I was after some software to clone a Windows XP machine onto 20 other identical machines – the main idea was to eliminate the need to install XP from scratch on each machine.
Now before I go further, I should mention that my client owned a volume license for these XP machines.
I did a bit of research (as you will find further on not enough) and came to the conclusion that Norton Ghost would be best for the job. I purchased the applicable license and proceeded to make the image – or in Ghost speak it is called a recovery point. I liked how you were able to make an additional recovery point (during the same process) to an external hard drive.
It was fairly straightforward to do, and the recovery process was no problem either. Worked well.
The only thing I didn’t like was, for what I wanted anyway, was the idea of having to install the product and then make an image (with the software installed) – if you know what I mean.
It so happened the day, after I discovered Clonezilla, an open source imaging program that worked from a Live CD (which I believe is based on a Debian backend).
I decided to give it a go, and found that it required a little more nouse to get it going – by no means rocket science though. It’s just that they were a lot of user options available, and as you were reminded multiple times along the way, if you didn’t understand what was being asked just select the defaults. So I did and it all worked well. A restore was much the same deal.
In summary, both products performed well. The average time to backup was about 15 mins for both Ghost and Clonezilla, with the restore (again with both) being under 5 minutes.
For my particular needs, Clonezilla was the choice of imaging/cloning software.