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Windows Thread, Ghost or software packaging? in Technical; We use Ghost to deploy new software to our workstations. It works pretty well, but it's a huge upheaval, and ...
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    eejit's Avatar
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    Ghost or software packaging?

    We use Ghost to deploy new software to our workstations. It works pretty well, but it's a huge upheaval, and not appropriate for just one small package - we tend to do a manual install for that kind of thing.

    In the past we've experimented with software packaging - creating our own msi's but it's never been that successful. We've used winstall from veritas and a few trials of other products, none of which we've been 100% happy with.

    I guess this thread doesn't apply to the RM guys, but who here create's their own packages? or do you always Ghost, or do manual installs on all machines?

    I'd be happy to get some more MSI creator recommendations, if anyone has any.

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    I repackage a lot of stuff with about an 80% success rate I have found. Sites like Appdeploy.com can help a lot sometimes as well.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    I use Ghost - with UltimateBootCD - re-doing the image - but for a few apps - at a rate of what seems like termly at the moment. I connect to the share where my images are kept and do several at a time [25 is my record]. It really helped buying 70 PC's at once 2 years ago - the one image does the lot. I use NewSID on the new images rather than Sysprep. I hear it's not as good but I don't know why - if anyone can throw any light on that....
    To my understanding, there's a finite number of times you can sysprep a machine. My experience is with W2K sysprep - so things may have improved a lot since then.
    We also tried a generic image for XP that's hardware independant, supposedly - but the machines are still unstable afterwards. There's a fix i've yet to try but i'm not holding my breath .

    I've done GPO installs on a course - packaging my own MSI's - but I can't be bothered to make a clean machine for this purpose - so i've never done that live. It's the big boys way to do stuff I 'spose ... must get around to it one day.

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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    I use RIS (Remote Installation Services). I used to use Imagecast, but they haven't updated their product in quite some time now.
    RIS has many advantages, not least being the scripting setups which combined with active directory automatically name the PC and join it to the domain. Throw in MSI distribution (which is quite flaky at times) and you'll never , ever need Ghost again. This combined with the fact I can image as many computers of differnt types as I want, when I want (I don't have to wait until they are all ready to start) makes for a dammed useful addition to the Windows server suite tools.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    I'd like to use RIS. Have you got any advice on setting this up? Or good places to find out all about it??

    I can image as many computers of differnet types as I want
    - but you still have to image each hardware setup right?

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    eejit's Avatar
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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    We use RIS to setup basic stations. Then we've altered the default OU for new computers to one that deploys all our MSIs. That's fine as far as those programs go, but what about all the old crap you're given to install? RIS is of no use to those programs. It's either Ghost an image with those already installed or create your own MSI as far as I'm concerned.

    I know the appdeploy.com website, but there is an awful lot of things to learn for different installations. I would like a program that will take a snapshot of a pc, then you install your program, then you tell the program to take a second snapshot of your machine, and whatever the difference is, that'll be your MSI. Now, there certainly are programs that do this, but I've never been happy with any of them.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    Quote Originally Posted by eejit
    We use RIS to setup basic stations. Then we've altered the default OU for new computers to one that deploys all our MSIs. That's fine as far as those programs go, but what about all the old crap you're given to install? RIS is of no use to those programs. It's either Ghost an image with those already installed or create your own MSI as far as I'm concerned.
    All our old crap I can install on every machine - and with a redirected Start Menu, I can pick off the ones I want users to see - that's possible isn't it - to build a complete image like that using RIS? I've heard Office doesn't play well with RIS [amongst others - but Office is the only one that affects me at the moment] - that'd be a pain - make the whole process twice as long as ghosting.
    Quote Originally Posted by eejit
    I know the appdeploy.com website
    Thanks - I didn't!

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    eejit's Avatar
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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I've heard Office doesn't play well with RIS [amongst others - but Office is the only one that affects me at the moment] - that'd be a pain - make the whole process twice as long as ghosting.
    Mark, Office is the easiest thing to install. I don't install it using RIS, but instead have an admin install of office on a hidden share in the server. Office is deployed to all PCs throughout the domain using a software deployment group policy. So, RIS joins the PC to the domain and on next reboot office gets installed (along with Symantec antivirus and a few other odds and sods)

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    If your using a version of Office after 2000 you need to make sure you have the enterprise edition CDs to create an administrative install point sucessfully.

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    eejit's Avatar
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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    We always get ours from the local borough who give us corporate media with corporate keys, which don't need activation. They have some deal with MS, is that not the same in all boroughs?

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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I'd like to use RIS. Have you got any advice on setting this up? Or good places to find out all about it??

    I can image as many computers of differnet types as I want
    - but you still have to image each hardware setup right?
    Yes and no. You setup an installation of Win 2K and XP Pro, depending on your needs. You then setup one of your workstations using this first 'image'. You install all of the drivers and software and re-image.
    What happens next is that all of the origional Windows files are not re-copied in the image. they are refernced from the origional image, saving you space on each new one you create.
    Because RIS scripts easily (I'll post them tomorrow to save you all the effort of working them out) it really doesn't matter about the speed they image at as ALL post config stuff is automatic.
    RIS images are uncompressed BTW and can take up quite some space.
    All in all, a good RIS system beats the pants off Ghost and Imagecast. And no boot floppies needed either, although you can make them for non-PXE comlient NICs.

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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    Is there licensing needed to use RIS? (probably a silly question) I'd luv the no-floppies-needed option - I've heard you can do something like that for ghostcasting, but it was a while ago i heard it.

    And I use Ghost (ghostcasting method) on the main bulk of the machines and custom created apps/installs to "prep" a syste to image.

    Regards,
    N.

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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    I'd luv the no-floppies-needed option - I've heard you can do something like that for ghostcasting, but it was a while ago i heard it.
    With Ghost Enterprise edition you can install a hidden Ghost boot partition which, when you image a workstation from the server, boots the pc using the boot partition, connects to the server and downloads the image. Once the imaging has taken place it hides the boot partition again and boots using the imaged partition. It works well.

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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    You can also set up a TFTP server and use PXE to boot into the ghost app. All th instructions are in the manual - works well when set up.

    Although Ghost has never let me down tooooooooo much, I must admit that I am going to start trying to use RIS. With Ghost licenses at about £30 a pop, there are immediate cost benefits when you need to shell out for a couple of hundred licenses.

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    Re: Ghost or software packaging?

    Quote Originally Posted by tarquel
    Is there licensing needed to use RIS? (probably a silly question) I'd luv the no-floppies-needed option - I've heard you can do something like that for ghostcasting, but it was a while ago i heard it.

    And I use Ghost (ghostcasting method) on the main bulk of the machines and custom created apps/installs to "prep" a syste to image.

    Regards,
    N.
    Nope. Its totally free (apart from Server 2K3/2K licence costs)

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