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Endpoint Management Community Blog

Speeding Up Windows Installations with Linux Automation

Created: 29 Dec 2006 • Updated: 07 Jul 2009 • 14 comments
lordmithrandir's picture
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Installation of Windows using Linux automation can take 3-6 hours on some systems. This is caused by the memory manager in FreeDOS. Here's a trick that could cut your install time from hours to minutes.

FreeDOS is used to kick off the installation of Windows, because the Windows installer can't run in the Linux environment.

To speed up the installation of Windows, use boot disk creator to install the MS-DOS files.

You'll need a Windows 98 CD to do so.

You don't have to create a DOS PXE image, you only need the MS-DOS files on your system. The Linux scripts will detect that smartdrv.exe is available and use that instead of the FreeDOS memory manager. This will shorten your Windows installations to about 30-60 minutes.

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jjesse's picture

I'm confused by the whole 3-6 hours of installing Windows using Linux automation.

The client I'm currently working for can run a full Hardware Independent Image using Linux automat in 30 minutes.

Can you please elaborate on this?

I can image a VM using Linux automation in less than an hour.

Jonathan Jesse Practice Principal ITS Partners

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lordmithrandir's picture

This tip is only for scripted installations of Windows from Linux automation. For those using an image this tip won't apply.

Also, I forgot to mention that this tip only works with DS for Dell 2.0 SP1.

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Scott Hardie's picture

Both internally and at several customers I have leveraged hardware independent images using Linux imaging and have had great success. I have imaged systems with Linux from bare metal in 3 minutes and 46 seconds on Gigabit connections. Sometimes bursting throughput over 1 GB a minute even on 100MB full duplex.

Thanks,

James "Scott" Hardie
Vice President of Technology Services
shardie@xcendgroup.com
http://www.xcendgroup.com

James "Scott" Hardie
Security Architect
Security Business Practice
Symantec Corporation
www.symantec.com
__________________________________
Office: (810) 588 9464
Mobile: (810) 588 9464<

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cmdrdata's picture

I might be reading your post incorrectly so please don't hesitate to correct me.

I am interested in using Linux to replace DOS and avoid WinPE in the process. We still want to lay down Windows 2000, and Windows Vista images onto our machines, we just want to see if Linux can be leveraged to accomplish this task.

Mark

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Scott Hardie's picture

If you need help with this send me an e-mail.

Thanks,

James "Scott" Hardie
Vice President of Technology Services
shardie@xcendgroup.com
http://www.xcendgroup.com

James "Scott" Hardie
Security Architect
Security Business Practice
Symantec Corporation
www.symantec.com
__________________________________
Office: (810) 588 9464
Mobile: (810) 588 9464<

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trb48's picture

I have used WinPE a ton for imaging. I really like it and everything that it does. I have not hit any snags. Basically I have used WinPE to:
-Format the drive
-Set the drive letters
-Create Partitions
-Set the Drive letters
-Dump the image on the computer

Like I said earlier, it was really effective. We did not hit any snags. If you wanted to, you could use BartPE, which is similar to WinPE. You can find out more info on BartPE here: http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

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jjesse's picture

Just remember that not everyone has access to WinPE. Access is based on their licensing agreement w/ MS.

Linux is free for all and very easy to learn to use as an imaging option

Jonathan Jesse Practice Principal ITS Partners

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erikw's picture

I truly believe in stuff that made IT great.

DOS is my thing.

I use a win98 DOS disk, and with some additional tools it is fast, good, and reliable.

Regards
erik

Regards Erik www.DinamiQs.com Dinamiqs is the home of VirtualStorm (www.virtualstorm.org)

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riva11's picture

Even if I appreciate the Win98 disk solution I am interested in a different way OS free based.

Where I can find some documentation how to create Linux preboot disk? Or better if exist.

thanks

PM

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jjesse's picture

By a preboot disk are you looking for a floppy disk that just boots into Linux?

Because I've created a lot of PXE boots through DS using the Create Boot Disk utility.

Jonathan Jesse Practice Principal ITS Partners

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riva11's picture

Hi jjesse,

The main reason is that using the win98 disk I have many issues with NIC drivers.

Using the Linux disk I'd like to avoid any driver issues.

regards
PM

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erikw's picture

In the win98 disk I always use the undi drivers.

They work for over 95% of the NICs.
The other 5% are very difficult.

regards
Erik

Regards Erik www.DinamiQs.com Dinamiqs is the home of VirtualStorm (www.virtualstorm.org)

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jjesse's picture

Riva11,

The only problem I have had w/ a NIC driver and Linux is on a brand new HP and I had to recompile the driver in order for it to work correctly.

I don't have it in front of me right now, but there is a good article in the KB on how to recompile a driver. Also I think there is an article here on how to do that as well.

Jonathan Jesse Practice Principal ITS Partners

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riva11's picture

Sorry for the late answer, but thanks for your info.
Regards
PM

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