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Installing pc's

Last response: in Business Computing
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December 3, 2012 6:02:10 PM

we recently started a small business. Problem is, a lott of home users for whome we need to reinstall the pc's.
Problem is, renstalling a pc,making a backup, installing the os(xp,vista,7,...) with drivers is t much work. So i looked for imaging software(acronis,wds,...) but they are to expensive or overdone.
Anyone with some info for me? How do other small itcompany's install their customer pc's??
Now we are using dvd's for every os.

More about : installing

December 3, 2012 6:06:04 PM

Hi :) 

I own computer shops and we build custom machines for businesses and home customers...

If its an expensive machine , we install for free, if not we charge £60 per hour to install....

We install all software individually as all machines are different, images do not really work well enough unless all your machines are identical (unlikely)

If you are reinstalling OS or software on a customers machine, then make sure you CHARGE for it....we charge £100 as standard...



All the best Brett :) 
December 3, 2012 6:21:52 PM

Symantec Ghost or use Microsofts sysprep and ImageX. Ghost isn't free but it's easier to use than sysprep.
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December 3, 2012 6:37:47 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

I own computer shops and we build custom machines for businesses and home customers...

If its an expensive machine , we install for free, if not we charge £60 per hour to install....

We install all software individually as all machines are different, images do not really work well enough unless all your machines are identical (unlikely)

If you are reinstalling OS or software on a customers machine, then make sure you CHARGE for it....we charge £100 as standard...



All the best Brett :) 


Hi Brett,

many thanks for the reply. We charge less, 75 euro's(withiut taxes21 %). backup included. problem is that finding the right drivers and finding te right ios(sometimes key doesnt work) is a hell of a job
December 3, 2012 6:39:22 PM

DeadRam said:
Symantec Ghost or use Microsofts sysprep and ImageX. Ghost isn't free but it's easier to use than sysprep.



Ghost? Does it still exist? I did check acronis snap eploy but its too expensive.
Also, about the ghost part, how do you create your images and publish them to clients? And what with different hardware?
December 3, 2012 6:46:06 PM

Are you building the systems or are you working on a variety of systems purchased elsewhere?

If you are building the systems you can create a driver repository for your hardware. If you have unknown hardware, there really isn't an easy way of doing it. If there was, you wouldn't have a business. :D 
December 3, 2012 6:49:14 PM

You may need to keep a copy of their individual machine stored somewhere. Finding correct diivers and such can sometimes take a an hour or two on some machines.
You may need to load their recovery partition after saving all of their data. Then make a copy after that.
December 3, 2012 6:56:10 PM

enkidoe said:
Ghost? Does it still exist? I did check acronis snap eploy but its too expensive.
Also, about the ghost part, how do you create your images and publish them to clients? And what with different hardware?



Yes, Symantic Ghost still exists. http://buy.symantec.com/estore/mf/categoryHomePage?defa...
December 3, 2012 7:05:08 PM

enkidoe said:
Hi Brett,

many thanks for the reply. We charge less, 75 euro's(withiut taxes21 %). backup included. problem is that finding the right drivers and finding te right ios(sometimes key doesnt work) is a hell of a job



Hi :) 

Thats NOT enough money for a reload...

Example.... lets say a machine has a crashed hard drive...

So..new hard drive, we would charge say £59 for the drive and £100 in labour to load OS + DRIVERS + ALL WINDOWS UPDATES....

Now for actual times....

LOAD XP including ALL 3 service packs and all updates after those... will take at LEAST 4 HOURS (WE CHARGE FOR 2 =£100)

LOAD VISTA including 2 service packs and all updates after those ... will take at LEAST 4 hours (we charge for 2 =£100)

LOAD 7 including SP1 and all other updates ...will take at least 3 hours (we charge for 2 =£100)

So you MUST NOT UNDERCHARGE...

Oh and if no key or not readable...then you charge for a BRAND NEW LEGAL copy of xp/vista/7 etc...

All the best Brett :) 
December 3, 2012 7:07:37 PM

For multiple disparate hardware, I use Sysprep and Clonezilla.
Anonymous
December 3, 2012 10:17:09 PM

DeadRam said:
Symantec Ghost or use Microsofts sysprep and ImageX. Ghost isn't free but it's easier to use than sysprep.



Sysprep is a tool for preparing an installation to be imaged, it's not an imaging product on its own.
Anonymous
December 3, 2012 10:20:08 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 


LOAD XP including ALL 3 service packs and all updates after those... will take at LEAST 4 HOURS (WE CHARGE FOR 2 =£100)

LOAD VISTA including 2 service packs and all updates after those ... will take at LEAST 4 hours (we charge for 2 =£100)

LOAD 7 including SP1 and all other updates ...will take at least 3 hours (we charge for 2 =£100)

All the best Brett :) 


You load each service pack individually? Then updates between? Then the next service pack? .... Why?
December 3, 2012 10:49:44 PM

Quote:
You load each service pack individually? Then updates between? Then the next service pack? .... Why?



Hi :) 

Sometimes we do , sometimes we don't, I was making it simple for the OP...

It depends on keys as to whether we can load WITH service packs or not, some manufacturers discs will only activate on XP SP1 as an example... that leaves 2 more sps to install, either from disc or download...

It gets very complicated when we are not just doing a straight windows install , particularly with lappies and manufacturers discs...or recovery partitions...

The OP will learn from experience which will work and at which stage...

All the best Brett :) 

Anonymous
December 3, 2012 11:01:34 PM

I knew there was a reason I didn't want to do retail and repair.
December 3, 2012 11:07:51 PM

Quote:
I knew there was a reason I didn't want to do retail and repair.


Hi :) 

Its one of those things you learn with time and experience...(usually bad experience lol)

Like spending hours loading a machine and then finding it not only will not activate, but MS wont play ball on the activation line :( 

So you start it all again...you soon learn which works and which doesn't...lol

All the best Brett :) 
December 3, 2012 11:11:57 PM

Quote:
Sysprep is a tool for preparing an installation to be imaged, it's not an imaging product on its own.



That's why they included ImageX; SysPrep is used along with ImageX for the task.
December 3, 2012 11:15:20 PM

So you charge by the hour of work, yet you click a button and wait two hours and charge for that waiting time?
December 3, 2012 11:37:35 PM

getochkn said:
So you charge by the hour of work, yet you click a button and wait two hours and charge for that waiting time?



Hi :) 

If that was aimed at me and my company... you don't click a button and wait...

Have you ever loaded as an example XP, PLUS ALL ITS DRIVERS, plus EVERY update from no service packs to sp3 and all updates after it ???

Obviously not I think....

That will usually take 4 to 5 hours OF WORK, for which we charge 2 hours...


All the best Brett :) 

December 4, 2012 1:38:53 AM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

If that was aimed at me and my company... you don't click a button and wait...

Have you ever loaded as an example XP, PLUS ALL ITS DRIVERS, plus EVERY update from no service packs to sp3 and all updates after it ???

Obviously not I think....

That will usually take 4 to 5 hours OF WORK, for which we charge 2 hours...


All the best Brett :) 



I totally agree; It is a LOT of work and correct on the amount of time (it can take longer if there are ANY problems); Vista is the same way since it has been out for like 6 years or so also.
December 4, 2012 2:05:28 AM

Brett,

I've built probably 60 PCs over the past 10-12 years, and we have six desktops in the house and five laptops (family of six), plus I support family and friends. I have discovered, the hard way, that Windows XP licenses are keyed to the service pack (or no SP). When I get a PC, such as an old Dell, for which the hard drive has crashed, I have to guess which version of Windows XP it shipped with, and install it and try the Dell license key. If it works, great! If not, format and try XP with SP1, and on and on until I figure out which SP the key will work for. Very irritating. Do you know if Windows 7 has the same issues? Are the license keys keyed to the service pack (either none or SP1)? I mainly work on PCs of people who are poor and have old ones, so I haven't had to deal with this issue with Win 7.
December 4, 2012 1:37:21 PM

I have to agree with what Brett is saying here, you really can't just cut corners on a lot of this stuff with some software. Yes, we use imaging tools like Acronis and CloneZilla at our computer office quite frequently, but it's more often to do a backup of a system. There are only certain environments and businesses which have several identical computer systems which will be configured identically. Most of the times every computer system is going to be a little different and thus it's going to be a clean install on each system.

I'm trying to learn the OPK system for Windows 7/8 but honestly have just not had the time to play with it as much.

At our shop, a new computer is installed with Windows 7/8 free of charge, it's figured into the cost of the computer system and setup. Even pre-built computers like HP ProBooks that we order in we will usually do a reinstallation of Windows 7 and get all the latest drivers, updates, and base software set up without all the unnecessary utilities and tools. It just takes time. However, someone who has an existing computer that needs a reinstall can get pretty pricy, as it will usually be a 2 to 3 hour expense just to get Windows back on their computer with all the latest updates and base software. That doesn't include the time of transferring their old personal data back to the computer, setting up additional programs, networking, etc.

It's because of this expense that we rarely do any Windows XP reinstallations anymore. Because of it's age, and that many of the computers running Windows XP are now old and under-powered for many people's needs, that we come to a cost/benefit evaluation on the computer. Basically, is this computer that is probably at least four or five years old worth the $200 - $300 that it is going to cost to reinstall Windows XP, or would you rather invest that money into a brand new computer that is giving you a brand new OS, brand new hardware that is more powerful and under all new warranty?

Mbreslin, I just this weekend ran across an issue with Windows 7 SP licensing that was kind of strange, I've never really had the issue before now. We worked on an office with about six computers all currently running Windows 7 Professional. Half of the computers had licensing for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit OEM (No SP1) and half of the computers had licensing for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit OEM with SP1. We have all their original installation disks and COAs. They wanted to reinstall everything on their computers to get everything cleaned up and updated. For sake of time we tried to install all of the computers with their original licenses but using the installation disks with SP1 included. On those computers without the SP1 licensing, the license would NOT work during the first part of the initial installation. However, once we had the computer up and running, we were able to go into the activation wizard and enter the license key again and it worked fine.
December 4, 2012 4:57:59 PM

mbreslin1954 said:
Brett,

I've built probably 60 PCs over the past 10-12 years, and we have six desktops in the house and five laptops (family of six), plus I support family and friends. I have discovered, the hard way, that Windows XP licenses are keyed to the service pack (or no SP). When I get a PC, such as an old Dell, for which the hard drive has crashed, I have to guess which version of Windows XP it shipped with, and install it and try the Dell license key. If it works, great! If not, format and try XP with SP1, and on and on until I figure out which SP the key will work for. Very irritating. Do you know if Windows 7 has the same issues? Are the license keys keyed to the service pack (either none or SP1)? I mainly work on PCs of people who are poor and have old ones, so I haven't had to deal with this issue with Win 7.



Hi :) 

Because of our experiences with xp and vista we dont risk it with 7....

We use the key with either sp1 or no sp depending on machine....

Sooner or later one of my guys or girls will make a mistake with 7 and I will find out lol...

All the best Brett :) 
January 10, 2013 10:23:09 PM

I use Driver Genius to find all my drivers after a re-install. Been using it for well over a year now and only had a few cases where it downloaded the wrong driver. We must do a good 10 installs per week so that's not bad.

Then I use Ninite to install all of the usual programs. It has a good selection of programs and you simply select the ones you want then it compiles an installer. Run the installer and it installs them all in one go, unattended! It is amazing and free! The paid version also lets you cache the installers locally so you don't have to keep re-downloading them.

I did look into slipstreaming windows updates into the install disk with RT7Lite but I never got round to actually doing it. You can also use it to create an answer sheet to automate the install.

We have also created some bootable USB sticks to use instead of DVD's. The install goes a fair bit faster but not all systems support booting from USB so we still need the disks quite often. Win7 USB Creator

Not sure how much that will help. It's just how I do things in our shop.
!