In my office environment its ok to just ghost the drive for data recovery and such on the same machine. But ghost can only support 1 machine type. Using the MS Sysprep to move the image onto another hard drive/system helps a little. But if i gotta change the setup on the software installation, that image is outta the window in 5 secs.
Looking at all the other solutions/software out there (Symantec Ghost Solution Suite, Acronis, KBOX) was a nightmare; they either used hardware based systems not available in my country and cost too bloody much or use the same Disk Imaging+MS Sysprep method that i can do for free with abit of headache on my side.
Then i came across IBM's ImageUltra Builder. Looks like a great little program in a sense that it deploys (NOT IMAGES) and configures/installs my choice of OS & software automatically for me (with minimal interaction). Problem is the price tag of US$500. The demo's fine for network testing, but my company would prefer a DVD/USB/HDD media deployment method.
Until i saw this on the Micro$oft site
M$ just recently released (for FREE(!), i know; shocking) quite a few apps; Business Desktop Deployment (BDD), Windows System Imaging Manager (SIM), User State Migration Tool and Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK). Reading through the docu. was utter nightmare. Its one thing knowing about unattend.txt/xml and silent MSI install scripts; its another getting it all together in this package.
So what's all this mean? Basically i'm looking for a software like IBM's ImageUltra, or somebody point me as to where/how to read/use/understand and deploy my above software setup using Microsoft's free AIK WITHOUT using imaging since i'm constantly updating/patching the setup every 2 months or so.
PS - If the helps somewhere in this forum i couldnt find it.......
More about :windows aik automated installation kit
You need to start by acquiring a the image of your machine with applications already installed on it in a wim file. You will first run sysprep, select oobe, then generalize, and shutdown. Boot from PE boot CD then verify the drive. Find the drive where imagex is on, switch to that drive to capture OS on drive C then store the wim somewheres. an example would be to store it on a D drive. "Imagex /compress fast /check /capture C: D:\win7img.wim “Windows 7 Ultimate” “Win7 and Ofc 2007”. next confirm the wim is on D. Shutdown. Then use WAIK to deploy the image...you can find a lot of info on that by google'ing it. But I hope that help you get past the first steps.