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XP, Office 2003, Ghost


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We have 3 different software configurations for our users. All hardware is exactly the same (Dell Precision 370). The only difference is the software we install for the user based on job function. Artists get their suite of tools (3dsmax, Maya, Photoshop CS), engineers get their programming tools (Visual C++, Proview, ProDG), and admin get the very basic setup.

We have a Volume license for XP Pro as well as a 100+ user license for Office 2003. I'm mostly concerned with creating a basic image for each job function. Basically XP Pro w/ SP2, Office 2003 w/ all updates.

Ideally I'd like to create 3 separate images, upload them to our network drives, put the new PC's where they are going to live and then blast the specific image onto the machine. Not quite the unattended install where I'm providing things like username, system name, serial numbers for other apps, etc. Just download a working image and go from there.

From what I've read on these forums, Ghost 2003 is the imaging software to use and NOT Ghost 9. I also seem to remember seeing something about sysprep but I'm not sure if that utility still applies if we have the volume license.

The last time I used Ghost to create drive images was back in 2002 and this was before the unique SID's. I was mostly out of the desktop support environment as I was doing more server/network support. Now that I'm back working, after a 2.5 year layoff, I'm doing desktop support again and I'm still playing catch up.

I hope I've provided enough information to go on. Still very new to these forums, but the wealth of knowledge here is invaluable. Thanks to everyone for making it such a great resource.

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I dont know much about ghost 2003 but im pritty sure thats not what you want. You will want to buy the enterprise version of ghost. I beleave its upto 8 now, i have 7 personaly and it works fine. As for sysprep, if you dont run it you will not get a new SID in XP and you will have all kinds of issues on the network. That cheep program still exists in ghost enterprise 8 that changes the SID but i can tell you it wont do anything near what sysprep will do for you, sysprep basicly re-runs windows setup only it skips a bunch of the crap like detecting drivers and asks for the system name and if setup it will join a domain for you using that new system name and reboots the machine and your good to go.

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Yes, you almost have to use Sysprep. With 100 workstations, but all the same hardware imaging with Ghost or whatever can work quite well. If your hardware was different, then I'd say RIS might work better, if you have the server and network capacity. When imagining via Ghost or using RIS, just be careful to double check everything, otherwise you'll end up visiting all these computers again.

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I dont know much about ghost 2003 but im pritty sure thats not what you want. You will want to buy the enterprise version of ghost. I beleave its upto 8 now, i have 7 personaly and it works fine. As for sysprep, if you dont run it you will not get a new SID in XP and you will have all kinds of issues on the network. That cheep program still exists in ghost enterprise 8 that changes the SID but i can tell you it wont do anything near what sysprep will do for you, sysprep basicly re-runs windows setup only it skips a bunch of the crap like detecting drivers and asks for the system name and if setup it will join a domain for you using that new system name and reboots the machine and your good to go.

FC, thanks for the reply. Thanks for the suggestions on Ghost. I'm not too concerned on what imaging software I'm going to use, whether its Ghost or not. I'm still a little confused as to when and where I will be using sysprep. I will be trying to "ghost" a fully installed XP Pro and Office 2003 image with all the service packs and updates.

Here are the setups that I think I'm going to take.

Grab new Dell PC out of the box.

Go through XP Pro setup, entering my Volume License Media serial number.

Install SP2 and all other updates.

Install Office 2003 and all updates.

"Ghost" the image and put it on a network drive or CD.

From what I'm gathering, I will still need sysprep to create a new SID for any new PC's I will be setting up? It seems that sysprep will create the new SID if one were doing an unattended install of XP Pro, but my image should be installed, configured, and patched. I'm thinking that somewhere along these lines I need to give the new PC a new SID, but I don't know where and when to do that.

Yes, you almost have to use Sysprep.  With 100 workstations, but all the same hardware imaging with Ghost or whatever can work quite well.  If your hardware was different, then I'd say RIS might work better, if you have the server and network capacity.  When imagining via Ghost or using RIS, just be careful to double check everything, otherwise you'll end up visiting all these computers again.

snekul, thanks for your comments as well. Base on my added information would you still say that I'm going through correct steps?

I would much rather configure a router or switch but this is what I need to get done. :)

Cheers guys!

Jel

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Jelorian, I recommend you start reading the deployment documentation that's included with every Windows CD. Look on your CD in the \SUPPORT\TOOLS directory and open the file deploy.cab. If you open the file deploy.chm, you'll find a topic heading entitled "Preparing the Installation for Deployment" that contains the information you are looking for.

I'll summarize here: Sysprep is a tool provided by Microsoft to help when duplicating disk images via Ghost or another 3rd party tool. Its purpose is to 'generic-ify' a Windows installation so that (among other things) you don't have computer name or SID conflicts on your network. The process, briefly, is:

1) Install Windows, patches, drivers, and applications, and customize to your liking.

2) Run Sysprep. This cleans out some machine-specific information and shuts down the computer.

3) Image the hard drive. Usually this involves booting up with another OS (floppy boot, CD boot, network, etc.) and executing your imaging software (Ghost, etc.) to make an exact copy of the hard drive.

4) Deploy that image to multiple computers. The sysprep process tells Windows to start up in a special setup mode at next boot, which will prompt for information like computer name and cd key (this can be automated as well). This ensures that each copy of Windows is unique with a minimum amount of effort.

Extensive documentation is availabe in deploy.chm and ref.chm. Any further questions can be posted here.

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Jelorian, I recommend you start reading the deployment documentation that's included with every Windows CD.  Look on your CD in the \SUPPORT\TOOLS directory and open the file deploy.cab.  If you open the file deploy.chm, you'll find a topic heading entitled "Preparing the Installation for Deployment" that contains the information you are looking for.

I'll summarize here:  Sysprep is a tool provided by Microsoft to help when duplicating disk images via Ghost or another 3rd party tool.  Its purpose is to 'generic-ify' a Windows installation so that (among other things) you don't have computer name or SID conflicts on your network.  The process, briefly, is:

1) Install Windows, patches, drivers, and applications, and customize to your liking.

2) Run Sysprep.  This cleans out some machine-specific information and shuts down the computer.

3) Image the hard drive.  Usually this involves booting up with another OS (floppy boot, CD boot, network, etc.) and executing your imaging software (Ghost, etc.) to make an exact copy of the hard drive.

4) Deploy that image to multiple computers.  The sysprep process tells Windows to start up in a special setup mode at next boot, which will prompt for information like computer name and cd key (this can be automated as well).  This ensures that each copy of Windows is unique with a minimum amount of effort.

Extensive documentation is availabe in deploy.chm and ref.chm.  Any further questions can be posted here.

Baliktad,

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate the list of how things happen. Now I have a better idea as to all the steps that need to happen. I'll check out the 2 .chm files and see how much farther I get.

Maraming salamat!

Jel

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If you have XP SP2, use the newest version of Deploy tools, which can be downloaded from M$ (if not on the CD). M$ also has many articles on Sysprep (and numerous KB articles on problems and limitations) - well worth having a look.

These will get you going:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...kb;en-us;302577

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechn...oy/default.mspx

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechn...troductoin.mspx

And be sure to test everything on a non-production computer first. If you have the VLK, you can use sysprep.inf to automate part of the Mini-Setup.

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Being that you have the same hardware accross the board you should be able to get by with three images as you suggested, tho you'll still probably get new hardware detected on the first reboot after cloning. As for deploying images, I implemented Ghost Solution Suite 1.0 (Ghost 8.x) a few months ago and it has performed well (and yes, the Corporate/Enterprises releases of Ghost can reset SID's... sysprep is not required for this). Solution Suite also allows you to clone workstations remotely through the use of a win32 client - no need to visit each workstation. As for sysprep, it really shines in it's ability to migrate an install accross various hardware configs. This isn't so much of an issue in your case, but it would provide your users will a cleaner first login after cloning. I use sysprep in my images as i've got 6 "standard" workstation models to maintain (P4 i845/ i865/i915 machines w/ various hardware differences). One sysprep image goes accross all.

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  ...

From what I've read on these forums, Ghost 2003 is the imaging software to use and NOT Ghost 9.  ...

Have a look at BootIt NG - partitioning, imaging, and boot management. Free 30 day trial or $US35 to buy.

http://www.bootitng.com/

I've used it on many occasions for various partitioning procedures and image creation and restoration - and not had any problems.

-

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Hey there.

We have a solution at work using Barts Network Boot Disk and Ghost 8.0 Corporate - on a USB Key that we boot from. That connects to a shared folder on a server and the .GHO image gets pulled, takes like 5 minutes on 100Mb.

Basically, we are in the same boat as you, we use Dell machines, and have two different sets of users to prep for.

The imaging works perfect, all you do in the beginning is name your first machine (with all the updates and programs and a million configuration settings you always need to make) something like Setup or Config, whatever, you can see it in DNS, join it to the domain, give it an IP or DHCP and then that becomes your base image. Forget SysPrep or anything else, Ghost 8/9 will do the job for you just fine, you just need Barts network boot disk, although with that, finding the right DOS NDIS drivers can be a task.

You might also have to manually re-CAB them, something we do ourselves.

Then one -by one, just rename & Re-IP each machine as you go and Bob's your uncle. (British saying).

There.

If you need any more specific info, PM me.

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If you have XP SP2, use the newest version of Deploy tools, which can be downloaded from M$ (if not on the CD). M$ also has many articles on Sysprep (and numerous KB articles on problems and limitations) - well worth having a look.

These will get you going:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...kb;en-us;302577

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechn...oy/default.mspx

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechn...troductoin.mspx

And be sure to test everything on a non-production computer first. If you have the VLK, you can use sysprep.inf to automate part of the Mini-Setup.

Takeshi, thanks for replying. I've checked out the links you sent and they are a good resource.

Being that you have the same hardware accross the board you should be able to get by with three images as you suggested, tho you'll still probably get new hardware detected on the first reboot after cloning. As for deploying images, I implemented Ghost Solution Suite 1.0 (Ghost 8.x) a few months ago and it has performed well (and yes, the Corporate/Enterprises releases of Ghost can reset SID's... sysprep is not required for this). Solution Suite also allows you to clone workstations remotely through the use of a win32 client - no need to visit each workstation. As for sysprep, it really shines in it's ability to migrate an install accross various hardware configs. This isn't so much of an issue in your case, but it would provide your users will a cleaner first login after cloning. I use sysprep in my images as i've got 6 "standard" workstation models to maintain (P4 i845/ i865/i915 machines w/ various hardware differences). One sysprep image goes accross all.

_jd_, thanks for the info on Ghost 8.x. Good to know that ghost can reset SID's. I really like the idea of remote cloning of workstations as well.

Looks to me that ghost and sysprep are still my best bets at this point. Now if I only had a new machine to build and test on. Our company keeps hiring people and I had to give up my last machine to the new hire. Oh well. :)

  ...

From what I've read on these forums, Ghost 2003 is the imaging software to use and NOT Ghost 9.  ...

Have a look at BootIt NG - partitioning, imaging, and boot management. Free 30 day trial or $US35 to buy.

http://www.bootitng.com/

I've used it on many occasions for various partitioning procedures and image creation and restoration - and not had any problems.

-

I'll check it out. Thanks for the suggestion. Always good to know about imaging software.

Hey there.

We have a solution at work using Barts Network Boot Disk and Ghost 8.0 Corporate - on a USB Key that we boot from.  That connects to a shared folder on a server and the .GHO image gets pulled, takes like 5 minutes on 100Mb.

Basically, we are in the same boat as you, we use Dell machines, and have two different sets of users to prep for.

The imaging works perfect, all you do in the beginning is name your first machine (with all the updates and programs and a million configuration settings you always need to make) something like Setup or Config, whatever, you can see it in DNS, join it to the domain, give it an IP or DHCP and then that becomes your base image.  Forget SysPrep or anything else, Ghost 8/9 will do the job for you just fine, you just need Barts network boot disk, although with that, finding the right DOS NDIS drivers can be a task.

You might also have to manually re-CAB them, something we do ourselves.

Then one -by one, just rename & Re-IP each machine as you go and Bob's your uncle.  (British saying).

There.

If you need any more specific info, PM me.

CTG, thanks for the detailed info. Looks like we're in similar boats. I skimmed over the BFD site and started wondering if you could use a bootable CD instead of a floppy. Would be cool to try and have that as an option.

The onboard network adapter that Dell uses is the Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx gigabit controller. Is it the same as what you guys are using?

We are also installing secondary Intel Pro 100mbit adapters in our machines so I could probably do the install through that adapter and then convert over to the gbit card after the image has been ghosted to the machine.

I'll shoot you a PM for more specifics.

Cheers,

Jel

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For that we had to find the driver ourselves. You see, with the Network Boot CD that we use it already comes with a small set of drivers for some popular NICs, but of course later you have to add more to it.

And yes, specifically the Broadcom 1 Gb 57xx controller, one of our guys got the driver, integrated into the CD so we could start ghosting our new Dell GX-280's. As for the bootable CD, I would recommend a USB Key, but either way, you are using a boot floppy image and puttiing it onto a bootable medium, so we also have simply used the small 8 cm mini-CDs and used Nero to use the 1.44 Mb Floppy disk as a bootable disk image, easy enough actually. Anything is better than waiting for a flopy the first few times you are familiarizing yourself with this ghosting system.

As for the second nics (I cannot imaging why you would install a 100 Mb secondary nic anyway) you will still need different NDIS drivers for the intel pro cards (I think.... Barts Disk includes a driver for them, you can always specificially try his boot disk and see) but you only need one NIC enabled to do the whole ghost thing and if you can have Gb switches and servers too like we do then you have awesome imaging speed.

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Being that you have the same hardware accross the board you should be able to get by with three images as you suggested, tho you'll still probably get new hardware detected on the first reboot after cloning. As for deploying images, I implemented Ghost Solution Suite 1.0 (Ghost 8.x) a few months ago and it has performed well (and yes, the Corporate/Enterprises releases of Ghost can reset SID's... sysprep is not required for this). Solution Suite also allows you to clone workstations remotely through the use of a win32 client - no need to visit each workstation. As for sysprep, it really shines in it's ability to migrate an install accross various hardware configs. This isn't so much of an issue in your case, but it would provide your users will a cleaner first login after cloning. I use sysprep in my images as i've got 6 "standard" workstation models to maintain (P4 i845/ i865/i915 machines w/ various hardware differences). One sysprep image goes accross all.

Hey there.

We have a solution at work using Barts Network Boot Disk and Ghost 8.0 Corporate - on a USB Key that we boot from.  That connects to a shared folder on a server and the .GHO image gets pulled, takes like 5 minutes on 100Mb.

Basically, we are in the same boat as you, we use Dell machines, and have two different sets of users to prep for.

The imaging works perfect, all you do in the beginning is name your first machine (with all the updates and programs and a million configuration settings you always need to make) something like Setup or Config, whatever, you can see it in DNS, join it to the domain, give it an IP or DHCP and then that becomes your base image.  Forget SysPrep or anything else, Ghost 8/9 will do the job for you just fine, you just need Barts network boot disk, although with that, finding the right DOS NDIS drivers can be a task.

You might also have to manually re-CAB them, something we do ourselves.

Then one -by one, just rename & Re-IP each machine as you go and Bob's your uncle.  (British saying).

There.

If you need any more specific info, PM me.

I'd just like to point out Microsoft's Support Policy concerning OS's deployed by disk duplication. Some choice words:

"Microsoft does not provide support for computers that are set up by use of SID-duplicating tools other than the System Preparation tool. If an image was created without the use of sysprep, Microsoft does not support the running of Sysprep after the image is deployed as a way to bring the computer back into compliance."

Some people may say, "I don't need Microsoft support, I'll just use this third-party tool that I like better." The issue is larger than just support. When Microsoft says something is supported, it's essentially a guarantee that it works. (And if it doesn't, Microsoft will work with you to make sure it does.) When Microsoft draws a line in the sand and says "This is not supported," they really do mean that. You have no guarantee. I don't know about you, but anecdotal evidence does not a support policy make, so I'm very reluctant to use unsupported software, even if there are many claims of "it's always worked for me." I strongly suggest everyone use Sysprep (and NOT some alternative SID-changing tool) for disk duplication. It's free and included on your XP CD.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd like to thank everyone for their help, replies, and suggestions.

I ended up using sysprep and another imaging software package called True Image 8.0 Build 859 made by Acronis.

Luckily for me I can boot the systems with True Image's Recovery Manager CD, image my sysprep'd machine and upload it to a network share (1). I was able to download the sysprep'd image to a new PC and it booted fine (True Image even recognized my SATA RAID 1).

I just changed the system name, re-added it to the domain and I was good to go. Now I need to find an unattended way to add username, system, etc. and I'll be really happy. I've seen some methods on these forums and I'm sure I'll figure it out. Lots of talented and helpful people here!!

Thanks again everyone!!

Jel

(1) I had to create a LOCAL user on the destination system. Create a share and grant that LOCAL user Full Control over the share. Only then was True Image able to map to the share. It won't authenticate over the domain.

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And yes, specifically the Broadcom 1 Gb 57xx controller, one of our guys got the driver, integrated into the CD so we could start ghosting our new Dell GX-280's.  As for the bootable CD, I would recommend a USB Key, but either way, you are using a boot floppy image and puttiing it onto a bootable medium, so we also have simply used the small 8 cm mini-CDs and used Nero to use the 1.44 Mb Floppy disk as a bootable disk image, easy enough actually.  Anything is better than waiting for a flopy the first few times you are familiarizing yourself with this ghosting system.

I apologize for jumping in here...Have you got the GX-280's to boot from USB? Can you provide specifics. I use Barts and UBCD4WIN but CD's are slow. Thanks

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