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Discussion in 'Software' started by jpblock82, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. jpblock82

    jpblock82 New Member

    Ok, First off, I wasn't sure where this topic would go, but I guess this will work.

    Ok, so I work for a small IT business and we have a contract with a very large business. This business has over 10,000 computers that need certain software on it to comply with a new intergrated information system going into place. These computers range from windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP.

    What we do is go to each computer and using a custom survey program, record info about the computer, such as current hardware and software specs. We then install certain required software onto the computers, such as Java runtime, Adobe, etc.

    So now you get an idea of what we do. Of course, some of these computers we walk up to have problems, be it hardware or software. To expand our contract, we would like to not only survey the machines, but also troubleshoot (figure out the problem) using some sort of dianoistic <sp?> program, (ie PC Doctor), and fix what is wrong. Some machines require the HD to be re-imaged.

    And that is the real blood of my question. We want to put together a laptop with a strong, fast processor, with gobs and gobs of HD space, so we can save personal data from the pc that needs fixing, reimage the HD, and then put the data right back.

    So, is it possible to have the required HD images for each os (98, xp, etc) already on the laptop, then using a crossover cable from the laptop NIC to the computer that needs fixings NIC and load up the image????? What kind of software would be required?? Some sort of super flexible application that would allow us to use the laptop to storge these images, and allow them to boot from the laptop on to the pc that needs the new image. Is this just a waste of time? Would we be better off just having the image on disk/cd?? Also, does every single computer get it's own image?? I'm confussed becuase of O/S licensing and the such. If every pc has it's own image, we cant walk around with 10,000 disks, but could have them on a poweful laptop.

    Please help me with this issue, sorry if i seem unclear about certain things, I just want to get this thing going some how. Thanks for taking the time to help.
  2. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster


    Norton Ghost will do what you're asking, I've used it to reimage a HDD over a network from a server so it should do the same with a laptop. Can't see any problems using the HDD space for temporary file storage either - you might need a big hard drive though. One problem you may have is - if the PCs are on a network - I believe you have to write some kind of script to give each PC a unique name.

    As for the question of Windows installation, you don't need to mess about with activation or licence keys etc. with a volume licence (which the company should have with that many PCs).

    HTH :D
    Certifications: A+, Network+
    WIP: 70-270
  3. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    This seems like an awful lot of work for a small business :eek: How many techs are involved in this project?
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  4. jpblock82

    jpblock82 New Member

    It started with around 15 techs, but we have it down to a science now where we get by with 6. It's typically easy work, just installing a few programs, and survey the machine. It's actually A HUGH school district in a very populated city in Southern California, (hint, hint), so all these pcs are used by everyone, including teachers and students. You can imagine what kind of shape these computers are in some times. Thats why we need the majority of our team to just survey, and a small portion to go with laptops and the right software to troubleshoot/reimage.

    Ghost, (norton?) same as Symantec yeah???? Sounds like a plan to me. So how long (and I know there's plenty to factor in here) does it take to reimage an HD, size around 20GB? An hour or more??? It will need to be a very basic image, OS, Office Suite, flash, java plug-ins, adobe, Symantec anti-virus 8.1 and all current updates for all of these (including the OS). then i could just paste all the personal data right back in to the HD, (typically from the my docs folder). These are district pcs, so technically none should have any real personal info on 'em.
    I'm sure a 3.0 P4-HT w/ 160GB should be plenty yeah??? About how big would an image that had all the above in it be? BTW, you guys are Great!! Super helpful and very responsive!! Thanks!!

    BTW, you guys are great! Very helpful!

    Oh wait, one more question. We do encounter lots of Macs throughout the district. We support OS 9.2.2 up to 10.4.x I understand we will need a Mac laptop to do the same, but what about imaging software for these. Any programs that come to mind? Again, Thanks a bunch!
  5. MarkN

    MarkN Nibble Poster

    Certifications: MCSE NT4\W2K,CNE,CCEA,ASE
  6. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

    Are the vast majority of these PC's you will be dealing with identical from a hardware point of view? If they are then you could easily have a standard build / image that you could put onto each PC.

    If you will be dealing with a wide variety of PC's then you may find you run into problems with network imaging. Depends on the PC in question. I have come across plenty in my time that really don't cope well with it. Some lock up during the process, some go very slowly etc...

    As for the time each one would take ... how long is a peice of string ... It can depend on the NIC in the PC, the speed of the hard disks in both PC's, speed of the medium you connect them with, Processor speed can have a bearing also.

    What you would probably find handy is a small router / switch (I say router as they will often have a built in DHCP server). That way you could connect your laptop and the PC in question (or several if you wanted to do a few at once) and create a small local network that won't affect the other PC's. Create yourself a univsersal TCP/IP network bootdisk (run from a bootable CD) with ghost on there as well. Then have a ghostcast server running on your laptop. That way you could send a single image to multiple PC's if neeeded, or pick from a variety of pre-created images.

    If you are going to be dealing with many different PC's, then ghosting (or whatever cloning utility you may want to use) may not be very flexible as a solution.

    I don't know how practical the following would be, but I suppose you could have a Windows Server 2003 on your laptop as a full DC, with a DHCP, DNS & RIS server running. As long as your PC's then have PXE compatible NIC's you could roll out complete images that won't matter what hardware they are going onto. Might be more trouble than it's worth though. :)
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada

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