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General Chat Thread, Summer Rebuild: Hints and Tips wanted! in General; I now have 2 weeks to prep, and just 10 days of summer holidays to prepare the images for 2 ...
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    Summer Rebuild: Hints and Tips wanted!

    I now have 2 weeks to prep, and just 10 days of summer holidays to prepare the images for 2 ICT suites, and rebuild the entire domain structure from scratch, including GPO's, shares, User accounts, and build some packages for all the machines, and get the whole school ready for september.

    Current system is running winsuite, and they used to use ghost images to image all the laptops and the ICT suite's. The problem was, every time one changed the software, or updated it, the image became obselete, meaning i've now got dozen's of images for a single computer, and none of them are suitable.
    So I plan to move to pre-imaged machines for the basics (windows fully patched + Office + SMART notebook software), and then push out other software custom-like via GPO, so when a software update comes out, it's one package that needs updating, not me going round 40 laptops to reinstall manually.

    Anyone got any hints/tips for this, pitfalls I might come across that you've already fallen into before? I've done individual bits of this at various times, but i've never done the whole thing as one big project, and am aware I'm running it damned tight on time here.

    Not sure which of the tech forums this falls under, so it's under general.

    Current system:
    2x Win Server 2k3 servers DC's, 1 running DNS, other to be used as AV + print server.
    60 laptops 50 desktops ish, another 50 netbooks to come, running mostly WinXP.
    Rolling out Office 2010 to staff laptops this year, Open office to all student workstations, with Office 2010 to student workstations next year.

    New Student GPO's
    New Teacher GPO's
    Rebuild shares/drives in a sensible manner
    Packages for software (have WinstallLE ready to roll) to prepare
    Migrate printers/AV/website to a new server and/or drive
    Actually push out new installs to workstations.

    Have I bitten off more than I can chew on this one? I've got till the 22nd for prep work, but a few other jobs to do between now and then that will mean I cannot concentrate on it, then 10 days from then to do the rest of the works that may be disruptive.

    Anything helpful to say would be appreciated here, and I promise to write about any good or bad things I come across in the process of doing this.

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    sounds doable i managed a complete rebuild in a school in 1 week with no prp when both dc's denied there was a global catalogue. Tips keep it simple personally i used to use ghost no using wds and looking at mdt for imaging but i have 0 software on them just windows updates dotnet etc. Office/smart/whatever else is all done via msi/script/scripted ghost package.

    As for ou's etc if you arnt setting up a new domain just repurposing the curent one creat it all before hand so i usually dump my pc's in an ou called curriculum computers but for the new one creat one called curriculum pcs or something that way you can get all the structure there and policys written sooner rather than later and hopefully find at least one pc you cn borrow as a test subject and create as many test users as you feel nessescary

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    If you do it right using MySysPrep you can have one image do all, we have one for all our Dell's and one for all our Panasonic's but it would be one if the Panasonic's didn't require so much extra installing due to what they do!

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    Read this
    Vernalex.com - Welcome
    for a full understanding of sysprep. I'm rebuilding about 550 PCs onto a new domain in the summer, just about to test all the different types of PC we have (about 20). I'm going for base image that is Windows XP SP3 + LogistixOnline Post Updates + LogistixOnline .Net framework installer + Fog service.
    Antivirus, Flash and Java go on via GPO deployment. Everything else is going on as Fog Snapins. Seems to work well in testing.

  5. 2 Thanks to morganw:

    nephilim (8th July 2010), Rydra (8th July 2010)

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    that is the best advise I could give also. Keep it really basic. Watch out for the one computer that is different than the rest, that doesn't like the image.

    as sted said, it is doable, depending on your computer count you could run short on time.

    Good luck

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    I always take a ghost image of a machine before I run SysPrep in case something goes wrong and then I don't have to spend hours building it back to what I had just done.

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    That's largely my plan.
    I have just 2 different types of desktop PC in the school for curriculum use + 1 teachers PC, so I only need 2 full images including all drivers to do that.

    I reckon on 3 days to get all 50 odd PC's rebuilt themselves (2 ICT rooms of 16, and the rest are individual classroom PC's).

    It's the package building that I suspect will take the time; building one package at a time, each one taking about 4-5 hours means I can only do at best one image a day to completion, maybe 1 1/2 per day. Currently haven't got ANY packages, or GPO's to deploy them, and no OU's that manage the PC's outside of winsuite. The current GPO's for staff and students are not worth mentioning; they don't actually control anything, have no scripts setup, and are basically just default policies it looks like.

    I reckoned on a 10 days of prep (building new GPO's/OU's) for the next 2 weeks during school hours, get a few of the packages built, and get a base image done for the 2 PC types i've got in the school. That leaves me with about 4 days for migrating data around the servers as I rebuild all the shares and finishing off the packages, 3 days for PC rebuilding itself, and another 1-2 days for creating the user accounts.

    This is something of a learning experience for me. I've organised scout camps and other events for 20-200 people, I've managed projects in EvE-online that span every timezone in the world involving hundreds of people. But none of it compares to trying to account for all the ways a network can mess itself up in a very short space of time!

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    I would do it in the following order

    • Get your servers up to date and in order (users, shares, OUs, software patches etc ready for deployment)
    • Create your baseline image for staff laptops
    • Deploy your staff image
    • Push out any software required that is not in baseline image.
    • Create your baseline image for pupil machines
    • Deploy your pupil image
    • Push out any additional software required for individual machines in the classrooms
    • Once software is deployed and set up, then work on networking your printers and having them set up as shared printers over your network.
    • Set up a GPO to work on based on OUs. Once you are happy with each OU GPO, go onto the next.

    Realistically speaking, it could be done in 2 working weeks, if not a tiny bit more.

    *edit* going over my old notes for my last summer rebuild, 2 weeks was how long it took me for a similar amount of machines.

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    My tip: a lot of coffee

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    wont be doing staff laptop images, just too messy. I have more than a dozen different models of laptops ranging from XP SP2 to Windows 7. It's easier just to rebuild them if/when they fail from scratch that fighting with making all those different images, copying work off etc.

    I will be stealing a workstation from the ICT room next week for the rest of the term to start the process of testing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rydra View Post
    (windows fully patched + Office + SMART notebook software)
    RE: SMART Software

    Just some advice - install the latest SMART Software from the website (Home - SMART Technologies) and pre-activate it.

    Hmm the only issue that comes to mind for imaging: You can image machines with the same product key for SMART Notebook without a hiccup - you cannot for SMART Notebook Math. SMART Notebook Math will require unique activations on each machine (because its purchased per machine) - which means when the teacher goes to use the software it will prompt the user to re-activate (to make it unique). This can be a problem in some environments where a proxy filter blocks the automated activation process and you can theoretically run into a situation where all of them refuse to activate from a proxy and need to be done by hand.

    The older distro's for SMART Notebook (10.0.123.0) require unique activation for the regular install as well. So using a new release bypasses that problem. Most users shouldn't be running 10.0.123.0 anyway but it seems to be floating around out in the world somewhere.

    The best recommendation I can make is to build it and clone it once. Don't trust the initial system to make a judgment (it happens more than you think!) but check that all the software packages launch on the cloned machine.

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