Efficient way to clone a dual booted IMac (Windows XP)

Posted on 2009-02-12
Last Modified: 2013-11-11
I have a classroom environment with approximately 20 IMACs running OS X.  They dual boot with XP SP2 using boot camp.  Because of the nature of the classes, (computer forensics) I need to reimage the IMACs after each class with a "forensically clean" image.  In other words, I have to write the entire 500GB hard drive.  I am looking for ideas on the most efficient way to re-image these computers.  One suggestion I have received is to use a Raptor boot disk with a USB hard drive.  (I can't even imagine how long 500GB would take over USB)  Firewire would be somewhat faster.  Anyone have any better ideas?
Question by:ableinc
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    How about using DeepFreeze?  They have a version out for Mac and Windows.

    Upon restart, it brings the computer back to the settings that you set prior, as if no changes were made that day.  It may be of use.

    Hopefully it helps!

    Author Comment

    I just spoke with someone at Faronics.  Deep Freeze was tested by the FBI and CIA and some file fragments did remain with this product.  Thanks anyway!
    Any other ideas?
    LVL 39

    Expert Comment

    I guess it would not be viable to use XP in a Parallels or VMWare fusion environment where restoring the System to a snapshot would be much easier.

    Although the Hard Drive is 500Gb .. how much data is on each partition will determine the write time ..  How big are the OSX and XP partitions?

    Author Comment

    I cannot use a VM for XP.  The partitions are approximately 250GB each.  
    LVL 39

    Expert Comment

    Sorry ableinc .. I wasn't asking about the size of the partitions exactly but how much space in filesize of data is actually used on each partition.
    For example the OSX partition may be 250Gb but OSX and associated files may only be using 50Gb ..  when it comes to backing up and restoring you should only need to write 50Gb .. rather than 250Gb for OSX.

    My thoughts are as follows .. if the OSX and XP partitions are not full of data you could consider partitioning the HD with 3 or 4 partitions. .. put a clean OSX image on partition 3 and a clean XP image on partition 4.

    Then you could set the mac to boot from a server netboot image and overwrite the 1st and 2nd partitons with the images stored on the 3rd and 4th partitions.  In this way you'd get the speed of local read/write without having to plug an external drive into every Mac.

    Accepted Solution

    In order to have a "clean" forensic image, every sector of the 500GB drive needs to be written.  
    It's looking like an external drive containing the 500GB image is the way to go.  At least if I get one for each MAC, I can get them started and let them run overnight.
    Thanks anyway for your help.  

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