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I'm looking for something that can drop an image of Windows onto an uninitialized Hard Drive. I have new units that haven't even had the partition table created on them, and I'm trying to come up with a one (or two) step process for getting a disk image onto them.

I've tried clonezilla, but that doesn't seem to like the lack of partition table, and as far as I can tell, Acronis doesn't work either.

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3 Answers

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What did you use to make the image (or have you not got that, yet?)

Also, the "full disk image" from Clonezilla doesn't really care about partitions. As I understand it, it does what is essentially a 'dd' on the source drive and makes a sparse file (I think?) on the storage drive. Then when restoring from that image, it 'dd's the blocks back.

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I've been playing with Clonezilla. I'll look for this option and try it. –  JoelHess Mar 16 '10 at 12:43
    
I'm not sure; I don't use Clonezilla, but I used partimage, and partimage has a selection screen that won't see the destination drive without a partition set up on it. Once I created the partition it saw it as a selection to restore to. It may be that while Clonezilla uses DD, it's looking for a partition to target instead of a device, but like I said this is speculation on my part. –  Bart Silverstrim Mar 16 '10 at 13:22
    
Bart: Sure, partimage stands for "partition image", afaik. You should give the live Clonezilla a shot. It's what we use for all of our imaging (in a small shop, it's easy). They also have the server for distributed imaging. –  Matt Simmons Mar 16 '10 at 14:04
    
Clonezilla does work. I was just using the wrong option to create the image. –  JoelHess Mar 16 '10 at 14:52
    
Ah, that's great :-) Congrats on getting that done! –  Matt Simmons Mar 16 '10 at 15:15
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Use windows OS tools - IMAGEX (starrts with 2008 or later) can take a file based image and is pretty fast aplpying it. It also works on partitions, so size is not an issue.

That, plus a Windows 2008 server running WDS and you can actually load a windows image from the network. Works VERY nice.

I suggest using 2008 R2 as server - has some nice features for post-image driver install IF the os deployed is R2 / win7... if not, it still is a decent WDS server.

So,

  • WDS for distribution
  • ImageX for taking an image.

That is all you need.

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I forgot to mention I don't have network. Everything needs to run from USB. –  JoelHess Mar 16 '10 at 12:42
    
Well, still - imagex, winpe boot from usb, then extract from usb.Nothing special ;) –  TomTom Mar 16 '10 at 12:51
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I don't know if that'll work with windows images but I guess it should

dd if=/path/to/iso/ of=/dev/sdX bs=4096

Other than that, I've heard that people are using Norton Ghost quite a lot for installing windows from images so you could give it a try. I've never used it though and cannot offer any advice.

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