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PC (OS) imaging

By knowledgebased ·
I have been working as a Desktop Support Tech for a little over a year now and have learned a lot over that time. I will soon take on the responsibility of developing and maintaining Windows XP images for various models of laptop and desktop computers. I feel confident in my ability to do this but would like to do some research ahead of time so I don't make any avoidable mistakes.

Are there any comprehensive books on the subject? I breifly checked and was unable to find anything. I want to learn best practices, things to avoid and as much as I can. I consider myself an advanced tech so the more technical the manual the better. My highest priority is OS imaging and software packaging.

We will be using Dell's X-image software on Dell machines.

Aside from recommending books and other resources what advice do some of you have for me?

... best practice ...

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Bump. No text.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to PC (OS) imaging
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And again.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Bump. No text.

Surely there's more feedback on this subject.

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Some suggestions

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to PC (OS) imaging

1). If possible, get on the phone with someone from the vendor (Dell) to go over the software. They'll usually have the best/latest information in terms of using the system optimally; especially in diverse environments. Case in point, after a few calls to Symantec (whom I generally loathe, I should add), we have a newly deployed Altiris system humming along rather nicely. If you're an enterprise level customer, and can get someone on-site as a 'goodwill gesture', even better.

2). Keep the images updated on a periodic basis. Nothing like rolling out a year old image and spending more time updating it than you did imaging the PC. This must include anti-malware software updates. Putting a newly imaged machine onto the network (actually, this ties into the next point), only to have it infected within an hour doesn't do well for the IT team's rep (unfortunately, this did happen to me years ago...better to learn from someone else's mistake than make it yourself).

3). If you can setup an isolated network segment for the imaged PCs, all the better. Lock it down to the point where you can get to the updates & servers you need, but nothing else, if possible.

4). Make sure you incorporate the imaging solution into your DR scenarios/plans. If your employer needs to setup shop at an alternative location for any reason, that imaging solution may take on a significant role in getting users up and running quickly.

5). If feasible, creating images for specific departments can be a time saver.

6). Finally, I'd encourage you to make sure you have significant storage capacity; especially if your firm keeps "up-to-date" with OS releases. Before you know it, you could need 3 different baseline images for a single device (XP/Vista/Win7 image for Lenovo T400, for example).

Those are the product-independent suggestions I have off the top of my head.

Hope it helps, and best of luck!

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Good suggestions

by Michael Jay In reply to Some suggestions

I have in the past used sysprep

dells ximage looks like something similar.

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by knowledgebased In reply to Good suggestions

Thanks for those suggestions. Those look like good practices to follow.

The sysprep tool also provides general insight into best practice. I'm getting closer to what I was looking for.

I wonder if anyone writes a book or manual for this. Maybe like an "Imaging for Dummies" book or anything that has a thorough analysis.

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