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I need to re-deploy about ten Windows XP machines in a short period of time. The machines already exist and are lying around, I have been asked to reformat, reinstall and reconfigure them.

I was wondering if it is possible to create a VMware virtual machine with all the settings etc, and then create some sort of image from this to deploy onto the actual physical machines?

The hardware across these machines is not really identical. The organization has Acronis and Symantec products. I would rather proceed with Clonezilla. Will Clonezilla be able to handle the difference in hardware configurations?

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3 Answers 3

I was wondering if it is possible to create a VMware virtual machine with all the settings etc, and then create some sort of image from this to deploy onto the actual physical machines?

Yes, you always want to do this, it ensures the image is "driverless" and runs on more hardware.

I would rather proceed with Clonezilla. Will Clonezilla be able to handle the difference in hardware configurations?

No. If the hardware is different, Clonezilla can't help much here. You will need to build the reference image in a virtual enviroment, and use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit tp build, capture and deploy the image. This free microsoft tool will allow you to build a "driverless" image that will load on all your hardware and inject drivers dynamically after the image is loaded to the disk.

To work around the different hardware, in the MDT workbench, build a repository for all your drivers in

OS\Architechture\Make\Model

MDT Driver Hirearchy

MDT can only inject the drivers if they match the name found by running

start -> run: msinfo32

After you've stored all your drivers in a format MDT can use to logically filter through, the set a task sequence variable in your task sequence just before inject drivers for a driver path that would in your case be

WinXP\x86\%Make%\%Model%'

This way when lite touch goes to inject drivers, it only uses the drivers you explicitly put in the repository, and you really do have "one image to rule them all"

For more information on how to get MDT up and running, check out this site:

http://www.deploymentresearch.com/Videos/MDT2010LiteTouchUnleashedVideos.aspx

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SmartDeploy Enterprise does exactly this. You can create your reference machine in VMware and then capture it using the Capture Wizard. You can then deploy this image to physical machines in multiple ways such as, DVD, network, WDS, and/or USB.

If you're having driver issues with your different hardware, you can download the matching platform pack for your model and have the drivers install with your deployment.

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Devon, please disclose your affiliation to products you recommend as per the FAQ. Otherwise you'll risk having your posts deleted. –  slhck Sep 1 '11 at 19:48

I think you'd be better off picking one of the ten XP machines, install everything on it and creating a ghost image of that one. Then use the ghost image on the other nine.

For the scenario you describe, Clonezilla and ghost would be very similar. Yes, Clonezilla will clone 41 computers simultaneously, but from my reading of it, the computers will need to be very very similar. Otherwise you'll have driver and configuration problems.

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Well, I have decided to let go of the virtual machine idea for now (mainly because I don't have the time). But I'm still looking forward to answers for the vmware scenario. –  chefsmart Aug 7 '10 at 17:22
    
I think you'd be better off asking another question. –  bryan Aug 7 '10 at 18:49

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