Imaging Windows 2000 Professional
Windows 2000 Professional ‘officially’ supports the use of third-party tools such as Ghost or DriveImage to create binary disk images. In the past imaging was relevant, but we needed to change the computername after imaging, and then use a SID-changing utility to erase and recreate the identifier. Windows 2000 provides a pre-imaging utility to help make the process much easier called Sysprep. (found on the CD in the support\tools directory in a file called deploy.cab). Without going in a tremendous amount of detail, first you create your desktop build, configure it exactly as you want it including software and settings, and then run Sysprep.exe. This will remove the SID and other unique system settings. Now you’re ready to use Ghost or your favorite disk-imaging tool to create an image.
After you deploy the image to other machines, a mini setup program will run asking you for information such as a unique computer name, company name, product ID and so forth. If you find answering the majority these questions over and over too much trouble, you can create a file called Sysprep.inf using Setup Manager, a tool we’ll look at soon. The SIDs will be recreated after system startup, and you’re off to the races. Two important or interesting things regarding Sysprep:
- A Sysprep switch, -pnp, forces the system to detect plug-and-play compatible hardware on the target systems. This is especially useful if your hardware (such as video cards) is not identical.
- The follow up note on this: you cannot place an image created on a system with one HAL or disk controller on a system with a different one. For example, an image created on an ACPI-based system will not function on an APM system.