Drive Imaging

I am looking for software to make images of drives. I need to be able to create the image from a boot able CD (without installing the software on the machine I am about to image from). Also what is the best way of using a different Windows XP product key when I image the new computer?

What exactly does sysprep do?
calbackupAsked:
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briancassinCommented:
Norton Ghost can do drive imaging direct from CD. Acronis can too to my knowledge

explanation of sysprep
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sysprep
http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/c03a5469-ef71-4545-b970-ce2add5e715c1033.mspx?mfr=true

from the second link

"The System Preparation tool (Sysprep) is a technology that you can use with other deployment tools to install Microsoft Windows operating systems with minimal intervention by an administrator or technician. Sysprep is typically used during large-scale rollouts when it would be too slow and costly to have administrators or technicians interactively install the operating system on individual computers.

You typically use the Sysprep tool in conjunction with a non-Microsoft disk imaging tool or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Automated Deployment Services (ADS) to perform image-based installations. Image-based installation is a method of copying or cloning preconfigured operating systems (and, optionally, software applications) onto destination computers. After you set up a master installation  an installation with the operating system, software applications, and configuration settings that you want to install onto the destination computers in your organization, Sysprep prepares the master installation so that you can create a disk image; that is, a functionally identical replica of the disk containing the master installation, that can be copied onto multiple computers. The disk-imaging program creates the disk image of the master installation. After the disk image is copied onto a destination computer, and you start the destination computer, a shortened version of the Windows Setup program runs. The shortened version of Setup configures only user-specific and computer-specific settings, such as computer name, domain membership, and regional options. You can automate this last part of the setup process by using an answer file, a simple text file that instructs the Setup program how to configure the various operating system settings."

here is how to use sysprep
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302577

changing microsoft product key
http://wiki.ittoolbox.com/index.php/Change_Windows_XP_Product_Key

When using disk imaging two things you need to be aware of

1. You need to use a volume license key if you are going to deploy this image to multiple computers you cannot use a retail product key as it will not pass product activation.

2. You need to generate unique SIDS for each Windows XP installation this can be done by using sysprep or if you are just planning on ghosting from one machine to another (providing you are within correct licensing to do so) you will need to change the SID using the program
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897418.aspx

The SID is your security identifier that needs to be unique to each install of windows XP when using disk imaging you will have two computers with the same SID if you image from one PC to the next this will cause issues in active directory which is why you have to generate a new SID more information can be obtained from the link above.
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XconCommented:
I do not recommend Norton Ghost at all. I would highly recommmend trying Acronis True Image software.
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XconCommented:
you can find it here
http://www.acronis.com/
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dekkarCommented:
Acronis is a fantastic product.. Highly recommend it....
http://www.acronis.com.au/enterprise/products/choose-trueimage/


If you want to use a diff XP key... you might want to do a sysprep.... After you have finished setting up your image, you can sysprep the machine, the next time you turn on the machine, it goes through a mini setup asking for CD key etc etc...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302577
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briancassinCommented:
dekkar,

I already posted that microsoft kb article see my posting above.
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dekkarCommented:
ahh yeh... i just noticed that....
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XconCommented:
sysprep basically makes windows prepared for major hardware changes and so on
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XconCommented:
for that just follow briancassin's links
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