RIPREP chapter 3

Over the last few days I have been testing our third Riprep reference image. This one is mainly for our classroom PCs but I have found the HAL is the same one as the computer suite PCs use. So, in theory, the same image could work on both…maybe. The biggest hassle came with a .NET 2.0 reparse point (junction) which Riprep refused to copy. In theory it should be easy enough to have this automatically recreate itself using the cmdlines.txt file which is put into $OEM$$1Applications and the InstallFiles path pointed to it in riprep.sif (and OEMPreInstall set to Yes). However I have yet to be able to make this run the linkd command needed to recreate the reparse point automatically. There are a few other things I can try though (GuiRunOnce etc). So I had to run the command manually. Apart from that everything is working well.

When I tried it on our older suite PCs things were somewhat different. After Mini-Setup was finished and the system rebooted, it redetected the sound and graphics adaptors. This resulted in a series of onscreen messages and dialogs to be responded to, including that it wanted to copy older files over newer ones. Obviously this is going to be an issue with a change in hardware. When we used Ghost with Windows 98, we just used one 98 image for everything. As we had a few different types of PCs in use, Windows booting itself for the first time would display the messages that it was installing various drivers for the different hardware it had detected. This is the first time I have seen this happen on an XP machine and I was not prepared for these extra steps because I had assumed that somehow this would all happen automatically. The other problem is that as far as Windows is concerned, the graphics and sound drivers for this hardware are not digitally signed and so even at startup every user will be asked for permission to run the system tray and other various utilities that these devices use. Therefore it seems highly likely I would end up creating a special customisation of this image for this group of PCs to deal with these issues, and thus it’s not so easy to have just one image for the lot. Vista handles this a lot better, thankfully.