View Full Version : Fastest software to create images over a network

09-12-2008, 11:04 PM
Hey folks,

Working at a 250+ user environment, where we'd like to be able to create an image, place it on a network and then pass it on to whatever machines may need wiped clean with a new image. Problem is, we have several different machines in the company, so we can't just make a generic image (or can we???).

Basically, I'd like to be able to put an image over the network (a domain), and quickly be able to restore it to any PC. I've gotten my actual Windows install, including all programs, printers, etc., down to about an hour and ten minutes, so the network idea needs to be faster, hopefully under a half hour or less.

Any suggestions? We've tried Acronis, but the damn thing didn't seem to want to map to the network domain worth a hoot.

09-13-2008, 12:26 AM
You could try sysprep to create the install images and then Acronis Snap Deploy. Then all you need to do is boot from LAN/PXE boot on any network machine and it will find the Acronis Snap Deploy server. From there you can choose which image you want to use.

You can make generic images using sysprep, but you will need to make upto 4 images (Single-core Intel image, Dual-core Intel image, Single-core AMD image and Dual-core AMD image). I believe that's how it works but I'll check tomorrow morning.

I found Snap Deploy version 2.0 to be shockingly bad to use, but I've heard the new version 3.0 is alot better.

09-13-2008, 05:32 AM
Will this not affect the windows user licenses? IE. Each machine assigned a different windows key?
In a 250+ environment they will probably be VLK (Volume License key). But even if it was OEM, since SP3 the key could be entered after installation.

Are you running Windows Server 2003?

09-13-2008, 02:56 PM
You can use SMS to deploy an OS from a network distribution point. The speed of your deployment depends on the speed of your network. We use it and it takes about an hour per machine, but all you do is start it and about 10 minutes in you tell it what the computer name is after that it's touchless.

09-13-2008, 04:36 PM
Good news is that this is a VLK. I like the Acronis idea, but since we fiddled with the Echo Workstation version, I'm not real impressed with Acronis. And, I've read a lot of bad things about sysprep, that you can restore an image and get BSOD'd to death, requiring (at least) a repair install of Windows. Which makes no sense, timewise.

I'd entertain Snap Deploy, IF we can purchase it reasonably (maybe get a discount since the company purchased Echo Workstation before I started there), and if I can read up on how to get sysprep to play nice with the various hardware configurations we have.

Look forward to your post, Simmy.