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 Post subject: Acronis on a thumbdrive, step 1
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 6157
Hello All

I do not know if anyone else wanted this but I got the bootable Acronis True Image 2009 Home Edition (without installing Acronis) on a thumbdrive and it is bootable, I had to use a XP VM to get it but it does work

http://themudcrab.com/acronis_grub4dos.php

This is step one because now I am pretty confident with little modification I can make a custom-ish backup/recovery partition that Windows will not be able to see and what Windows can not see Windows can not infect, if I make it ext2 or ext3 Acronis should be able to read/write and Windows will be blind to what is actually on the partition

Even though I just listened to a podcast (about 26 minutes in) http://linuxbasement.com/category/audio-type/mp3 about open source and Fog [url]sourceforge.net/projects/freeghost/[/url] and how well it works I think I am going to heavily suggest my company (Maryland State Gov) uses Acronis with universal restore on a thumbdrive to do remote re-imaging, the WAN guys do not want that kind of traffic on the network ever, so I think this is a good solution and with universal restore we would have far less images to maintain and with a 16 gig thumb drive we could have 4-5 images on each device and typically when I suggest something that is less then $400.00 I get approval to at least test the waters

If you know of something better, cheaper and/or more flexible please let me know

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 Post subject: Re: Acronis on a thumbdrive, step 1
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:21 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:06 am
Posts: 376
Location: Longview, Texas
keep us up to date on how things go.

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 Post subject: Re: Acronis on a thumbdrive, step 1
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 11, 2009 9:21 pm
Posts: 94
Location: Central Ohio
I have used clonezilla http://clonezilla.org along with parted magic http://partedmagic.com to achieve something similar. Parted Magic is a linux live cd that is small and boots directly into ram. It has a program called gparted on it t hat can be used to resize, create, and delete partitions. I use this to shrink down the ntfs windows partition and create about a 20 gig or so ext3 linux partition.
I then use clonezilla to create an image file of the windows partition and save it on the ext3 partition once I get everything set up the way it should be in windows. Windows doesn't even acknowledge there is a 2nd partition in my computer. You can use the clonezilla cd to reimage the windows partition from the image file on the ext3 partition. Clonezilla will only copy the data to the image file and compress it.
You can also save and deploy images from an external hard drive, or even a network share using clonezilla (use the samba server option to connect to a windows file share).
If your machines can boot from a usb drive, you can use 2 usb thumb drives, one for clonezilla and the other for parted magic. The easiest tool to do this I have found is called Unetbootin http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
Unetbootin can put about any linux live cd on a usb thumb drive and make it bootable. I hope this helps.

I also am currently playing around with a fog server at work. So far it seems pretty neat. It uses PXE booting to be able to remotely deploy images to computers. You can also create "snapins" which can be used by the fog server to install software on the windows clients. It also has an inventory tool with it. It gathers the hardware info of a computer and stores it in its mysql database. The hardware info can be exported to a csv file at any time using the web interface of the fog server. You mentioned about traffic across the wan, depending on site size, it may be useful to set up a fog server at each site. Then your images would be hosted on the LAN for each site, The only WAN traffic would be when interacting with the web gui on the fog server or copying an image file between sites to the fog server for deployment over the LAN.

Good luck !

-Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Acronis on a thumbdrive, step 1
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 6157
Hello computerteq

Clonezilla works great (ugly as sin and not intuitive to any enduser)
PartedMagic works great (not as ugly and not intuitive to any enduser)
Unetbootin does not work on any non-linux distro (that I have tried)
No enduser has a PXE server

Acronis is Linux to the best of my ability but I can not get it working with unetbootin at all

The only was I was able to get it working was to use "grub 4 dos", now I have had absolutely no time to test this process on a hard drive, hence no update

I want to use Acronis because it is so easy I believe a large percentage of my users could actually use it (maybe I have to talk them through it over the phone, but it is doable)

If I have any updates I will post them

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 Post subject: Re: Acronis on a thumbdrive, step 1
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 6157
a update (after a long time, hey I am busy)

With Grub4Dos it is pretty easy to make a multiboot usb key, just copy the disk images to your device and modify (I am 99% sure this was the file) menu.lst with whatever name you want to give it and the path/name of the iso

I have acronis, UBCD4Win and SpinRite on a single bootable usb thumbdrive

now with the combination of GAG and Grub4Dos you can just create a separate partition, place the Grub4Dos files and iso files on that partition and install and configure GAG on the MBR and wala, a custom (very few click) system restore partition

Now this is only 80% of what I ultimately want, that is because I do not think I can convince the "trouble" customers who really need this to invest in a copy of Acronis, I am going to keep digging to see if I can find a 100% free way of doing this with as very very few keystokes and as "conman end user proof" simple as possible

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