To save myself a good deal of time and labor on having to do a clean start reinstall on close to two dozens of PCs, I did the following:
Did all software installs and setting adjustments in just one PC, then got Norton Ghost 10.0 to make a full image of that computer's hard disk. Let me clarify now, though I know what it's all about and I have my fair share of computer knowledge, this is the first time I use that software.
From there, I format each computer, then simply load the image into it. Other details aside, it seems to work perfectly, even though it's quirky about recognising networks (I load the image from either a shared folder or the server itself). I have to use the "files" option instead of "whole computer" sometimes, but it doesn't seem to make a difference when I set the advanced options right.
Most computers are clones from each other, including the one that I used for image creation, so those ones don't present any problems so far.
But when I tried it on one of the few PCs that have slightly different hardware, the OS wouldn't load. We're talking XP Pro with SP2 and all patches to date. These are the differences I know of, pretty much:
Hard disk: 40GBs instead of 30.
CPU: Celeron 2.8 instead of 2.4.
RAM: 256 DDR333 instead of 128.
Video: Card instead of onboard.
I'm yet to check just how different those more potent PCs really are, since for warranty reasons I wasn't allowed to open them up myself until very recently, and no detailed listing of their hardware remains.
I never expected this to be a problem really, I thought XP would adapt smoothly to a few differences. I'm mostly suspecting the hard disk size difference, and maybe the motherboard is not the same, tho I think it is.
Anyone's got any ideas on this? I already had to work over a plethora of issues to get this plan going, and even then it's still faster and smoother for me than manually doing several installs and endless setting adjustments, times 20+. I'd loathe having to make a whole different image for these other computers.
I already tried using XP's recovery option from its CD, but since all I got are SP1a versions, it basically does half the installing all over again, overriding some settings and killing all patches and who knows what else.
Even if I knew what to replace from then on, it's far too messy for the clean reinstalls I intend, and it's 6 of those more potent PCs there... Obviously, they're used for more critical tasks than the rest, so I want them at their best. Hopefully, this can be done without needing for another Ghost image.
Thank you all in advance, hope anyone can help!