I work at the help desk for students, faculty and staff at a large university. As part of our daily operations we see ourselves installing every version of windows (xp, vista, 7; both 32 and 64 bit of each) and we are trying to find a way to reduce the need to continually burn CD/DVD's, and automate the workflow of the process. Ideally we would be able to plug a laptop into our 24 port switch have it boot from the network ( I have two old IBM servers that can be completely dedicated to this) and then be given the option to select what operating system to install on the clients machine. Additionally, if at all possible we would be able to boot some diagnostic .iso's over the network as well ie, memtest, sea tools, live run ubuntu.
I've done quite a bit of reading on this and keep running into a couple of problems with the potential solutions out there. 1. The computers that come in for imaging are every make and model from every manufacturer you've ever heard of, meaning identifying all applicable drivers is going to be close to impossible. 2. The computers that come in arent part of our active directory and shouldn't be upon being imaged 3.The software that should be installed along side the os is likely going to very from install to install, is there a way to choose what additional programs get installed on a case by case basis?
I've looked into tftpd32 and microsoft deployment tools, but neither seam to be a proper solution to our problem because the first doesnt seam to be robust enough and the second seams to be geared more towards enterprise installations of a captured images to near identical machines. Is there anyone out there that has a similar use case and if so what did you use, or anyone that has any idea of what may work any input would be incredibly helpful.