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Windows Thread, Loading multiple images to one hard drive in Technical; I want to setup a computer which has all our school images on the hard drive(s) so that we can ...
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    Loading multiple images to one hard drive

    I want to setup a computer which has all our school images on the hard drive(s) so that we can switch it on, be met with a menu asking which windows to boot to, preferably being able to rename the installations so that we know which is which.

    I then want to download these images to this 1 computer using Ghost. Anyone doen this and have an easy way of doing it?

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    cromertech's Avatar
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    A virtual machine with a few snapshots?

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Normally you'd have images stored on a server share or a portable hard drive, boot with a CD and you'd be given options here which images you want to restore or backup.

    I don't think there's such thing as a totally automated restoration system, however once your image has been restored (for example) you can automate connection to your domain with Sysprep.

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    i want to be able to perfectly recreate a problem for a member of staff. For example we have a science image, a teacher reported that a powerpoint wasnt running properly, so we either then have to download the science image to a test pc in our office, or find time to get on a science PC during the day when its not being used to try figure out the problem. So i want to have the exact same hardware in our office (which we have) with the ability to quickly load up the exact same image on a pc in the school which a problem has been reported on.
    Therefore i want 1 computer in the office with all 8 of our school images installed onto partititons on it which we can load at will and then just drop into an OU to instantly recreate the problem and investigate.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    So if I've understood correctly you have the same hardware across school, but different departments use different images (most probably difference in software installed).

    If I'm right, probably the easiest way is to buy a 1TB hard drive and partition the boot partition as 100GB and the remainder on the second partition can be used to store the 8 different images.

    By booting with Ghost or whatever you use, you could then boot into a pre-Windows environment and select the image you want to restore from the 8 available. This would also be the quickest method as images would be stored on the same physical machine. On a SATA II hard disk, the process should be fairly quick.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Another alternative would be to have one workstation, a large hard drive, 8 partitions, with a dual boot menu - well actually 8 different Windows installations in your case, which would be available instantly. You can rename each Windows install by renaming them in boot.ini to keep it simple, otherwise you'll have 8 x Windows XP Professional Edition listed. Not very helpful.

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    themightymrp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    So if I've understood correctly you have the same hardware across school, but different departments use different images (most probably difference in software installed).

    If I'm right, probably the easiest way is to buy a 1TB hard drive and partition the boot partition as 100GB and the remainder on the second partition can be used to store the 8 different images.

    By booting with Ghost or whatever you use, you could then boot into a pre-Windows environment and select the image you want to restore from the 8 available. This would also be the quickest method as images would be stored on the same physical machine. On a SATA II hard disk, the process should be fairly quick.
    I agree with this, sounds like the best way without using Virtual machines (which would use different drivers and therefore not be a true duplicate). Quicker still would be 1x 80Gb drive for putting Windows onto and a second, 1Tb drive, to hold the ghost images. Transfer would be a bit quicker than single drive implementation.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    If you are using Windows 7 you could just have mulpile boot VHDs added to the boot manu and boot whtever one you wanted in isolation.

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    themightymrp (24th March 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Another alternative would be to have one workstation, a large hard drive, 8 partitions, with a dual boot menu - well actually 8 different Windows installations in your case, which would be available instantly. You can rename each Windows install by renaming them in boot.ini to keep it simple, otherwise you'll have 8 x Windows XP Professional Edition listed. Not very helpful.
    This is what we want to achieve but my colleague who has been working on it is saying that Ghost has trouble downloading images to partitions and cant get it to work properly.

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    themightymrp's Avatar
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    Thats why I say to use 2 drives, this way you can restore the image to a drive rather than a partition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by themightymrp View Post
    Thats why I say to use 2 drives, this way you can restore the image to a drive rather than a partition.
    ye but ideally i wanted to just have the images already restored and it just be a case of being faced with a boot loader and pick the instance of windows to load up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farquea View Post
    ye but ideally i wanted to just have the images already restored and it just be a case of being faced with a boot loader and pick the instance of windows to load up.
    If that is the case your best option would be to 'build' a HDD with 8 partitions and use a boot loader so you can select which partition to be.

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    i doubt multiple partitions is going to work well as windows on partition 2 may think its c drive but in reality its d or e etc. I suspect the best way to go is probably virtualize them all on a pc as id suspect software issues before hardware ones and then if you cant replicate it clone it to your spare pc which best bet would be as suggested a big hdd full of images and a small one wor the working os

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    You can only have four partitions on a basic boot volume anyway so eight is going to be tricky. Why not just have eight seporate hds and a sata hotswap tray in your test machine to switch between them. That may be teh best way about going about what you want to do.

    Option2 just do a Drive Snapshot - Disk Image Backup for Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/X64 in the background on the offending machine over the network and dump the actual offending image onto your machine for testing locally.

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    When using virtualised, you will not get a 100% identical situation, because other drivers are loaded etc. so maybe the problem is in the drivers and that way the problem will not occur with the virtual image.

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