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Old 06-07-2005, 01:24 PM   #1
Registered: May 2005
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Disk cloning question

OK, I've searched for this but couldn't find it specifically. This is not your typical "What's like Ghost, but free?" question. In this case, I don't mind if it cost money. I have a disk clone question but not related to disaster recovery.

I come from an all Windows world where the tools and procedures to clone desktop PC's are rather mature. If you want to cookie-cut a Windows XP installation for a company, you load Windows with your Corporate license, load all your apps and tweak it to your liking. Copying it to another identical PC involves:

* Ghosting it to another PC, or Acronis, or Drive Image, etc.
* Changing the SID
* Change the name of the PC
* Add to NT Domain/ADS
* Add appropriate user(s) to Administrator group if needed.

I'm still a Linux newbie, but I wanted to know what is the equivalent in the Linux world? Is there anything obtuse like the registry in Linux? Or is everything file based like the good 'ol DOS/Win3.1 days I loved so much? And if so, what files need to be edited and changed between identical hardware installations to differentiate them enough like the "SID/Name" change for Windows? Lastly, any tools for these procedures?

Old 06-07-2005, 01:48 PM   #2
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: BrewCity, USA (Milwaukee, WI)
Distribution: Xubuntu 9.10, Gentoo 2.6.27 (AMD64), Darwin 9.0.0 (arm)
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well if the disks are identical you can just use dd to make an exact copy it's a basic unix tool and should be in any linux distro. no registry all the configs are in text files if the computers are identical you should only have to change the hostname and ip
Old 06-07-2005, 02:32 PM   #3
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Seattle
Distribution: Debian, Fedora, CentOS, FreeBSD, OpenSolaris
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For ghosting there is ghost for unix (g4u) but depending on what distribution you use it may be easier to use kickstart (redhat, fedora, suse all do stuff like this) which will do an installation over the network via pxe boot.

All configuration is file based and the configuration files for nearly everything on your system are under the /etc/ directory.

You will need to regenerate your ssh keys and whatever other fingerprint keys your system might have on there. The hostname should be changed and network information if you are using static ip addresses should be changed.
Old 06-07-2005, 02:38 PM   #4
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Minneap USA
Distribution: Debian, Mepis, Sidux
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clone using a terminal or xterm (like bash), but since you cannot clone a running system (too much in flux) you'd need to boot with a live cd. at the terminal run [partimage] and it'll run you through a simple quasi-graphical program.

then you'd re-run that program on a new computer and, using the live cd, install a bootloader.

The "dos" filesystem... no. Its a UNiX-type fs *layout*, but yes, most settings are config file based. You'll still need to do this:
* Change the SID
* Change the name of the PC
* Add to NT Domain/ADS

Making said changes depends, somewhat, on your distribution of choice. Most have a GUI tool (graphical user interface) but some need to be done via the terminal (command line) (all can prob be done via command line, but each "branch" (i.e. Red Hat vs Debian vs Gobo vs etc) may be a bit different; GUI tools are usually easier. I'd post that question in the specific distro if you cannot find GUI tools).

This last one:
* Add appropriate user(s) to Administrator group if needed
is a bit different. Linux has a "root" user, i.e. Admin, but it has power to do EVERYTHING so you do NOT want to give that password/rights to really ANYONE but the system maintainer(s). You can make diff groups and give rights to file access/prog execution to those groups, but do NOT make them a part of the Root group!

Good luck, I hope this helped a bit!
Old 06-07-2005, 02:41 PM   #5
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Minneap USA
Distribution: Debian, Mepis, Sidux
Posts: 470

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oops. Run [partimage] and then save the file to a disk/cd (might need to boot back into the regular install to do so). Then, using the live cd AND THE DISK WITH THE FILE THAT YOU CREATED AND COPIED, rerun [partimage] and use that prog to install the image.

An image can be created of any partition, not just the install partition, but that is what you were asking about.


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