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Open Source Ghosting of XP


Royalaid
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Hi guys, kinda been watching the show for a few months, just now decided to make a forum account now because I need a little help. In my class I attend we are doing a charity project in which which we need to install Windows XP and serveral other applications like office on 750 computers, my teacher was planning on using Norton Ghost. The problem is that he can't get his hands on enough keys. I suggested using a some open source alteritive but I do not know any, would anyone mind helping me find some way to do this. Much thanks in advance.

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Another good solution, if your afraid to go the Linux route, is a BartPE disc with DriveXML added to it. The compilation of tools called the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows has this already on it. I've used it, and it works very nice, especially in a Windows environment.

As for something a little more enterprise oriented, look on Sourceforge for a project called FOG. Allows you to use PXE to reimage machines across a network. Haven't had the time to play with that one, but it looks very interesting.

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If you want to do it properly then use Windows Deployment Services, and a PXE server. I've been doing a lot of work with this and it really is amazing. You will need a Windows domain and Server 2008 though.

There is also Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which allows you to generate bootable media with a scripted install of Windows XP, all your drivers and your applications. This is free and just needs a Windows host to run on, but if you create the master copy correctly it will be 100% idiot proof.

My process is you use MDT to install Windows with all the required drivers, then install the applications and customize windows. Then sysprep the machine, and capture the partition to a WIM file, which can then be deployed using WDS or even manually using diskpart. If your interested I can post some stuff on sysprep (a big part of my job is creating and managing images for the EMEA region of ALU-GL), none of this is hard to learn and can be done in an evening or 2.

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If you want to do it properly then use Windows Deployment Services, and a PXE server. I've been doing a lot of work with this and it really is amazing. You will need a Windows domain and Server 2008 though.

There is also Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which allows you to generate bootable media with a scripted install of Windows XP, all your drivers and your applications. This is free and just needs a Windows host to run on, but if you create the master copy correctly it will be 100% idiot proof.

My process is you use MDT to install Windows with all the required drivers, then install the applications and customize windows. Then sysprep the machine, and capture the partition to a WIM file, which can then be deployed using WDS or even manually using diskpart. If your interested I can post some stuff on sysprep (a big part of my job is creating and managing images for the EMEA region of ALU-GL), none of this is hard to learn and can be done in an evening or 2.

I think this is the best method, but its not very noob friendly.

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yeah a scripted install works the best if your dealing with different hardware. What i've done is using nlite to create a custom install cd with the drivers and programs you need. I had more sucess using nlite then microsoft deployment. But then again i've never used 2008 server. I've only used 2003 server. Theres also a few open source projects that ive looked at the look interesting but i havnt tested it out.

one is http://wpkg.org/WPKG_overview

and the other is

http://myt.ag/URLWeb.aspx?email=steve%40fo...2k.html&sn=

I actually tried out 'unattended' and it almost worked but the setup time took longer then just using nlite so i just disregarded it but if you have alot of computers to do then this is probably your best open source tool.

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Thanks for all the help guys, now just some info so you understand where we are:

We are only there for about 2 hours everyday, it is off campus school that I go to and that is about how much time I have to mess with this, mean while my instructor can play with it all day.

Secondly I myself have never done anything like this before but my instructor has done a little bit here and there and says that he really wants to do it through PXE but I don't think that we have a copy of windows server 2008 i will ask on Wensday.

Lastly we have almost no budget because it is all charity work so that means we only have access what was give to us. The machines in question are about 5-6 years old and are running minimal hardware. There are 3 base machines which we are planning to clone because all of the machine we are getting are supposed to one of the 3 models

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Well you have a couple of realistic options:

1: You create a custom Windows CD using nlite and the tools at driverpacks.net. Use nLite to intergrate SP3 into your media, then create the unattended install. Then, use the driver packs to give it support for additional hardware. For space reasons I would normally just stick to LAN, Mass Storage and Chipset. You can also slip stream applications to the windows disk, I've never done this as it looked fiddly and I have better shit. You can then burn a ton of these discs and do 2 installs per disc in your 2 hour slot. This will work perfectly if you have a room full of white boxes.

2: If your dealing with a collection of identical machines (ie Dell or HP office computers) then you can do it slightly differently. Build some master images using one machine, set it up perfectly and sysprep it with the oem switch and then using a disk imaging tool like WDS capture, Ghost, dd, g4u, clonezilla or acronis to copy that image onto the other machines. Will be slightly more complex to setup, but given the number of machines your dealing with it will enable you to run a production line instead of dicking around with windows discs.

3: If you have a collection comprised of a few set types of machine from a vendor like Dell (basically anyone who provides comprehensive driver archives), you can use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to produce either a DVD or a bootable USB stick which will install a copy of windows, run all the updates, install all your applications, update a few more times and automatically sysprep the machine. The advantage of this method over the 1st is that instead of a collection of scripts and random internet stuff, you have a GUI that manages everything from the OS, drivers, updates and deployment, all using one scripting setup. Once you get it setup (which can take a while) it will speed up the whole deployment process dramatically if your dealing with multiple machine types.

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