Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

We as a company order in 30 computers a month and this involves a gruelling process of turning them all on, downloading and installing updates, then install the same programs over and over again Is there a way to turn on a computer with Windows XP pro installed and then put in a CD and leave it to install all updates and programs etc

Looked into tools like nlite and sysprep but they involve re-installing the operating system

Also i would prefer the tool to be free or open source

share|improve this question

migrated from superuser.com Sep 4 '09 at 10:52

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

    
You might want to ask this on serverfault.com –  Chris W. Rea Sep 4 '09 at 0:21
add comment

6 Answers

I work for a very large University, we use a combination of use Norton Ghost, and a number of other tools to manage our SOE (Standard Operating Environment). We also use SysPrep before we image the machines before we make an image.

Make sure that you install all of the drivers for each of the different PC types on the image you are rolling out. To do this Audit all of the computers to see what hardware they have got and group them into similar hardware type (usually by motherboard chipset type). Make an image with Ghost of the biggest group, then install that image onto one of the PCs from the next group of PCs, and update the drivers. Do this until you have copied the image to each different hardware type and the final image will contain the drivers for every different hardware type. When some new computers (with new hardware) come in, we install our image onto that PC and update the drivers.

For the longer term it's best to convince procurement of the advantages of buying exactly the same type/brand/model of computer hardware for this to work smoothly.

It would be easiest for you to make a Ghost image on a bootable Dual Layer DVD (We use the BartPE environment, but there are many simple bootable CD/DVD solutions

With a bit of planning an a little bit of hard work you can make it very easy to manage a very large number of computers with a very small number of people (we have 3000+ PCs and Laptops, 400+ Blackberries, 500+ iPhones, 750+ Printers and there are 8 techs; we still have time for drinks on Friday afternoon!)

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for driver hint when using sysprep. But; Re: »make a Ghost image on a bootable Dual Layer DVD«: It's time to forget these kind of legacy media and use a modern computer network or a USB flash drive/hard disk drive, I'd say… –  Manuel Faux Sep 3 '09 at 21:38
    
We have heaps of USB drives, and USB keys (100's if not 1000's of them) but DVDs are by far the cheapest to duplicate! Our image is 9Gb so, 3000 x DL-DVDs = $270AUD, 3000 x 16Gb USBkeys = $60,000AUD, 3000 x 20Gb USB ext HDDs = $100,000AUD –  Matt 'Trouble' Esse Sep 3 '09 at 21:45
add comment

If you use sysprep with the reseal option then shut the PC down and image the disk to an external drive, you can then image it back onto any identical PC. It will then go through the bit asking you for the PC name admin password etc. but will already have your software installed.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Give FOG a look and see if this will work for you. It's completely free :D

share|improve this answer
add comment

I've used DriveImage XML and Norton Ghost to perform the actual drive imaging. You can use them with sysprep as @Col has explained.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Have a think about OS deployment using Microsoft SCCM, for example.

share|improve this answer
add comment

FOG, its a free and open source cloning tool we used at my school, can clone a machine in less than 20 minutes usually. you just need a linux box running ubuntu or fedora, and a HD big enough to store the images

http://fogproject.org/

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.