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Windows 7: Imaging strategies


25 Sep 2013   #111

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Ahhh. well without a doubt this would have been far the better option all this time. I was always a little concerned at the build up of the eleven extra files each years worth of backups, this was why I began keeping them in three different places, one of which was never used for anything else. Now of course I understand that I was worried about them being broken although that was a term I had never come across regarding this subject before.

I think you are right though, the time in which I can make an image is comparable to those I used to make of my Windows 98 and XP down in DOS with Drive Image, around 2 minutes so I might as well make full ones. and I've decided to do them once every three months because I do not like change, and my system rarely changes enough to warrant a full backup every month while incrementals sometimes did.

I use GoodSync for all my user files (from my D to the two externals) so that is already sorted.

Your advice and insight has been invaluable, thanks. I've rep'd you for being so helpful.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Sep 2013   #112

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

The advantage of doing a monthly image is that it ties in with Windows update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2013   #113

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
The advantage of doing a monthly image is that it ties in with Windows update.
I totally agree. I do new images right after any updates, or new software installations.
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26 Sep 2013   #114

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Good point. But I only update my OS rarely, perhaps once each quarter.
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26 Sep 2013   #115
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I really see no advantage of doing differentials or incrementals. Disk space is cheap and the imaging can run in the background - thus not using any real time.

Full images are safe and are much easier to manage. I now make a full image of my system partition about twice per week and of the data partition when needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2013   #116

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hi, I have just read whs' initial post on this thread and it is very informative, but I just have a few questions.

Just a little background information, I'm a young IT Professional who's working for a company that is not so big but can't really be considered as a "Small and Medium Enterprise". I have just recently started my employment with this company as an IT Support/IT Assistant. Our department consists of merely 4 employees including myself. One is the Systems Administrator and the other one is the Assistant Systems Administrator and then two IT Assistant's, again, myself included. We mostly refer to our Sys Ad as the most senior in our department, he is also mostly the one responsible for our company's networking with a little help from the Assistant Sys Ad. As for the other IT Assistant and I, we mostly focus on the on-site support for our users. We mostly deal with day to day troubleshooting and other daily tasks.

Anyway, since I started working for this company, I can't help but notice that some of their methodologies and/or strategies can still be improved to lessen our work load specially on busy and hectic days. One of the things I noticed that takes a lot of our time is when a workstation encounters problems and eventually needs a new hard drive or is need of a clean install. What they we/they normally do is reformat and reinstall everything via DVD, which I do find very tedious and time consuming mainly because you still need to change DVDs when installing board drivers, video drivers, and other applications. Although we do have some of the software installers tucked in one of our data servers but still, you have to copy them to the local drive and still install them and wait for them to finish.

Now, I do know for a fact that this can be done since I have tried it and witnessed it. I have worked on two bigger companies as an IT Support Intern that had way more computers and a much larger IT Department and what they used to do there instead of reformatting and reinstalling every single software and/or drivers, they both used images of one computer from a certain department and stored it on their servers and they just pulled it up whenever a computer needs a clean wipe instead of doing all of it manually. The only problem is I do not have the specific knowledge nor experience to handle a project this big and this is why I'm here in hopes of some of you experienced IT Professionals can help and give me some advice regarding this matter.

I also have a couple of questions on my mind about how all this imaging thing works, and here they are:

a. First of all, when imaging, what exactly does happen to the OS's Serial Number/Product Key? Will we get any problems if we just image one computer with a different serial and then restore that image on another computer? We mostly use Windows 7 Professional and Windows XP Professional, but we have more Win 7 Pro PC's than Win XP.

b. In an office environment, where would be the best place to store them that would be easy enough for us to access, a server perhaps? or an external drive? What are it's pros and cons

c. We use custom built computers that mostly have different hardware, meaning, different hardware. It means if we might have more than 3 images for certain PC builds, with this being said, would my idea of imaging systems would still be a good idea or would it be more of an hassle for me and my colleagues?

d. Lastly, since we do use custom built PC's with mostly different hardware, and if you think that this idea would just provide more headache and hassle could you recommend other ways in where I can pursue this basic idea?

That would be my questions for now and I would certainly follow up when I do think of other questions. Thank you so much in advance.

- Synth
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25 Nov 2013   #117
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I think you are right. The way they are doing it is antiquated. Imaging is the way to go.

For your company you need the Macrium Pro version. But that should not be a problem. For prices see here:

http://www.macrium.com/business.aspx

a) You would use the 'Server Redeploy' function for that - see here:

http://www.macrium.com/pages/features.aspx

Not sure though whether you have to put the product key in again. I don't have that setup and never used that function.

b) You can use either one. Whatever is easiest to access.

c) In Macrium, the imaging can be scheduled. No manual intervention would be required. The images will be made at the day and time you specify - provided the system is running.

d) This can easily be done with the Redeploy function.

http://kb.macrium.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50144.aspx
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2013   #118

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks for this!!

I shall read more about Macrium then and prolly pitch the idea to one of my seniors.

Btw, just one more thing, about the serials again? How would that work exactly? I mean would there be issues with that?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2013   #119
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I don't think there would be an issue as long as you have the product key. But as I said, the detailed mechanism I don't know. Why don't you send a mail to Macrium and ask.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2013   #120

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Will do! Will read more and ask questions about it! Thank yo so much for this!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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