Windows 7 image partition

May 16, 2011 at 11:44:45
Specs: Windows 7
I work for a large public school district. We are considering a project were we will be passing out a laptop to every student in our Jr. High schools. Something I would like to do is have a boot partition on the hard drives with 1 partition having the OS (windows 7 in this case) and the other partition having a hard drive image such as a ghost image. About 15 years ago I worked at a university were we did just that. A student would turn on a PC and get a boot menu. Then they would select 1 to go into Windows 95 or 2 to "Clean the HD" which would open ghost and apply the image to the win 95 partition.

Does anyone know what a modern solution would be to doing this? Just so you know I'm not interested in keeping the student data safe on the laptop because they will be using a network drive to save their data. We just want something in place so that when (not if - lol) a student trashes a build, they can fix it themselves.

See More: Windows 7 image partition

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May 16, 2011 at 12:33:09
Are you buying bare laptops or pre-installed Windows 7? Are you installing additional third party software?

Most laptop brands already come with a restore partition on the laptop. That works if you don't need additional software besides what comes from the vendor. Usually cheaper that way too.

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May 16, 2011 at 13:48:15
Or sandbox it so you can simply delete the sandboxed data to return.

They still use types of ghost. Problem is that it was dos based and had a hard time keeping up with hardware issues. Most have gone to either a WinPE image format or some linux/bsd image or a commercial product such as Acronis.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

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May 16, 2011 at 15:19:36
i think what you need is microsoft's vmware software

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May 16, 2011 at 15:22:55
Some, if not all, versions of Windows 7 have a backup program built-in.

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May 17, 2011 at 05:03:59
OtheHill, We are installing custom software and configuration (such as domain connection) to the laptops so using a factory image partition is not the answer but that is sort of what I'm looking for. That kind of operation would fit the bill but we need to be able to create the image ourselves NOT the factory.

Jefro, I've not heard of sandbox. Who makes it? can you give me a link? I have also thought about the winpe or using windows deployment services but if a student takes a laptop home, then they won't be able to PXE boot to the WDS server.

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May 17, 2011 at 05:54:49
As I stated, Windows 7 has a built in backup/ restore function.

Are you looking to just restore to what you originally installed or to also save user generated work?

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May 17, 2011 at 07:24:00
I don't want the user to generate the backup reason being that if the backup a screwedup os then restoring would do them no good.

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May 17, 2011 at 09:52:11
Below is a link to Windows 7 product comparison. Also an excerpt from my Windows 7 help files explaining what an image is.

You have a couple of options. Users could simply use the restore function to copy the image back to the boot partition from a second partition.

Or you could have them use the network to access an image to restore the boot partition. The advantage of the second method would be that advanced users could backup their personal files to a second partition.

Third option would be to create 3 partitions. First for OS, second for restore image, third for backup of personal files.

I would prefer the third. You would need to protect the image on the second partition so users could not modify it. They would be able to backup their personal work and any third party software they have installed.

Copies of Windows 7 would be cheaper if you can use a lesser version. Sounds like you may need Professional anyway. I suggest you speak with someone in sales at Microsoft about volume licensing or Windows 7.

Hope this helps.

What is a system image?
A system image is an exact copy of a drive. By default, a system image includes the drives required for Windows to run. It also includes Windows and your system settings, programs, and files. You can use a system image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard drive or computer ever stops working. When you restore your computer from a system image, it's a complete restoration; you can't choose individual items to restore, and all of your current programs, system settings, and files are replaced with the contents of the system image.
Although this type of backup includes your personal files, we recommend that you back up your files regularly using Windows Backup so that you can restore individual files and folders as needed. When you set up Windows Backup, you can let Windows choose what to back up, which will include a system image, or you can select the items that you want to back up and whether you want to include a system image. For more information about setting up Windows Backup, see Back up your files.
If your computer contains several drives or partitions, you can create a system image that includes all of them by following the steps in Back up your programs, system settings, and files.

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May 17, 2011 at 10:16:09
Schools have been using Deep Freeze for years successfully.

Jr High kids with laptops? Guess the folks that decided on this never had kids with cell phones. Know how many I replaced as a parent with two kids? A lot. Laptop? Phones survive drops a whole lot better then laptops do.

Answers are only as good as the information you provide.
How to properly post a question:
Sorry no tech support via PM's

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May 17, 2011 at 11:33:55
I had the same thoughts but these laptops won't have CD drive's nor will they have normal hard drives. They are getting SS drives. So there are no moving parts involved. Also we are purchasing insurance from the vendor (dell or hp they are still bidding project).

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May 17, 2011 at 11:38:42
By the way. Deep freeze is nice but once a student reboots their data or profile is gone. It's true that I did say we are going to put thier files on a network storage solution (SAN probably), but they will also need to be able to keep data locally for off line use. Can Deep Freeze be configured to not to apply the image unless requested to do so?

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May 17, 2011 at 11:40:18
"They are getting SS drives. So there are no moving parts involved."

But many times, when a laptop is dropped, other things (such as video) suffer the consequences.

Self-admittedly, being from an era where PC's weren't even around in college, I have an extremely hard time relating to the "need" for a laptop for junior-high. Somehow that just seems to beg for trouble.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

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May 17, 2011 at 13:18:31
if all the laptops are the same, create a master setup on one laptop, and then create an image in win 7 backup and restore center, save it to the server, and install the same image on all the other laptops, quick simple and no 3rd party software, you can then reimage via usb/dvd/server whenever needed in 20 mins.
or use acronis, that will create the boot image for issues. by tapping f10 you can reimage from the acronis boot image.

i hate computers!
but cant help myself....

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May 17, 2011 at 14:03:23

The advantage of using Windows 7 restore is that it is free to use. Acronis would need to be on each of the laptops.

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May 17, 2011 at 17:40:39
If you are purchasing (taking bids) from HP and Dell, they may be able to set up the C drive with your specific needs, recovery, and personal back up partitions custom for you. This way a factory restore will replace C drive the way you want it from the custom recovery partition and then they can restore their personal back up from the back up partition. If they send you a sample machine and you set it up the way you want it, they can take that and make the custom recovery partition, protect it, make an image of the drive to put on all of them for you. ALL included in the bid, all without you doing all that work yourselves. For them it would be easy, making it easy for you.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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