Looking to move employees over to a domain, need help with how to clone PCs

By stensland ยท 9 replies
Sep 23, 2010
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  1. So I've been given a new project at my place of work, cloning PCs (Mostly XP, and some Windows 7) and then moving them to a domain. My boss was explaining it to me, as well as work with virtual machines, but my knowledge in this field is limited at best. I was hoping I could get some advice on the matters of virtual machines and cloning PCs, or even a crash course in layman's terms.


    Edit: Reading into the post by Phantasm 66 right now on VMs
  2. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    What? You want to join their machines to the domain? That requires no cloning of machines - maybe copying profiles over to the domain profile - but not whole machines.
  3. stensland

    stensland TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 52

    That's what I was told, maybe it was a miscommunication. But they specifically said to have user profiles they wanted machines cloned and put onto the domain. They are looking to have it so each employee can access all of their data on any machine that can access the servers. We have too many PC issues which require new PCs to be purchased (steel dust does that to the innards of PCs) and we lose a lot of work from time to time.
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    It sounds to me like you need to join all the machines to a domain and redirect home folders to a network server. This is not nearly as time consuming as cloning all the machines.
  5. stensland

    stensland TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 52

    He just said he is going to show me what we are doing, I'll post to resolve the issue if I get it.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,158   +986

    the cloning and then joining the domain is an approach to delivering a standard image to all desktops.

    every PC then has exactly the same software.

    the process goes like this
    1. install the OS on the reference machine
    2. configure it
    3. join it to the domain
    4. install all the Apps and configure each
    5. disconnect all networks so as to not capture that configuration
    6. clone that system to an image
    That image becomes your standard distribution for any new machine.
    The new system is created from the standard distribution ,
    the user-login is created, and the system joined to the domain.
    The Domain Controller will then apply the proper GPOs to each new system.

    The TRAP here is every PC must be exactly like the reference machine,
    eg: processor, devices. Memory size doesn't matter.

    The virtual machine approach (specifically, the Virtual Desktop) is different in that
    the configuration is fetched from the domain.

    You can google Virtual Desktop for details
  7. stensland

    stensland TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 52

    Jobeard, what would happen if the machines were different? Say even different operating systems.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,158   +986

    you need a seperate reference machine for each variation in
    • the hardware platform,
      • Toshiba vs Viao vs Dell
      • Laptop vs Desktop
      • model numbers
      due to OEM specific devices
    • device differences
      say PCI cards in a desktop
    • OS variations
    These issues also apply to your Disaster Recovery Plan, as reimaging is frequently an approach to recovery, eg Ghost and/or True Image products.
  9. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    I'm sorry - I misunderstood and thought he had to clone the already running machine images - not drop an image. If the hardware isn't too different from each other then building a "universal" sysprep'd/generalized image shouldn't be too bad. This will be much easier if you go all Windows 7.
  10. stensland

    stensland TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 52

    We are currently working on moving over to Windows 7, but transition is slow. And for some half the machines on the network there is no way the machines will run Windows 7 seeing as they are Windows 95 Machines. We wont be upgrading them either seeing as to buy new PCs makes no sense what so ever for an industrial steel fabrication facility where the machines near the cutting areas are so caked with steel dust that they go bad on a semi constant basis :/

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