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I do agree that an unattended setup is better for most situations, but our process works better with images. We have never EVER had a single problem with imaging, and we have multicasted to upwards of 700 pc's at a time before...not a single call complaining of problems. But, again, if the image needs to be changed often, then the unattended install on a network share is the way to go. Our images don't change very often, so it works for us.

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I have about 180 computers in my corporate.

I use unattend CD for installing most part of a system.

Win2k/ AS400 Emulator / Pdf Reader / Zip / Antivirus / Image viewer / Network setting / Services / Reg key / IE preconfigure with ieak are silent and unattend.

The drivers are for most part into $OEM$ and i add manually "the" others.

Install Office with unatend silent office2KSP3 preconfigured parameters.

Before the IT use Image with drive image but with so many different computers we can't continue with this .PQI

The majority of the computers are stable for 3 or 5 years of use and the image are out of date when we have to re-install.(WinNT4, Office 97, Ie5 are the last images i found when i have to rebuild a pc.

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Don't use Ghosted images - period.

Especially in a diverse hardware environment like yours. You are just asking for weird problems down the line with ghosted images. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about, I've been rolling out Windows to my fortune 500 corp since win 3.0. Over the years I've tried all the deployment methods.

When you ask questions like this, in forums like these, you'll get a lot of people who insist a imaged drive is the best approach. It isn't, it sucks. It's not just changing the IDE controller, it the imaged systems HAL type (single cpu, multi-threading P4, dual processor?) and PnP setup, etc. I could go on and on.

The best way, and the most professional IMHO, is to use the unattend.txt method downloaded from a network installation point (not a cdrom). This is pretty much exactly the setup you have now, and it is the best.

You may not like the way it is layed out, or think it's "messy" but it isn't. It's the best solution. You don't like updating the driver directory? Tough, it's part of the job to qualify new hardware. You're not supporting Mac's or Sun's, you knew PC's were dangerous when you took the job :)

With a scripted network installation it takes only minutes to update the baseline build to incorporate new drivers, hotfixes, applications, etc. Where it can take hours to update images.

Interesting....So you have a build directory for each model of PC you have?? I'd be very interested as to how you tackle this in your organisation. Do you have different driver directories for each model? Do you use a common winnt.sif file. How do you build your $oem$ directory.

Basically we use a scripted network install at the moment that builds an SOE completely automated. Then we image this and deploy it to computers. The process will be similar with the new approach. Automatically install the OS from the network then hand over to SMS, which will install all the apps. Then image this and deploy.

There seems to be so many different method of deploying the Windows OS that the hard part is select a method and sticking with it. I appreciate all the input, hopefully soon we will start work on this project and your input is saving us a lot of time.

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