaging would be easier

I'd never heard of WDS. RIS is overkill for my site, but I'll look into WDS. Maybe it's what I need. I assume it will do W7?

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Lots of info to look into

by Tech_Lady In reply to Imaging would be easier

Wow! Thanks for all the information and help. I'll look into WDS for future, but for now I think I'll try the OpenSource Cloning & Sysprep route. I'll let everyone know how it goes. I currently oversee about 50 workstations and 7 servers at 7 locations, but one main Dell PowerEdge 2800 server here. This will be a good experience for me and (hopefully)a timesaver.

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For Imaging

by DMambo In reply to New & moved PC deployment ...

I use UBCD4Win (free!). It has DriveImageXml. I had no experience in this when I looked into it, but now it takes me about an hour to get a fully configured machine out to a user.

When I need a new image, I get the PC all set up, sysprep it, and then boot to the UBCD and create an image stored on a NTFS USB notebook drive. It's pretty easy. In order to create the boot CD, you do need a CD copy of XP.

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by CharlieSpencer In reply to For Imaging

I use Bart-PE and Ghost32 myself, but aren't both of these combinations a bit of overkill if all you're doing is imaging? Wouldn't using the imaging utilities "Make Boot CD" tool be easier than configuring UBCD or Bart? The BIOS should recognize the USB drive.

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On hold

by Tech_Lady In reply to New & moved PC deployment ...

I'm working on getting the systems I ordered and received replaced at no charge. I accidentally ordered 'desktops' instead of 'mini-towers' and we prefer the latter. Same cost, so we're sending them back. I'll report how it goes AFTER I get the new systems and can do the first system setup, sysprep & cloning. So, for now the project is on hold, but it should not be more than a few days. Thanks again for all the ideas and input to a newbie in the imaging world.:)

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