Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Linux Imaging – Update

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,MicroSoft — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

So, I figured it was about time for another hardcore geek post.

I’ve been using the Linux-based imaging solution that I detailed here and here for quite a few weeks now. Mostly, it’s been going very well.
Okay, once I figured out it was better to start with a small drive partition as my base system, from which I created the standard image, the process got easier. The thing is, it’s always easier to start with a small partition and then use tools built into the Knoppix live cd to grow the partition larger than to try and shoe-horn a big disk partition onto a small disk. And, by “easier”, I mean it’s the only way to do it. I spent quite a bit of time trying to make it work the other way, but I never did. On the other hand, starting with an image based on a 30 gigabyte or less partition then expanding it to fit a 150 gigabyte hard drive has worked just fine.
Incidentally, I used a bootable gparted cd to make that change.

Also, I had a small problem with a particular Intel motherboard chipset. Specifically, it was the Intel 965 chipset, and the problem may effect other motherboards. In short, the problem was that Knoppix didn’t see the SATA drive to mount it. If Knoppix can’t see the drive, it can’t image it or take an image from it. Luckily, there is a work around. If you’re using my method to image WindowsXP machines running the Intel 965 chipset, ensure the BIOS is set to AHCI. To do that, get into your system’s BIOS and go to Advanced > Drive configuration > Configure SATA as AHCI. Then, when booting into Knoppix, hit F2 and use the following command-line to boot:
knoppix 2 all-generic-ide pci=nommconf
This will start Knoppix in text-only mode, so you can run everything from there instead of opening up a terminal session.
After you put the image on the fresh machine, you need to ensure the BIOS is NO LONGER set to AHCI. To do that, get back into your system’s BIOS and go to Advanced > Drive configuration > Configure SATA as IDE. After reconfiguring the BIOS, you can boot into the new Windows XP clone and proceed as I’ve already described in the other posts.

Oh, one last thing on this…
I kind of cheated on reimaging machines in text mode with that Intel 965 chipset.  Because the tools I used to resize NTFS disk partitions were all GUI based and XWindows was having a problem running on those Intel 965 boards, I installed one machine from scratch and just grabbed the larger partition table and master boot record.  Then, when I made the new machines, I just used the larger partition and MBR images to get everything out of the disk.  I still used the smaller data disk partition images, but I used NTFSResize to expand the NTFS partition to fill the disk.  Worked like a charm.

Anyway, I apologize to my non-geek readers, but, hey, I am a professional network geek and I love this stuff.  I think I strutted around for a full five minutes after figuring out that set of little tricks the same afternoon.  Of course, it wasn’t long before some other stupid thing brought me right back to reality, but that couple of minutes where I was the king of the world, network geek genius extraordinaire, made it all worthwhile.

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