Cloning software for the future

Administrators want to know whether cloning will be easy with Windows 2000 (Win2K). I tested PowerQuest's Drive Image Pro 3.0, which lets administrators clone systems running Win2K Professional (Win2K Pro) or Windows NT Workstation 4.0.

Drive Image Pro preserves all Windows optimizations by creating and restoring an exact drive image. The software uses SmartSector, PowerQuest's proprietary imaging technology, to create this image and save sector-specific data of hard disks or hard disk partitions. In addition, Drive Image Pro lets you Powercast images over a network, so you can set up and configure multiple workstations simultaneously. You can store images on a network drive, Jaz disks, Zip disks, a CD-ROM, or other removable media device, and you can apply images to network drives or disks of the same size or resize images to fit different-sized disks. Drive Image Pro supports imaging of FAT, FAT32, NTFS 4.0 or later, and High-Performance File System (HPFS) partitions. You can also use Drive Image Pro Editor to restore individual files and folders.

I tested the Drive Image Pro bundle, which includes Drive Image Pro and PartitionMagic 4.0, on three systems, each running 350MHz AMD-K6-2 processors with 64MB of RAM and 4.3GB of hard disk space. One system, which I called WIN2KPRO, acted as the Powercast server, and I used it to create a system image that I transferred to the other systems, which had new unpartitioned hard disks. You must install Drive Image Pro on a FAT partition, so I partitioned half of WIN2K-PRO's hard disk as FAT and the other half as NTFS 5.0. Next, I installed various applications on WIN2KPRO.

To install the product, I inserted the CD-ROM into WIN2KPRO, which was running Win2K Pro beta 3. I selected Install Drive Image and followed the wizard, which copied the installation files to the FAT volume. The process was easy and completed in about 1 minute. Next, I used the instructions in the documentation to manually create two sets of boot disks. You can also use BootDisk Builder, which PowerQuest provides on the Drive Image Pro CD-ROM, to create boot disks.

To ensure each system has a unique SID, you can use SysPrep or PowerQuest's SIDchanger, which Drive Image Pro includes. I configured SysPrep with the appropriate information and ran the executable. When SysPrep finished setup, it automatically shut down my system, so I used my boot disks to restart the system. Next, I chose Create Image from the pop-up menu, followed the wizard through various steps, and clicked Finish. Creating an image of a 2GB NTFS partition took about 18 minutes.

To set up a Powercast session, I selected Powercast from the main menu, clicked Server, clicked Express for the client mode, named the session, clicked the image file I wanted to send, and clicked Finish. A pop-up screen, which Screen 1 shows, appeared in wait mode until the client systems connected. I changed the default number of clients from 30 to 2, but you can set this number to a maximum of 9999 clients (PowerQuest suggests a maximum of 1000 clients).

Next, I booted the client systems with the Drive Image Pro boot disks and selected Powercast from the menu. I followed the wizard, selected the session I created on the Powercast server, and clicked Finish. The session took about 1 hour to transfer the image over a 10MB network. When I booted the clients, they booted correctly and included different SIDs.

Drive Image Pro worked well with SysPrep to help me quickly roll out workstations. In addition, PowerQuest's technical support addressed all my concerns with fast, courteous, and correct solutions. You can download an evaluation copy of the product from PowerQuest's Web site.

Drive Image Pro 3.0
Contact: PowerQuest * 801-226-8977
Web: http://www.powerquest.com
Price: $19 per license for 10 to 24 workstations; $9 per license for 25 to 499 workstations
System Requirements: x86 processor or better, Windows 2000 Professional or Windows NT Workstation 4.0, 16MB of RAM, 5MB of hard disk space