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Best practice for laptop imaging

Posted on 2011-03-09
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I manage over 600 laptops in our high school.  All use Windows 7 Ent. 32bit.

I'm looking for advice on the best way to go about re-imaging hundreds of laptops at one time.  Here's what I'm doing now...

I take a model, one is the Dell Lattitude E5410, and I set about creating my fresh image with Windows 7 Ent, all updates and applications.  I then sysprep this using the following command

c:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep /generalize /oobe /quiet /shutdown /unattend:c:\windows\system32\sysprep\unattend.xml

Now I have a "master" hard drive.  I then use a hard drive dupicator (Kanguru Clone 12HD SATA) that allows me to copy this hard drive image to 12 other drives at one time (takes about 15 minutes)

Then, my team puts back the drives into the laptops, starts them up and makes sure everything works.

It takes about 3 hours to image 150 laptops.

I'd like to know if anyone out there has another take on how to do this more efficiently....or maybe what I'm doing is just fine.

Thanks, folks!
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Question by:ejcrist
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 35084295
You're doing the licensing right?  Surely you are not assigning the same license key to all machines.  
Actually what you describe is probably best way to do this as you probably don't have enough networking bandwidth to do this via TFTP & PXE networking boot.
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Author Comment

by:ejcrist
ID: 35084436
Licensing is VL...using a server to do it...works great.
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dlethe earned 250 total points
ID: 35084589
Then your legal, and can't think of a better way to do it for your environment  (Except perhaps to get a used JBOD SAS/SATA enclosure off of ebay so you can clone additional drives for free just using a linux PC if you want to clone more disks at a time.  One can use the standard UNIX command dd, or the more elegant freebie clonezilla.

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Author Closing Comment

by:ejcrist
ID: 35084754
Great advice!
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 35084941
Just make sure you get a NON-RAID controller, and the enclosure is a SAS/SATA one that has an expander.  LSI SAS/SATA are the way to go.  Don't get the 3ware family, get something that uses the "MPT" drivers, and the LSI 380X chipset.  Make sure it is the non-RAID.

Then you can even add/remove drives hot and rescan as necessary while others are being cloned.  Don't go for an enclosure with a lot of slots if your intention is to maximize number of simultaneous cloning, as you'll probably saturate the backplane on the 5th or 6th disk drive, but more slots will allow for unattended operation
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Author Comment

by:ejcrist
ID: 35085606
Not sure I understand your 2nd paragraph?  My intention would be to clone as many as possible at one time.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 35085749
Well you can only pump so much data down a port at a time, so if you are limited to 300 MB/sec transfer in a perfect world, then it is kind of pointless to buy a 60-bay enclosure because you can't sustain 80MB/sec on all the drives at the same time.  That is all I was saying.  BUt it would be convenient to stuff the thing with 48 drives and let it run unattended over the week-end to clone.
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Author Comment

by:ejcrist
ID: 35086027
Cool, got it!
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