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How do you do....it? Thread, New Laptops in Technical; Hi all, my admin just bought ~20 new laptops for teachers and they arrived today. The company has already installed ...
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    New Laptops

    Hi all, my admin just bought ~20 new laptops for teachers and they arrived today. The company has already installed win7 on them and they apparently had 0 foresight as they left the drives as a single partition (other than the one win7 makes itself).

    I want to repartition the 230g hd's to
    C: 65gigs
    D: 110 gigs
    E: 65gigs

    C = windows
    D = data
    E = recovery image (thinking DriveXML to make it because it's free but open to suggestions...CloneZilla maybe).

    Does this make sense to you? I am not sure about the necessary size for E so I matched C but is this the right thing to do?

    I will then install Centurion on the comps to freeze C and E which will help in recovery.

    Never having done this before I am interested in the general opinion of my setup and suggestions as to what works.

    Any and all input appreciated.

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    The way we work it is:

    We have a base image for Laptops - they need different drivers from the other image which we use for our desktops.

    We only have the main Partition on the laptops - which is drive C. We have a mapped netwiork drive on the admin account to the image folder - when a laptop goes down all we do is restore the image that we created as the base image. It saves space on the laptop and the image is put ion a secure area.

    We did think about putting recovery partitions on the laptops BUT if a hardware failure occurs on the laptop hard drive then the recovery and main partitions are corrupted too, we can then put in any laptop hard drive and just blast the image accross - saves messing around with installing DriveXML and creating another recovery partition and another boot partition.

    Even if your laptops aren't on the network you can still plug them into a switch if and when the image needs to be restored - all our laptops are wireless so we just boot from Network and dump the image.

    We use DeepFreeze on our network, not used Centurion but It'll be a similar program. Everything is installed and configured when the image is dumped.

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    maniac's Avatar
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    I would get an efficient imaging system, and stick with a single partition. You really don't achieve much by having multiple partitions except make life more difficult for yourself in my opinion. You can still lock down areas of the drive so staff are forced to save only in a certain area of the drive (if they're saving locally that is.) or use offline files in a network situation.

    Mike.

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    Thanks for the responses.

    I was thinking of the C/D split because that's what I do with my own machines. Countless windows fails and my data is still safe on the D: (fingers crossed for no hardware fail). Even on my linux boxes I partition...just seems to make sense to me.

    Maybe the E for recovery is not useful. I am just thinking of restoring machines that are not on the network (ie a teacher takes the laptop home for Christmas break and windows bombs). I will create the windows image and was thinking of just restoring the partition if necessary from the network if needed, keeping the data intact.

    What if I lock down areas of the drive what happens if windows fails? I have seen DeepFreeze in action but not worked with it. I have never worked with Centurion before either so I don't know what options I can expect and capabilities I will have.

    By efficient imaging system what do you use and/or recommend?

    J

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrewe View Post
    Thanks for the responses.

    I was thinking of the C/D split because that's what I do with my own machines. Countless windows fails and my data is still safe on the D: (fingers crossed for no hardware fail). Even on my linux boxes I partition...just seems to make sense to me.

    Maybe the E for recovery is not useful. I am just thinking of restoring machines that are not on the network (ie a teacher takes the laptop home for Christmas break and windows bombs). I will create the windows image and was thinking of just restoring the partition if necessary from the network if needed, keeping the data intact.

    What if I lock down areas of the drive what happens if windows fails? I have seen DeepFreeze in action but not worked with it. I have never worked with Centurion before either so I don't know what options I can expect and capabilities I will have.

    By efficient imaging system what do you use and/or recommend?

    J
    I can see the logic in that approach, I've just never done mutiple partitions on a disk because most imaging systems won't handle them, single partition is all I've ever used. I used to partition my disks years ago but fell foul of the not making the partition big enough problem.

    If windows fails on a machine and I need to keep the data on it, I just pop an XP professional disc in and run the repair option, it sorts out most problems. Failing that, stick the disk in a external reader and back the data up before imaging it with a fresh image. Our laptops use offline files in windows and syncronise everytime the member of staff logs on or off. Staff are told to only save files to their my documents location, and we don't garuntee their data is safe if they put it anywhere else. This saves us dredging through laptop hard drives for odd folders of data here and there when we image them.

    I use fogproject.org for my imaging system, I manage over 600 machines using this for distributing my machine images to all of them - it can copy the image down from the server in about 5 minutes flat for a 10GB image.
    Last edited by maniac; 12th September 2010 at 02:23 PM.

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    FOG is exactly what I was going to set up tomorrow morning. Laptops aside I still have 75 other machines to manage. My idea is to install win7 on the laptop, get it configured the way I like, run sysprep and then use FOG to catch an image of it. Do the same with the other machines in the school. Never tried it before but looks totally doable with plenty of tutorials out there.

    Once I have done that I can send that win7 partition to all the other laptops I hope. I know win7 has the boot partition in front of it and I am a bit worried about that but it seems like FOG is ready to deal with that issue.
    See - Select "multiple partition image" instead of "single." - Windows 7 Image

    When I do the multiple partitions I guess I will then have to then go in and format the unformatted space to the DATA partition. I would like to save all 3 partitions but I don't have a hard drive with enough space for the image (I am wildly guessing that it will require a little less than 250G...if it doesn't that would be great - how much space will this image take up?).

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Our WDS WIM images for Windows 7, Encarta 2007 and Office 2010 are about 6GB. If you are using an uncompressed format you are probably looking at 10GB - 16GB for the same data so not that large.

    We use MDT which can push out the image in about 6 - 10 minutes from a network boot. It takes another 10-30 min to run all of the hardware scans, domain joins and domain software installs but that is still not bad going.

    It can take about 20-30min on really old gear with 100mbit NICs but is still reasonable.

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    Thanks Synack, good to know that it doesn't take much space.

    Showing my inexperience here but when you push out these images are you pushing to an already partitioned drive? This will be the first time for me doing this so should I be pushing these out to a pre-formatted drive or an unformatted one?

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    Using MDT/WDS it does not matter if the drive is partitioned or not as it will wipe and recreate the partition tables/MBR on each install. Not sure about FoG but I know that ImageXML requires partitions setup beforehand.

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