Replacement hard drives for an internet cafe or computer classroom



Kenneth Grome
07-09-2005, 11:29 PM
Greetings,

I hope someone can help me with this, it was a no-brainer when I was dealing
with Apple computers but I don't know how to duplicate that kind of
convenience with Windows.

What I'm looking for is a way to create a "master" hard drive that I can
duplicate whenever I need to ... so I can install the duplicate in a computer
when its drive has gone bad, or the operating system has failed, or a virus
needs to be removed.

I would like to do what I used to do on the MacOS, but with Windows of course:

1- Start with a "master drive" that has the current version of XP Pro SP2
already properly installed, with all its updates, and with all the other
software my computers will need pre-installed on the drive.

2- Duplicate the master drive to another drive so I can have the duplicate
drive "ready and waiting" to replace any of the drives in the internet cafe
or computer classroom that might need to be replaced at any time.

3- When a drive needs to be replaced, I remove it and immediately install
the duplicate drive that I had "waiting in the wings", thus that computer
will be up and running again in only a few minutes.

4- Then I can reformat the bad drive, copy everything from the master drive
to this cleanly reformatted 'duplicate' drive -- and once again I have a
spare drive already configured exactly as needed, just waiting to replace the
next drive that has a problem in the internet cafe or computer classroom.

If anyone here knows a way that I can accomplish this goal, please tell me
how, because I desparately need a solution to this problem if there is one
available. Thanks in advance for your help!

Sincerely,
Kenneth Grome

Pegasus \(MVP\)
07-09-2005, 11:29 PM
"Kenneth Grome" <KennethGrome@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:C2AF8928-0F21-451D-9DD6-B35BC04876D8@microsoft.com...
> Greetings,
>
> I hope someone can help me with this, it was a no-brainer when I was
dealing
> with Apple computers but I don't know how to duplicate that kind of
> convenience with Windows.
>
> What I'm looking for is a way to create a "master" hard drive that I can
> duplicate whenever I need to ... so I can install the duplicate in a
computer
> when its drive has gone bad, or the operating system has failed, or a
virus
> needs to be removed.
>
> I would like to do what I used to do on the MacOS, but with Windows of
course:
>
> 1- Start with a "master drive" that has the current version of XP Pro SP2
> already properly installed, with all its updates, and with all the other
> software my computers will need pre-installed on the drive.
>
> 2- Duplicate the master drive to another drive so I can have the duplicate
> drive "ready and waiting" to replace any of the drives in the internet
cafe
> or computer classroom that might need to be replaced at any time.
>
> 3- When a drive needs to be replaced, I remove it and immediately install
> the duplicate drive that I had "waiting in the wings", thus that computer
> will be up and running again in only a few minutes.
>
> 4- Then I can reformat the bad drive, copy everything from the master
drive
> to this cleanly reformatted 'duplicate' drive -- and once again I have a
> spare drive already configured exactly as needed, just waiting to replace
the
> next drive that has a problem in the internet cafe or computer classroom.
>
> If anyone here knows a way that I can accomplish this goal, please tell me
> how, because I desparately need a solution to this problem if there is one
> available. Thanks in advance for your help!
>
> Sincerely,
> Kenneth Grome
>
>
>

Most partition imaging programs can do this, e.g. Acronis,
Ghost, PowerQuest. I usually use Acronis TrueImage.

Ken Blake
07-09-2005, 11:29 PM
In news:C2AF8928-0F21-451D-9DD6-B35BC04876D8@microsoft.com,
Kenneth Grome <KennethGrome@discussions.microsoft.com> typed:

> Greetings,
>
> I hope someone can help me with this, it was a no-brainer when
> I was
> dealing with Apple computers but I don't know how to duplicate
> that
> kind of convenience with Windows.
>
> What I'm looking for is a way to create a "master" hard drive
> that I
> can duplicate whenever I need to ... so I can install the
> duplicate
> in a computer when its drive has gone bad, or the operating
> system
> has failed, or a virus needs to be removed.
>
> I would like to do what I used to do on the MacOS, but with
> Windows
> of course:
>
> 1- Start with a "master drive" that has the current version of
> XP Pro
> SP2 already properly installed, with all its updates, and with
> all
> the other software my computers will need pre-installed on the
> drive.
>
> 2- Duplicate the master drive to another drive so I can have
> the
> duplicate drive "ready and waiting" to replace any of the
> drives in
> the internet cafe or computer classroom that might need to be
> replaced at any time.
>
> 3- When a drive needs to be replaced, I remove it and
> immediately
> install
> the duplicate drive that I had "waiting in the wings", thus
> that
> computer will be up and running again in only a few minutes.
>
> 4- Then I can reformat the bad drive, copy everything from the
> master
> drive to this cleanly reformatted 'duplicate' drive -- and once
> again
> I have a spare drive already configured exactly as needed, just
> waiting to replace the next drive that has a problem in the
> internet
> cafe or computer classroom.
>
> If anyone here knows a way that I can accomplish this goal,
> please
> tell me how, because I desparately need a solution to this
> problem if
> there is one available. Thanks in advance for your help!


You need disk cloning software to do this. Choices include Norton
Ghost, Acronis True Image, etc.

--
Ken Blake - Microsoft MVP Windows: Shell/User
Please reply to the newsgroup

Curmudgeon
07-09-2005, 11:29 PM
Kenneth Grome wrote:

> What I'm looking for is a way to create a "master" hard
> drive that I can duplicate whenever I need to ... so I
> can install the duplicate in a computer when its drive
> has gone bad, or the operating system has failed, or a
> virus needs to be removed.

Install a second internal hard drive, use one of the various imaging
programs to periodically clone the main drive to it (Acronis True Image
HIGHLY recommended), and wait for a problem.

Won't even have to physically change drives, just tell the BIOS to boot
from the new one.

Anna
07-09-2005, 11:30 PM
"Kenneth Grome" <KennethGrome@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:C2AF8928-0F21-451D-9DD6-B35BC04876D8@microsoft.com...
> Greetings,
>
> I hope someone can help me with this, it was a no-brainer when I was
> dealing
> with Apple computers but I don't know how to duplicate that kind of
> convenience with Windows.
>
> What I'm looking for is a way to create a "master" hard drive that I can
> duplicate whenever I need to ... so I can install the duplicate in a
> computer
> when its drive has gone bad, or the operating system has failed, or a
> virus
> needs to be removed.
>
> I would like to do what I used to do on the MacOS, but with Windows of
> course:
>
> 1- Start with a "master drive" that has the current version of XP Pro SP2
> already properly installed, with all its updates, and with all the other
> software my computers will need pre-installed on the drive.
>
> 2- Duplicate the master drive to another drive so I can have the duplicate
> drive "ready and waiting" to replace any of the drives in the internet
> cafe
> or computer classroom that might need to be replaced at any time.
>
> 3- When a drive needs to be replaced, I remove it and immediately install
> the duplicate drive that I had "waiting in the wings", thus that computer
> will be up and running again in only a few minutes.
>
> 4- Then I can reformat the bad drive, copy everything from the master
> drive
> to this cleanly reformatted 'duplicate' drive -- and once again I have a
> spare drive already configured exactly as needed, just waiting to replace
> the
> next drive that has a problem in the internet cafe or computer classroom.
>
> If anyone here knows a way that I can accomplish this goal, please tell me
> how, because I desparately need a solution to this problem if there is one
> available. Thanks in advance for your help!
>
> Sincerely,
> Kenneth Grome


Kenneth:
One practical way to achieve your objective in a Windows environment is to
configure the computer with two removable hard drives. This hardware
configuration is designed for a desktop computer (not a laptop/notebook) and
you need two available (vacant) 5 1/4" bays to house the mobile racks
containing the removable hard drives.

These mobile rack devices are two-part affairs -- the rack itself which is
affixed to the computer case (installed like any other 5 1/4" component,
e.g., a CD-ROM) and the removable tray or caddy containing the HD that
slides in & out of the rack.

Using this hardware arrangement and a disk imaging program such as
Symantec's Ghost or Acronis True Image, you can easily clone your HD from
one removable drive to the other, resulting in a bit-for-bit copy of your
source disk. The process is simple, reasonably quick, and effective.

If you're interested in this type of configuration, so indicate and I'll be
glad to furnish more details as to the hardware, setup, and process.
Anna

Kenneth Grome
07-09-2005, 11:30 PM
Hello Everyone,

Thanks for your prompt and informative replies. It seems that Acronis True
Image is well liked by the folks who responded here, and others such as
Symantic's Norton Ghost are also possible solutions.

I have an old copy of Ghost that a client gave me a long time ago, but I
didn't even know it had drive or partition mirroring capabilities, so now I
know. I may try it before buying a new copy of Acronis because it's free,
and if it does the job then maybe I won't even need Acronis.

I already have two of those cartridge-type hard drive housings you mentioned
Anna, one on the server and another in one of the workstations. I may get
some more, one for each of the other workstations, then I can swap hard
drives quickly and easily -- thanks for the suggestion!

Sincerely,
Kenneth Grome

Kerry Brown
07-09-2005, 11:30 PM
"Kenneth Grome" <KennethGrome@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:DE930AB3-4F70-4BD0-B850-F9FB24593201@microsoft.com...
> Hello Everyone,
>
> Thanks for your prompt and informative replies. It seems that Acronis
> True
> Image is well liked by the folks who responded here, and others such as
> Symantic's Norton Ghost are also possible solutions.
>
> I have an old copy of Ghost that a client gave me a long time ago, but I
> didn't even know it had drive or partition mirroring capabilities, so now
> I
> know. I may try it before buying a new copy of Acronis because it's free,
> and if it does the job then maybe I won't even need Acronis.
>
> I already have two of those cartridge-type hard drive housings you
> mentioned
> Anna, one on the server and another in one of the workstations. I may get
> some more, one for each of the other workstations, then I can swap hard
> drives quickly and easily -- thanks for the suggestion!
>
> Sincerely,
> Kenneth Grome
>

One caveat to this approach. All the computers must have exactly the same
hardware configuration. You will need an image for each computer that has a
different configuration. If all the computers are not identical a better
approach would be network aware imaging software and image each computer to
a network share. If you need to restore a drive you would restore the
appropriate image from the network share. Another method would be to have a
USB drive large enough to hold all the images. Personally with the low price
of hard drives I would install a second drive in each computer and be done
with it.

Kerry

Kenneth Grome
07-09-2005, 11:30 PM
> One caveat to this approach. All the computers must have exactly the same
> hardware configuration.

Does this include RAM? If so, why would the number of RAM modules or their
brand make any difference? Or were you referring to other hardware such as
LAN cards or other hardware that require specific drivers in order to
function properly?

Kerry Brown
07-09-2005, 11:30 PM
"Kenneth Grome" <KennethGrome@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:DEF00931-1865-482A-96FD-121D2659AD82@microsoft.com...
>> One caveat to this approach. All the computers must have exactly the same
>> hardware configuration.
>
> Does this include RAM? If so, why would the number of RAM modules or
> their
> brand make any difference? Or were you referring to other hardware such
> as
> LAN cards or other hardware that require specific drivers in order to
> function properly?

Ram and hard drives shouldn't make a difference unless the hard drive type
is different e.g IDE vs SCSI, PATA vs SATA. Just about everything else will
matter, motherboard, video card, network card, etc. CPU within the same
family should be OK if the motherboard is the same. e.g. Celeron or P4 on
the same motherboard would probably be OK unless the P4 had hyperthreading.
There are too many variables. It is easier and safer to have an image for
each pc. Over time a pc may be upgraded/repaired with different components.
You should create new images whenever something changes or any OS or program
updates are installed. That's why I suggested a network or dual drive in
each pc solution. You could run an automated image with no user interaction
on a regular basis. The only thing you would have to do is verify the images
once in a while to make sure it was working.

Kerry


Replacement hard drives for an internet cafe or computer classroom