LAN Workstations

Posted on 2006-04-20
Last Modified: 2012-03-15
I am wondering about the need for an optical drive or floppy in a domain workstation. I am about to purchase a dozen replacement workstations for our domain, and the users have no need for such drives. It's better if they don't have them. Normally, when it is necessary, I just load any needed software on the server and run it from there.

On those rare occasions when a HDD needs to be replaced, how can I load the OS without a floppy or CD drive to boot from? Is it possible to format the the new HDD while attached to another machine, and load the necessary install files from the OS CD, so that once the new HDD is installed the install can be started directly from the HDD? Or is there some other strategy that can be used to install the OS when no CD or floppy is present?

Question by:westone
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Most new machines allow you to boot from a USB Device and that gives you a broad number of possibilities.  ie Boot to Network, Have image on USB, etc...  With what I do, I use USB unless it is not supported.  Much easier than Floppies, CD's, etc...

    Hope this Helps!!!
    LVL 30

    Accepted Solution

    "On those rare occasions when a HDD needs to be replaced, how can I load the OS without a floppy or CD drive to boot from?"

    Make 1 of your "dozen" computers ordered with a floppy and CD-RW/DVD-RW drive.  If you dont' want anyone to use this, remove the data & power cables.  The units are there just in case you need them.  bundled cost is less than if you purchase ala carte.. This is good insurance that you will have immediate access.

    "Is it possible to format the the new HDD while attached to another machine, and load the necessary install files from the OS CD, so that once the new HDD is installed the install can be started directly from the HDD?"

    Yes, there are several ways,  such as Ghosting, cloning, pre-installation, disk imaging.

    "Or is there some other strategy that can be used to install the OS when no CD or floppy is present?"

    You can install off a network share and image that you create from several of the above mentioned... however, there is some configuration required.

    Author Comment

    A disk image, of course. Instead of wating for a HDD to break, once we get the machines configured with our software, I'll make an image of one, and use it when a drive needs replacing. What about the OS (XP Pro) license, how do we handle that when imaging? I don't want to make images of 12 identical machines and track the license numbers. I have seen utilities to change the license key of installed XP OSs. But I don't know how well they work in practice.
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    Thank you for the quick grade...

    This is courtesy of Pete Long

    Using Ghost to Image a Windows PC

    NB This applies to Windows95/98/ME/2000 & XP
    IMPORTANT: Make sure you are licensed to produce imaged copies of your version of windows.
    If you are imaging windows XP be aware that you will need to ACTIVATE each client UNLESS
    you build the source machine from a "Volume Licenced" copy of XP
    see for details.

    1. Set the Master PC\Laptop up from its manufacturers rescue disks or the copy of windows that you wish to use. unistall any applications you wont use (like Messenger using xp/utils/" target="_blank" onclick="return openNew(this.href);"> )
    2. Ensure that you apply all the latest service packs for your version of windows. Go to to see if you need to install anything.
    3. Install and configure all the applications you would like on the image, and remember applications need service-packing too for MS Office updates go to and run the office update wizard. Don’t forget things like Adobe Acrobat reader and WinZip (This is a licensed product so ensure you have the rights to do this)
    4. If you have not serviced packed you internet explorer (in step 2) do this now. aslo consider installing the latest version of JAVA
    5. If you use a proxy server and/or wish to have ALL the imaged PC’s preconfigured to use this do the following, Open a MMC Console (Start - Run - MMC - [ENTER]) Add the group policy snap in. Configure the home page as http://yourhomepage then configure the proxy as Your Proxy IP address (Look in User Configuration\Windows Settings\Internet Explorer Maint)
    6. To display a Login message on every machine Go to the following registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon   and in the following keys paste in this text...

    LegalNoticeCaption <Title of the Message> LegalNoticeText <Text of the Message>

    7. If you use Host Files on your network copy them to the following locations

    Win9x/ME c:\windows
    WinNT/2k c:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc
    winXP c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc

    8. If you use Novell Install and configure the Novell Client (WARNING – If using Zenworks for desktops and automatic workstation input consider NOT putting the Novell Client on your Image)
    9. If you wish you can copy the windows setup files to the hard drive – though this will obviously make the image a LOT larger. if you do copy the I386 directory from the CD to c:\I386, and change this Registry key to c:\I386
    10. Defragment the hard drive then empty the recycle bin. (Unless you want to clone your rubbish: 0)
    11. Now if you meet any of the following criteria go to step 18.

    You are imaging Windows 95/98/ME
    You are imaging Windows 2000 or Windows XP that will NOT be on a network (i.e., it’s a standalone or your home PC)

    12. If you reading this bit your imaging a windows 2000 or XP machine and you rolling you image out onto a network, proceed to step 13.
    13. Download the latest version of sysprep for your operating system

    Windows 2000 version 1.1
    Windows XP version 2.0 (it’s in the deployment cab)

    14. You now need to create a directory called c:\sysprep and do the following

    Windows 2000
    Extract the file you downloaded to the c:\sysprep directory.
    Look on the windows 2000 CD for the following d:\support\tools and there should be a file there called “”, Extract this to your C: \ sysprep directory.
    Copy all the files from C: \sysprep\tools\ to the C: \ sysprep folder click YES when you are asked to overwrite the originals.

    Windows XP
    Extract the file you downloaded earlier to the C: \sysprep directory.

    15. In your sysprep directory you will now have a program called setupmgr double click it to run it, answer all the questions and it will create another file that will hold the answers to all the questions windows usually asks you when you install it. REMEMBER to tell it you ate IMAGING or it won’t work.
    16. Close all your open windows and click Start > Run > c:\sysprep\sysprep.exe -pnp The machine will then give you a warning message and close down, DON’T power it back up unless you want to test it (note if you do and your windows 2000 you’ll have to carry out all from step 13 again)
    17. Before cloning your Hard Drive, ensure you have another hard drive (That Big enough to hold the image fitted to the machine being ghosted. (You cannot ghost to the same Hard Drive!) – NEWER versions of ghost can) this procedure was tested with v6.5 and v7.0
    18. Arm yourself with a boot disk from (Ensure it had RAMDRIVE on it and it works!) And a copy of Ghost.exe from Symantec
    19. Boot with your boot disk
    20. Type ghost then return. (This will create one big image if you want to split the image up, to fit on CDROM’s type “ghost.exe -split=600 –auto”)
    21. At the welcome screen press enter to clear the message.
    22. Using the Cursor Keys select Local, Disk, To Image then return.
    23. At the select local source press enter
    24. At the file name to copy to screen, Use the Tab Keys to navigate to the image location your second Hard Drive.
    25. Press Tab to navigate to the filename box and give the image a name (i.e. image01)
    26. Keep pressing the Tab Key till Save is highlighted then press return.
    27. At the Compress Image screen Tab to "High" Then press return.
    28. At the proceed screen Tab to "Yes" then press return.
    29. When it is completed it should say, "Dump completed successfully"
    30. If you’re deploying from CDROM you can now burn the image “portions” to CDROM. Ensure the first disk is bootable and has a copy of ghost on it to restore the image to a new computer.


    How To Create A Bootable Ghost Rescue CD Tutorial

    Featured Post

    Do You Know the 4 Main Threat Actor Types?

    Do you know the main threat actor types? Most attackers fall into one of four categories, each with their own favored tactics, techniques, and procedures.

    Join & Write a Comment

    Like many organizations, your foray into cloud computing may have started with an ancillary or security service, like email spam and virus protection. For some, the first or second step into the cloud was moving email off-premise. For others, a clou…
    I use more than 1 computer in my office for various reasons. Multiple keyboards and mice take up more than just extra space, they make working a little more complicated. Using one mouse and keyboard for all of my computers makes life easier. This co…
    Access reports are powerful and flexible. Learn how to create a query and then a grouped report using the wizard. Modify the report design after the wizard is done to make it look better. There will be another video to explain how to put the final p…
    Polish reports in Access so they look terrific. Take yourself to another level. Equations, Back Color, Alternate Back Color. Write easy VBA Code. Tighten space to use less pages. Launch report from a menu, considering criteria only when it is filled…

    754 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    23 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now