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I need to image a set of Mac machines with the same image of Mac OS plus some pre-installed and configured software.

I created a base installation on a USB disk and imaged it as a NetRestore image using the System Image Utility and I now have a .nbi folder containing my base image on a USB disk which I have attached to the Mac that I would like to restore the image to.

I was advised by Apple to use this as a startup disk using the Startup Disk utility so it could boot from it and restore the image from there but the image does not show up as a startup disk.

I have also tried restoring the NetInstall.dmg file located inside the .nbi folder using Disk Utility but get an error message "Restore Failure. Could not find any scan information. The source image needs to be imagescanned before it can be restored."

I am now unfortunately at a dead end.

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What you´re trying to achieve there, might be a bit over the top! If you just want to regularly re-image computers from a USB drive (if you can, better use a small FireWire drive, that has a way faster I/O), I´d suggest partitioning it into two separate partitions. On a smaller one, restore an original Mac OS install DVD (using disk utility´s restore function) and then create a simple .dmg of you pre-imaged, pre-setup "Master"-computer. Once that is done, select the image on the left hand side in Disk Utility, and from the Menu "Images" select "Scan Image for Restore". This will create a checksum, so that after restoring this .dmg to another drive, Disk Utility can verify that it has succeeded. Put that .dmg on the second partition.

If you´re going to re-image a Mac you´ll now plug in your USB (or FireWire) Drive, start the mac with alt held down and choose the Mac OS installer. Once it has booted, select the Disk Utility from the Utilities Menu, and tell it to restore your .dmg (the one on the separate partition) to the Mac´s internal hard drive.

Or, if you want to continue on your route, you will best create a Mac OS X server on your network to host the .nbi file as a restore image - this will drastically improve installation speed, given that all computers you want to re-image are connected with your server through a fast enough network connection.

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Thank you for your answer. You are absolutely right that I was a bit confused and getting mixed up. I ended up doing a USB image and scanning for restore as you suggested and restoring with disk utility. I will get NetRestore working at some point but I am up and running with the task now. Thanks again! –  Dave Verwer Feb 11 '11 at 11:34

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