I feel your pain.  Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt.  We got
tired of reinstalling Windows every time there was a problem here
to so my CIO came up with a great idea that has saved us tons of

We set up one machine with the "perfect" environment.  We loaded and
configured all the software we wanted our machines to have.  After
this machine was set up we used Drive Image to create an image of
the hard drive.  We took that image and copied it up to the network,
then from there burned it onto a CD.

We did the same thing for our Programmer's production machines.

Now, when we have a problem and have to reload for whatever reason
we don't have to go searching for CDs and keys.  We plug in the
computer, put the CD in the CD drive, boot to a floppy, when asked
boot to a second floppy.  Say we want to restore from the CD image,
tell it where to restore to, make sure it verifies everying, click
a button and walk away.  If we don't verify it takes an hour.  If we
do turn on verify (I always do) it takes a good 3 hours or so.  For the
Win 2000 Production machines we have to swap CDs when asked.

After this is all done, we reboot the machine and it comes up, we
log in, and run a utility on the second floppy that gives the machine a
new SUID and machine name.  Reboot gain, play with it a little bit to
get the machine logged into our NT Server, maybe install network card
driver if it's the "other" model, and we're done.  Total time to install:
4 hours or so.  Total time we actually have to be there doing something,
15 to 20 minutes.

Oh, yes, we also have our users save their files onto the Network, each
user gets their own directory.  Usually they forget, but ususally we
just have them copy everythign they want to save to their "Z" drive
(their personal network share) before we reformat.


Jim Langston

Message: 15
From: "Joe Pluta" <joepluta@PlutaBrothers.com>

That's fixing the symptom, not the disease.  I suppose having a central
repository of "mirror image" hard drives - one for every PC in the office -
and backing them up on a nightly basis would indeed be a way of preventing
the pain of a crash.  I suspect it could get very expensive and very time
consuming as you got past just a few PCs, however.  40GB drives may be
cheap, but they're not free, nor is the bandwidth required to duplicate,
say, 4TB of data every night (for 100 PCs).


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