One strenuous task when you’re maintaining Windows-based machines (computer laboratories) is preparing the machines for use. This includes OS and 3rd-party software installation, updating the machines, and tweaking system settings. This really eats up time and is boring.
The task was then eased up with cloning/imaging software. Before, I had to remove hard drives, connect them as slaves to a source computer, and then run a cloning software using a floppy disk. Removing and installing back hard drives is still tedious for me. Then there was a cloning software that stores and retrieves cloned images via network and uses a disc to boot up a machine(s). Cloning is limited with the number of boot discs you’re using. And then, there’s FOG Project.
FOG is a cloning solution that utilizes the network to store and retrieve cloned images and uses TFTP and PXE to boot machines. Because of this, you can clone multiple machines without any extra cost on discs. It’s Linux-based and is free.
You’ll only have to create a FOG server using Fedora 7+ or Ubuntu. Installation is very easy and straight-forward. After the installation, you can access your server using a web browser. From there, you can manage your machines and tasks. Aside from imaging, you may also use FOG for disk wiping, virus scanning, file recovery and more. A guide/documentation on the implementation is also available from the FOG Project website.
I took a picture of a machine’s screen during the creation of an image from a source computer sent to the FOG server. I’ll try to add the cloning process. More screenshots are found in the FOG Project website.
Download FOG from SourceForge.