The routine is the same, on every Windows computer we have ever had:
- Use computer
- Get some sort of recurring problem. A buggy HP printer driver which causes an error dialog to pop up. A virus or malware. A new device which gives blue screens. Something nagging and permanent and keeps us from using the computer.
- Solution: reinstall. Use the recovery partition or recovery CDs or bust out the old copy of XP Pro a friend gave me. This entails:
- Backing up/restoring all our data.
- Reinstalling our software. Not just downloadable stuff (Firefox, etc) but also quicken, quickbooks, photoshop, Office - software that we have paid for and need CDs for installation
- Reset user data - reload thunderbird folders, reset firefox preferences, etc.
- Goto 1
This happens with my father's personal computer, his work computer, my sister's school computer, my mom's entertainment PC; its like maintaining a small office.
My question, in specific, is related to step 5 from above. There are software to automatically install software from the web, but they don't apply because my software comes from CDs.
What I want is to create my own "OEM" version of windows. I want an automated way to create an image, or routine, which I can run, and it will install each of my packages. It can automatically ask me for the CD, or it could store the CD ISOs of the software and then install from that.
I don't just want to create a Windows ISO - because I'd like to be able to make this generic for any computer I maintain.
I could write a program which does this, but I am asking: is there software out there that allows me to accomplish this? How can I rebuild quickly? A google search found this package, though it is my preference not to drop $100 on this (unless people think it is worthwhile.)
What are my options?