Making Ghost images with Knoppix

From Slashdot – The Cost of Computer Naivete

Making ghost images (Score:5, Informative)
by Alioth (221270) <dyls@alioth.net> on Monday August 16, @11:48AM (#9981204)
(http://www.alioth.net/ | Last Journal: Sunday June 19, @05:17PM)

You don’t need any stinking non-Free software to make ghost images.

Here’s how you do it:

0. Set up a recipient (either a second hard disk, a machine on the network – whatever – I do it over the network)
1. Boot Knoppix on the machine you want to ghost.
2. Mount the destination.
3. dd if=/dev/hda bs=128K | gzip > /path/to/image.gz

To restore:
0. Set up the source.
1. Boot Knoppix on the machine you want to install.
3. Mount the source.
4. gzip -dc /path/to/image.gz | dd of=/dev/hda bs=128K

Tips: Overwrite any free space on the machine you want to ghost with a huge file filled with 0x00, then delete the file. The disk image will compress much better as you’ve scrubbed the deleted files.

I use a system like this to ghost many machines at a time (an image server can easily deal out 30+ images at once). It’d cost a fortune to license many copies of ghosting software – with Knoppix and a very small shell script, I’ve got an automated system which will do many machines at once. (A typical 40GB fresh WinXP install with our apps compresses to under 1GB with gzip).
If you’re doing WinXP, remember to either make a Sysprep build or use something like System Internals free (open source but not truly free) tool to change the SID and hostname of the machine when it’s booted the first time. (This is the approach we use due to the limitations of sysprep).

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