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Disk Imaging Software

Posted on 2009-07-13
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
We have been using Norton Ghost to create standard disk images for rolling out multiple PC workstations. There are always issues with Norton Ghost and it's labor intensive setup. Is there a better disk imaging solution that you all have used out there. I have research several products and Acronis True image seems to be #1, Paragon Drive Backup #2 and Farstone DriveClone #3. Can some who has experience with any of these products or others recommend a better disk imaging solution than Ghost. I have to roll out a bunch of Dell Optiplex 760's and haven't been successful in getting Ghost to work.
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Question by:smykowbe
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by:TDKD
TDKD earned 200 total points
ID: 24843790
I use Ghost 7.5 with no issues, I also created a Windows XP Image using sysprep for deployment with no problems!! Perhaps you can shed some light on the issues you are running into?
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by:TDKD
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ID: 24843799
I forgot to mention the Windows XP Image is for a DELL GX760...
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by:TDKD
TDKD earned 200 total points
ID: 24843804
I use Acronis also, but prefer Ghost...
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Lee W, MVP earned 220 total points
ID: 24843856
I prefer ANYTHING NOT SYMANTEC.

That said, have you considered using Microsoft's tools - they are free and work pretty well.  ImageX (not GUI) can create and deploy the images, Windows Deployment Services using PXE booting PCs can load the images and even capture them (so I guess you could say there is a GUI).  It LOOKS a lot more complicated than it really is - I STRONGLY recommend you setup a test environment and test it out.

Products to review:
Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) (ImageX is a part of this)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc748933(WS.10).aspx

Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766320(WS.10).aspx

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/desktopdeployment/default.aspx
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by:TDKD
TDKD earned 200 total points
ID: 24843867
All good tools!! But why so hard on Ghost? I have never run into an issue I couldnt overcome with little effort??
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by:TDKD
TDKD earned 200 total points
ID: 24843878
Before suggesting the WAIK we would have to know that smykowbe is deploying Windows Vista?
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 220 total points
ID: 24844008
Why?  I used WAIK to deploy XP at a client last month.  Worked great.
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by:smykowbe
ID: 24844028
Thanks for the quick response. We are deploying workstations with Windows XP SP3. I created Ghost boot disks for the GX760 after loading the NDIS2 network drivers from the dell site. The network driver for the 760 is Intel 82567LM-3. After creating the boot disks and trying to boot the 760 the network drivers won't load. I get the following DOS errors:
Pro0008E: Invalid decimal digit in Protocol.ini file
Protocol Manager not present (it is)
Failure: Driver did not load, NDIS environment invalid.
MS-DOS Lan Manager v2.1 Netbind
7906 Unable to open PROTMAN$

TDKD...perhaps you can tell me the process you used to create the network boot disks for your 760's

Thanks,
Ben


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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 220 total points
ID: 24844056
Because Symantec is AWFUL.  At a recent user group meeting I attended (just last week), we had reps from symantec... about half way into the meeting I surveyed the 25 or so consultants in the room and asked them "How many of you swear by symantec, accepting that there will be "occasional" issues with ANY product." and the about 5 people raised their hands.  I then asked how many people swear AT symantec - and about 10 people raised their hands.  The featuresets are usually great... but I can design a form with checkboxes and "settings" for great features as well... it's making them WORK that symantec has a problem with.  They butcher once great products - I never had an issue with Drive Image - the engine that's now behind Ghost, if I'm not mistaken, but I've seen plenty of others have issues since Symantec acquired them.  Same thing for Antivirus.  I look at backup exec as a product on a cliff... which version will be the one that jumps off?
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 220 total points
ID: 24844098
If you use WDS, you don't need boot CDs or floppy disks.... just network boot off the WDS server using a Vista or Win7 boot.wim (info on this is all in the WAIK/WDS documentation - like I said, it LOOKS complicated, but once I set it up in a test environment and looked back on it, I realized just how easy it is and I then reconfigured it on my client's systems in about 20 minutes - it took longer to create the base image than it did to setup WDS and image a workstation for deployment.

Plus, with more recent boot.wims, you can reimage multiple machines at the same time using multicasting.
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by:allanster
allanster earned 40 total points
ID: 24844183
I use both Ghost 8 and True Image. I was a diehard Ghost fan, but Symantec killed off the "real" Ghost after version 8, they bought out another imaging software and renamed it Ghost, so the Ghost of today isn't the Ghost of the past. You can image cast with Ghost 8 as well as True Image. They are both easy to use and neither has ever failed me.
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by:randomguy08
randomguy08 earned 40 total points
ID: 24848296
I use Ghost Corporate and GhostCast Server but I have tried and failed with Acronis, it just simply doesn't seem to work. Ghost does do the job and huge amounts of PCs can be imaged within minutes (We had 100 going with a new image loaded in just 5 minutes)
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Author Closing Comment

by:smykowbe
ID: 31603013
Thank you all for the input. Perhaps TDKD could send me a copy of the Ghost Boot disk he used for his Dell 760's. I cannot get the GX760 Driver to load properly so I cannot connect to my Ghostcast server to push the images.
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