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O/S Deployment Thread, Drive cloning software in Technical; Hi there. I'm looking for a bootable disk that will allow me to create an image of a hard drive ...
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    Drive cloning software

    Hi there.

    I'm looking for a bootable disk that will allow me to create an image of a hard drive / partition. I then would like to be about to mount and browse that image at a later date wiothout restoring the whole image.

    I currently use Partimage which come on a System Rescue CD for Linux which is fantastic however i cannot browse the files on the image once it's writen. If i needed to pull a file out the image, i would have to restore the whole image which is a pain in the a$$!


    I would like it to be a bootable cd as the operating system could be corrupt and non booting. Also, the program would need to support FAT32 and NTFS file formats.


    Thank you


    Fraser

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    Batman's Avatar
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    The workshop where I used to work had a windows server. We'd pxe boot off the server, take an image using ghost and then on the server itself we could browse the image, extract files etc if we wanted to, using the windows ghost application.

    You'll have to mess about a bit to get it to work, but ghost will do it.

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    I have norton ghost 14 installed on my windows vista machine but i cannot find how to create a bootable disk (I can only find how to create a backup bootable disk)

    Basically here's my problem. I have a non booting machine here and I want to be able to take a image of the hard drive before i reinstall windows. I want to store the image away incase a user comes back to me in 2 weeks time and says, "where's my file!?" Hopefully i will then be able to say, No problem i'll go get it now then mount the image of the partition that i took to recover the file.


    Thanks

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    If it's only for Windows machines then look at imagex - you can run this from WinPE, BartPE or Windows if you're going to take an image of a drive in a USB caddy etc.

    You get a .wim file which you can put somewhere safe. You can then mount this so it appears as a folder in your filesystem. this can be read only (if you just want to extract files) or read write if you want to change stuff and then put the image back on a drive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    If it's only for Windows machines then look at imagex - you can run this from WinPE, BartPE or Windows if you're going to take an image of a drive in a USB caddy etc.

    You get a .wim file which you can put somewhere safe. You can then mount this so it appears as a folder in your filesystem. this can be read only (if you just want to extract files) or read write if you want to change stuff and then put the image back on a drive.
    Hi, thanks for your replies. I'm still no further forward here. I cannot find the correct version of Norton ghost as Batman sugests and I cannot find a bootable version of ImageX.

    Can you please post a link of what i should be looking for?

    Thanks

    Fraser

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    FOG or clone zilla but all or most of the drive imaging things are listed here

    Free Hard Disk Backup and Restore, Hard Disk Image and Cloning Utilities (thefreecountry.com)

    There is also ping but not sure how good that is

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    When comes to Norton Ghost for enterprise the one you need to look into is Symantec Ghost Solution Suite

    That has got all the bells and whistles when comes to taking/editing/deploying images.

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    imagex isn't bootable - it's just an application you can put on a bootable CD.

    I'd misunderstood where you were starting from - what you need to do first is get a CD which can boot Windows (or other OS for some of the other utils) and you then put imagex on that CD.

    If you start atUltimate Boot CD for Windows this tells you how to make a CD which will boot Windows - you also need a copy of a "real" XP CD. There are also instructions on how to add an application to it.

    ImageX is part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit Unfortunately, MS don't seem to have it available as a separate download which is a pain because the .exe file you need is about 1.5Mb whereas WAIK is an awful lot bigger!

    One benefit of downloading the whole of WAIK is that it includes Windows PE and instructions on how to make a bootable CD with it; again, you can just add the imagex.exe file to that image.

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    Why would you like to be able to browse and extract files from an image? Most modern applications install many entries in the registry. As for user files, if this is a workstation on a network then generally speaking files should live on a file server. Centrally managed and backed up.

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    I would like to be able to incase i need to recover a file from the drive before i wipe it and reinstall windows.

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    If you're going to do just a single drive, I would use Clonezilla. It's bootable from a cd (burn the iso), and allows you to plug in a usb hard drive to save the image to. Pretty straight forward and quick. Depending on what's installed, the image size will be around 10GB for an XP machine.

    If you are going to want something that allows you to image multiple machines, like ghost, I would use Fog. You'll need a spare (but low spec) machine though.

    Both free

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    Definetly another vote here for Clonezilla - exceptionally helpful!

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    I would like to be able to incase i need to recover a file from the drive before i wipe it and reinstall windows.
    Well that makes more sense; copying/moving files before re-imaging. There are two ways you can do this. If the machine still loads and you can get to the logon screen, typing the following in explorer (from another networked machine) should work:

    Code:
    \\computername\c$
    Working on the presumption you have domain admins access rights and the partition is formatted in NTFS. If there's more than one drive or partition, just change c$ accordingly.

    Alternatively if the machine doesn't boot at all, then extract the hard drive and install as a slave drive in a working system. You can do pretty much anything before re-imaging the drive.

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    The benefit of taking the image as a backup is that you never know what's going to be needed later. Someone might say "Oh, I just need the files in folder XXX" so you get those back, wipe and reinstall and they then say "but where's YYYYY" and you find that there's a whole raft of stuff that some application saves in its own folder or under application data or whatever. If you've got an image which you can just open and browse then it's easy to fix. If you've wiped and reinstalled then it's not easy ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post

    Alternatively if the machine doesn't boot at all, then extract the hard drive and install as a slave drive in a working system. You can do pretty much anything before re-imaging the drive.


    Thanks for all your replies.

    I think this is what I'm going to have to do.

    Can CloneZilla's image files be mounted or browsed?

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