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Ghosting and Automatic join a domain configuration tools

Hi,

I was just looking into Using ghost corporate to setup about 100 new computers we will be receiving but I saw that Symantec requires 1 license per computer you are ghosting.  This ghosting will be a one time only thing so It just seems overkill for us to spend $2000 on Ghost licenses that we are only gonna use once.

So now I am thinking of just deploying MSI packages for applications but first I need to know if there is a tool or program out there that will automatically setup the computers to join a domain, change computer name, etc so that i do not have to do that myself at each PC.

Thanks
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saidweintraub
Asked:
saidweintraub
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1 Solution
 
adamdrayerCommented:
syspreping a drive will roll-back the computer specific information.  You can use the setup manager to create a sysprep.inf file that will automatically answer the questions during the mini-install wizard after a computer has been syspreped and restarted.  Picking a domain to join can be specified this way.

Normally you sysprep a drive, then use ghost only to propigate the drive image to alot of other disks.  Then we they restart thte computers, each one picks a computer name at random and new security information and joins the domain, or whatever is specifed in the sysprep.inf file

All Ghost does is simultaneously duplicate multiple drives over a network.  It has nothing to do with joining domains or computer names, etc...  This is all done by sysprep.
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saidweintraubAuthor Commented:
Ok but what I am asking is there a way to cut out Ghost completely.  As I said my employeer isnt too happy about spending 2000$ plus to do a one time machine setup.

Thanks
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adamdrayerCommented:
How many computers are we talking about?
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One of a set of tools we're offering as a way to say thank you for being a part of the community.

 
adamdrayerCommented:
If you are running DHCP, DNS, and your clients are PXE-compliant, you can use Windows RIS:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/deploy/depopt/remoteos.mspx

but it only does the OS and not any applications.
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saidweintraubAuthor Commented:
About 100 PC's

The computers will be coming pre-installed with Windows XP.
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saidweintraubAuthor Commented:
From what I've read about netdom though I would still have to go to each PC and physically ADD it to the domain.. so what exactly is the benefit of netdom?
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MatthewWilliamsCommented:
AdamDrayer's first comment about Sysprep is correct that it will be your solution for automatically joining a domain. I used it in combination with DriveBackup from Paragon.
http://www.drive-backup.com/corporate/
At the time I purchased it, their licensing was such that I could buy a 10 user version and use it on 40 computers as long as I only pushed an image out to a maximum of 10 of them at one time. Unlike Ghost, the license does not stay with the computer after the imaging is complete as long as you don't install in on the computer. You should e-mail them to make sure their licensing is still the same as when I purchased.
The version I have works fine but is slower and does not have all the features of Ghost. It worked fine for my purposes and the price is much better than Ghost!
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MatthewWilliamsCommented:
You could also look at using XCOPY. Labor intensive but free of extra licensing costs. Here are the steps:
Setup a computer with all your applications.
Run Sysprep.
Shut down computer and remove hard drive.
Put hard drive as slave in another computer with XP loaded. Also put blank, formatted hard drive in as secondary master drive.
Run xcopy d:\*.* e:\*.* /h /e /c /k /r /o /x
Please note: This is theory only; I have not done these exact steps because they are labor intensive.
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saidweintraubAuthor Commented:
Alright now heres another question I have about sysprep.

Heres our situation:

We are warehousing the PCs here and setting them up at SITE A (domain: domainA.com)
And then after everything is tested and setup/congifured we will be bringing them to SITE B (domain: domainB.com)

Can I tell sysprep to have the machines join domainB while they are being configured at domainA ? So that when we take them over the SITE B they will all join the proper domain?

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adamdrayerCommented:

Here is an excerpt from a sysprep.inf file:

[Identification]
    JoinDomain=mydomain
    DomainAdmin=Administrator
    DomainAdminPassword=M0n3y

You should really run setup manager for the heck of it, and see what it asks you.  This will give you a feel for what it is capable of setting up.
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saidweintraubAuthor Commented:
Yes, ive used it before.  I just want to make sure that there wont be any errors for setting up a computer in SITE A for use at SITE B.

I dont want there to be any kind of conflict.
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adamdrayerCommented:
all domain-related information will be gotten from the sysprep.inf file.  So you can doublecheck the settings in that file before you move onto site B or possibly even work on testing one machine before you bring all the others over.
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MatthewWilliamsCommented:
As adamdrayer posted, you can put any domain name that you want under "JoinDomain"
So you install the machine under domainA.com then run sysprep which removes it from domainA.com and when the new computers are booted they pull from the information you fed to sysprep which was domainB.com so that is the domain they try to join.
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adamdrayerCommented:
Thanks for the backup Matt.  Always appreciated.
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saidweintraubAuthor Commented:
How can I install apps via a network if the computers are not in active directory?
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Free Tool: ZipGrep

ZipGrep is a utility that can list and search zip (.war, .ear, .jar, etc) archives for text patterns, without the need to extract the archive's contents.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way to say thank you for being a part of the community.

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