Copying Your Default Operating System To Multiple Networked Workstations

Copying Your Default Operating System To Multiple Networked Workstations

On the market there have been a few cloning tools been introduced to take data from one drive and clone it to another. Why clone information? Perhaps you have setup your computer perfectly and before you start adding 3rd party programs, which invariably slow things down, you’d like to make a backup of the workstation at this stage. So when the time comes to reload back to a normal state, all you do is restore the original state back onto the workstation. This reduces the time to re-setup your machine and the frustration of having to source the installation disks time and time again.

Cloning a drive can be done with a wide variety of commercial and open source products. Norton Ghost or CloneZilla are very good tools to achieve the backup/restore task. This article focuses on how to use open source software to roll out a cloned workstation to a network environment of more than one workstation.

For this exercise, you will need a copy of the TrinityRescueDisk, which is easily obtained from the web. On this linux distribution is a tool called MassClone or MClone. MClone allows a network administrator to broadcast a image to multiple workstations using a multicast method. MClone is a very fast and efficient tool, broadcasting the image once in a sequence of small “fire-and-forget” packets (UDP), and having the workstations to be clone picking up these packets and writing them to disk.

With regards to speed, if a network is capable of doing 100mb/s, then MClone will easily achieve a transfer rate of +/- 90mb/s.

What are the benefits of using MClone?

1) Makes an exact copy of an operating system (Windows XP, Vista, 7, and even Mac based operating systems)

2) It is fast and scalable.

3) Can save an image to a file server to be used whenever the need arises.

How do you use MClone?

Quite simply, boot up the Trinity Rescue Disk and at the command line type;

mclone -s

This command is to be run on the workstation/server that you wish to clone.

Now head over to each workstation, boot up with TRK disk, and then at the command line type;


This command will now listen for broadcasts from the server. Press ‘Enter’ on the server (cloned workstation) and the whole clone broadcast begins. It couldn’t be more simple.

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