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Best app to image workstations?


1boredguy
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What application is the best for creating and distributing images for workstations?

Thanks for any replies.

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Edit:

Not so many. Around 50-100.

Simultaneously would be OK, if the price was right. A need be basis is more of what I really need.

I work in a small firm. No more than 100 workstations. I guess I'm looking for a cheaper solution. Thanks.

Edited by 1boredguy
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This is incredibly vague.

How many workstations are you hoping to image ? Many simultaneously via a multicast ? Over time with a need be basis ?

Many products are capable of creating an image file etc, but your deployment methods should also be considered in your inquiry.

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Is this just once? Will they all have the same apps? Will there be constant support/reimaging as PCs get upgraded/replaced?

If you need to do it quick and dirty, buy Ghost. If you want it free, you can setup a server to run unattended installs and/or RIS (if you have AD, which I don't.)

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I'm a Professional of 40 years. I've been setting up backup schemes for my friends and clients for at least 26 years now on Windows PC's and I've never found any program any better than Ghost 2003 for making quick copies of a HD. It's been around since at least 1996 and was originally written and marketed by Ghostsoft, Inc.

I use it.....I share it with all my customers who need it and I heartily reccommend it for anyone, anywhere, that needs to backup a hard drive.

I've helped people worldwide set up their own Ghost backup setups and they all just LOVE it.

My recommendation is that you too acquire it and use it.

I've seen it for sale on the internet for as little as $6.95.

Your own search results may varry.

You don't need to install the whole package into Windows. The Ghost.exe file and Mouse.com on a boot disk will do the job nicely. I like using Ghost with my mouse instead of the keyboard. Mouse.com makes this possible.

For additional help,,,,,,just PM me. :thumbup

Andromeda43 B)

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I'd say go with Andromeda43's advice. The reason I say that is because normally when you ask what people use to do whatever on their PC, you get a different answer from each person and you're no further in your journey than you would have got if you just Googled it.

But when someone with that kind of experience under their belt says what they've been using for more than 2 decades, there's no doubt about it. Simple as that.

Me? I use Acronis, but I just backup/restore my own system and soon I'll be doing that for my girlfriend's PC.

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Really, Acronis TrueImage and Norton Ghost 2003 are both the two best products, in my opinion. I've used both.

I like Ghost because I can use a floppy to run it from DOS. It's simpler to modify a floppy with custom commands and batch files than TrueImage, which is too large for a floppy (as far as I know).

Be careful, we are talking about Ghost 2003, not Ghost 9 or Ghost 10. I don't like Ghost 9 or 10. Reasons you'll find here in forum.

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Just to play devil's advocate here...

I recently moved our ~1200 PC deployment system from Ghost to unattended installs. There is nothing more configurable that an unattended install. Additionally, there is nothing better than a fresh, clean install of Windows every time. You can't get a fresh install or flexability with any imaging software.

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Of course you can get a fresh install from an image. Here's how:

Install your OS. Install all of your software.

Make an image and you're done. A fresh image.

Then you can do whatever and your system can get infected and you can roll back to that image you have that's fresh. It's fresh cause you haven't done anything except install your apps.

Restoring from an image is quicker than reinstalling everything.

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Of course you can get a fresh install from an image. Here's how:

Install your OS. Install all of your software.

Make an image and you're done. A fresh image.

Then you can do whatever and your system can get infected and you can roll back to that image you have that's fresh. It's fresh cause you haven't done anything except install your apps.

Restoring from an image is quicker than reinstalling everything.

Until you need another piece of software. Until you need security updates. Until you need new drivers. Until you need a new image for a new type of computer.

I can do all of those for unattended installs in less than 2 minutes. And as long as you're doing an install on a recent PC, I've found unattended installs to actually be faster. Believe me, I ran Ghost for a long time, so I know what it can do. Unattended installs have a much steeper learning curve, but you gain speed and flexibility in return.

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Really, Acronis TrueImage and Norton Ghost 2003 are both the two best products, in my opinion. I've used both.

I like Ghost because I can use a floppy to run it from DOS. It's simpler to modify a floppy with custom commands and batch files than TrueImage, which is too large for a floppy (as far as I know).

Be careful, we are talking about Ghost 2003, not Ghost 9 or Ghost 10. I don't like Ghost 9 or 10. Reasons you'll find here in forum.

Corporate Workstation 9.1 comes with the trueimagecmddos.exe, which allows you to run the meat of the program via scripting, from dos, and is small enough to fit on a floppy.

I don't know if all of the other versions have this, but just thought I"d share.

Also, Acronis is supposed to be releasing more flexibility with their scripting very soon. Straight from them in a meeting last week, a representative mentioned an SDK to come out with mentioning javascript and VBscript capabilities to automate their product. I guess their current scripting methods weren't working out so well

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