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I need a fairly cheap imaging solution for Windows XP corporate desktops. Ideally, I'd be able to set up a desktop exactly as we want it, create an image, deploy this image to a server, then boot a new desktop to a CD/USB Drive/Network and quickly set up the workstation. Ideally, each computer would also have a unique workstation name. Any ideas? Right now I'm using a custom built Linux DD solution, but it's slow, not network-based, can't image multiple computers at the same time as there's only one copy on a USB drive, and can't uniquely name the computers.

Thanks, Will

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11 Answers

Use Clonezilla, but then also use DHCP server and Active Directory to handle workstation names using their MAC Addresses. If set up correctly, it will automatically set up the hostname when each server boots up. It might take a bit to index the MAC Addresses and map hostnames to them, but it will help you out in the long run, as when you need to reimage the server, it will automatically get the same hostname again.

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Windows Server 2003 R2 and above have Windows Deployment Services included. If you already have a Windows server, this may be an inexpensive solution for you.

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CloneZilla can do network deployment, but I'm, not aware that it can change workdstation names.

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The Windows AIK (Google for details) works beautifully for XP deployments, will work from a network, from USB, or from bootable DVD, and will also produce an image that works with Windows Deployment Services, all for a modest outlay of £/$/€/¥ 0.00. It used to be restricted to certain customers, but in the past few years it has moved to being available to everyone.

The only issue is that the learning curve can be a little steep, but if you're already using a Linux-based solution you should be more than able to tackle this. Look for the Microsoft Malware Removal Starter Kit for what I believe is probably the best getting started guide.

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Microsoft's free MDT 2010 (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit) lets you do all of this, and even completely automate it if you want.

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I'm not sure imaging is the right way to go; you'll be moving around a lot of redundant data. Have you looked into terminal services? Set everything to boot straight into the terminal, and you can add new machines to your location just by plugging them in and pointing them at the server.

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I have used "Ping" a few times for imaging windows workstations, it's free and is pretty simple to use.

Ping

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Free and Open Ghost has worked very well for me. I would recommend it.

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freeghost.sf.net link –  rjt Jun 10 '11 at 6:40
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I'm using Partimage and Sysprep and a Linux Live-CD.

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New Reply to a very old post: www.redobackup.org - dead simple bare metal imaging / backup and restore.

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Heaps of imaging options out there, - G4U - G4L - Clonezilla - Partimage The cleanest free option though would probably be, http://unattended.sourceforge.net/

As you can see it also has the ability to deal with workstation naming, hotfix, application installation, and even joining to an existing domain/workgroup. http://unattended.sourceforge.net/step-by-step.php

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