Clone hard disk images

You just received a shipment of 50 new PCs to deploy within your IS environment, but before you can release one, you must install dozens of local applications. Drive Image 1.0, from PowerQuest, can help you speed up this process.

Drive Image is a disk cloning system. Disk cloning lets you create a duplicate of a hard disk onto another hard disk with minimal effort. With Drive Image, you create an image of the hard disk you want to clone and copy this image to destination hard disks. Depending on the size of the image, you can store the image on another hard disk, a Jaz disk, or a CD-ROM for later recall. In an enterprise environment, you can put disk images on your network for easy distribution to remote sites.

Drive Image copies FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and High-Performance File System (HPFS) partitions. The product uses SmartSector technology to identify sectors on your hard disk that contain information and copy only those sectors. This method can help reduce your disk image size. For example, if you create an image of a 2GB disk that has only 300MB of information, you get a 300MB disk image.

If you have a disk with Linux, UNIX, or NetWare partitions, don't despair. Drive Image can copy these partitions, but the software must perform a sector-by-sector copy, so you don't get the same performance benefits as with SmartSector technology. The software compresses the output image file to minimize storage use.

Drive images can contain multiple partitions. For example, if you have a disk with a UNIX, NTFS, and FAT32 partition, Drive Image will create one image file that contains all three partitions. Several Drive Image programs create your cloning environment. One program is the Image File Editor, which lets you move partitions in image files from one file to another. With this utility, you can create custom drive images for later installation. So, if you want to take a UNIX partition, a FAT partition, and an NTFS partition off three machines, you can create one image file that contains all three partitions and then use Drive Image to create the output disk.

If you're familiar with Windows NT internals, you're probably wondering about cloning NT machines and their security IDs (SIDs). SIDs are unique numbers that NT assigns to each computer when you install NT. NT uses SIDs for its security and authentication schemes. Two computers with the same SID can cause problems. Microsoft doesn't support cloned drives with the same SID. But, if you clone an NT machine, you also clone its SID. Thus, PowerQuest created a SID changer add-on to Drive Image, which will automatically change the computer name and SID as you create new disk images. This add-on eliminates the possibility of having multiple computers on your network with the same SID.

Unfortunately, the main software package that creates disk images runs in a DOS session--you can't run it under Windows 95 in a DOS window, or under NT. After you're in the program, you can create disk images or write disks from an image, as Screen 1 shows.

Drive Image is available in two versions: Drive Image and Drive Image Professional. With the basic edition, you can duplicate one image. With the professional edition, you can duplicate an unlimited number of images. This option is an excellent choice for companies that buy hardware in standard configurations and need to duplicate an operating environment in a short time. Both editions include a copy of PartitionMagic to let you create, resize, and move hard disk partitions. Drive Image can save you a lot of time if you need to clone hard disks.

Drive Image 1.0
Contact: PowerQuest * 801-437-8900, Web:
Price: $69.95 Drive Image 1.0, $695 Drive Image Professional 1.0
System Requirements: Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows 3.x, DOS, or OS/2, I386sx-compatible or better, 8MB of RAM (16MB for FAT32 or NTFS), 5MB of hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, 3.5" disk drive, VGA or better video support