Duplicate copies of XP - who do I talk to at Microsoft?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by John S., Apr 18, 2005.

  1. John S.

    John S. Guest

    Just wondering if someone subscribing to this group can point me
    in the right direction please. I want to find out from Microsoft
    whether it is permissible to have a duplicate XP system set up on
    a separate (disconnected) HDD inside a computer so that, in the
    event of a malfunction, the compter can be opened and the HDD
    leads switched to the duplicate system so the machine could be
    back in action very quickly.

    I thought I would ask Nathan Mercer because I had seen some
    helpful posts from him in this group in the past. I googled and
    found his "gmail" email address but had no response to my
    enquiry. I wondered if he uses the gmail address just to post
    from and doesn't read any mail sent to it.

    Guess I could just fire my enquiry off to Microsoft and hope
    someone answers it but I was hoping to find someone first off who
    would know what they were talking about and prepared to be
    helpful.

    To give some background, my enquiry sent to Nathan was as
    follows:-
    ------------------------------------------------------
    I help with maintaining 7 computers belonging to our SeniorNet
    club in Whakatane. SeniorNet is a volunteer organisation which
    exists to help teach older people how to use computers, and we
    run courses in our clubrooms.

    What we are aiming to do is to maintain our computers in a
    "clean" and uniform condition, so they are all the same and
    behave in a predictable manner. We also wish to protect against
    the possibility of suffering from a "crashed" HDD or major
    infection of some kind of malware which makes a computer unusable
    for lessons.

    To achieve this we are considering purchasing a second HDD for
    each machine and setting each one up with a fresh installation of
    Windows XP (5 machines have XP Home, 1 has XP Pro - 7th machine
    has 98SE which we'll leave alone for now). Once each fresh
    installation has been updated to SP2 and all the software
    installed and working properly we thought we would wipe the
    original HDD, then "clone" the clean installation to it,
    disconnect the new drive with the clean installation on it, and
    continue working with the updated original drive.

    The new drive would remain inside each computer without leads
    connected and, in the event of any malfunction of the working
    drive during a lesson it would be a simple job to shut down,
    remove the computer cover, switch the leads to the clean drive,
    and restart.

    We would refresh the clean backup drive in each machine
    periodically to catch up with Windows updates and virus
    definitions etc, and re-clone to the working drives before the
    beginning of each course term.

    What I would like to ask is:-

    1) Is it permissible to do this (ie have a second backup drive
    with Windows on it inside the machine, but not connected)?

    2) Would we likely run into any product reactivation problems
    and, if so, can you suggest how we would deal with them.
    Presumably we would need to "activate" each computer when we do
    the fresh installation of Win XP on its new drive, but I'm hoping
    that any installation cloned from that one wouldn't trigger the
    need for another activation?

    3) If our plan is OK, can you point me to instructions for
    streamlining the installation procedure? (I have heard of the
    "slipstreaming" process which I understand is based on creating
    an installation disk with all the updates included on it, then
    doing the installation and update process in one go - wondered if
    we could do this, and install each of our 5 XP Home machines from
    one installation disk).

    4) If you know of any scheme like the one we're proposing which
    someone else has developed and got to work, I'd appreciate any
    pointers you can offer as to how to go about the job.
    --------------------------------------------------------

    If you've had the patience to read so far and can offer any
    suggestions for me to get my queries answered, thanks!

    Cheers,

    John S
     
    John S., Apr 18, 2005
    #1
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  2. John S.

    CSE Guest

    On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 09:07:07 GMT, (John S.) wrote:

    >Just wondering if someone subscribing to this group can point me
    >in the right direction please. I want to find out from Microsoft
    >whether it is permissible to have a duplicate XP system set up on
    >a separate (disconnected) HDD inside a computer so that, in the
    >event of a malfunction, the compter can be opened and the HDD
    >leads switched to the duplicate system so the machine could be
    >back in action very quickly.




    Use a Plug in SATA drive..
     
    CSE, Apr 18, 2005
    #2
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  3. John S.

    joe_90 Guest

    Can't answer your question about licencing, but I have a couple of
    suggestions which would significantly reduce the cost and administrative
    effort associated with maintaining a 'spare' hard drive mounted in each
    machine.

    1. Consider installing a removable drive tray in each machine and only
    keep a couple of spare hard drives (already mounted in spare trays).

    2. Maintain a single 'master' drive with updates etc. (ideally using a
    spare machine that is not used for teaching) and clone this when
    necessary to replenish the stock of one or two spare drives.

    Switching drives would be much safer and faster too.

    Dick Smith stock a suitable item -

    http://www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/en/product/XH5067

    HTH
     
    joe_90, Apr 18, 2005
    #3
  4. John S.

    mark Guest

    (John S.) wrote in news::

    > Just wondering if someone subscribing to this group can point me
    > in the right direction please. I want to find out from Microsoft
    > whether it is permissible to have a duplicate XP system set up on
    > a separate (disconnected) HDD inside a computer so that, in the
    > event of a malfunction, the compter can be opened and the HDD
    > leads switched to the duplicate system so the machine could be
    > back in action very quickly.



    Technicaly what you have described is a backup, and the last time I looked,
    they are still legal :)
     
    mark, Apr 18, 2005
    #4
  5. John S.

    joe_90 Guest

    joe_90 wrote:
    > 2. Maintain a single 'master' drive with updates etc. (ideally using a
    > spare machine that is not used for teaching) and clone this when
    > necessary to replenish the stock of one or two spare drives.


    Ah yes, big assumption here is that you are running identical hardware -
    most unlikely, so the single master disk is probably a non starter.
     
    joe_90, Apr 18, 2005
    #5
  6. John S.

    grolschie Guest

    "John S." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Just wondering if someone subscribing to this group can point me
    > in the right direction please. I want to find out from Microsoft
    > whether it is permissible to have a duplicate XP system set up on
    > a separate (disconnected) HDD inside a computer so that, in the
    > event of a malfunction, the compter can be opened and the HDD
    > leads switched to the duplicate system so the machine could be
    > back in action very quickly.


    Norton's ghost is your friend. Clone the drive to another. It's still
    technically only installed on one pc as per their EULA. XP is licensed per
    CPU is it not? :)
     
    grolschie, Apr 18, 2005
    #6
  7. John S.

    -=rjh=- Guest

    joe_90 wrote:
    > joe_90 wrote:
    >
    >> 2. Maintain a single 'master' drive with updates etc. (ideally using a
    >> spare machine that is not used for teaching) and clone this when
    >> necessary to replenish the stock of one or two spare drives.

    >
    >
    > Ah yes, big assumption here is that you are running identical hardware -
    > most unlikely, so the single master disk is probably a non starter.


    That's not a problem, if you use ghost or similar (there are
    alternatives) you just make a ghost image file on the backup hdd for
    each system. Works fine here.
     
    -=rjh=-, Apr 18, 2005
    #7
  8. John S.

    S Roby Guest


    >
    >Norton's ghost is your friend. Clone the drive to another. It's still
    >technically only installed on one pc as per their EULA. XP is licensed per
    >CPU is it not? :)
    >
    >


    Or Ghost to an Image CDr/DVDr
    Use ghost to make an 'image' of the HD.
    When things go bad, you use the image to rebuild the HD to how it was when you
    ghosted it
     
    S Roby, Apr 19, 2005
    #8
  9. John S.

    John S. Guest

    joe_90 <joe_90_remove@nospam_myhttpmail.com> wrote:

    >Can't answer your question about licencing, but I have a couple of
    >suggestions which would significantly reduce the cost and administrative
    >effort associated with maintaining a 'spare' hard drive mounted in each
    >machine.
    >
    >1. Consider installing a removable drive tray in each machine and only
    >keep a couple of spare hard drives (already mounted in spare trays).
    >
    >2. Maintain a single 'master' drive with updates etc. (ideally using a
    >spare machine that is not used for teaching) and clone this when
    >necessary to replenish the stock of one or two spare drives.
    >
    >Switching drives would be much safer and faster too.
    >
    >Dick Smith stock a suitable item -
    >
    >http://www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/en/product/XH5067
    >

    Thanks for the suggestions. However, there's a problem.
    I forgot to mention in my original post that the computers are
    networked and each has its own identity, email address etc.
    One of them hosts the network printer, and another also acts as a
    server to the others for internet connection.

    Using a master disk (even if all hardware identical) would
    require someone to mess aroung with settings and that's not as
    trivial as it sounds, and would take valuable time if the problem
    occurred during a lesson. We thought that opening a case and
    swapping over a set of leads could be entrusted to maybe 3 or 4
    nominated tutors who have enough common sense to follow
    instructions, even if they don't have much technical knowhow.

    Using removeable drives sounds OK in theory but we would have to
    keep the drives somewhere and there's then the problem of someone
    trying to plug the wrong drive into a machine and stuffing things
    up.

    What I'm really worried about, is the possibility of running into
    product activation problems.

    Six of the seven computers are supposed to be identical in
    hardware - were all bought from the same place (Dick Smith) at
    the same time etc. However, a few months back, when I went to
    transplant a drive from one computer case into another, just to
    check something out, the computer came up with the message about
    needing to activate Win XP within the next 2 days (if I remember
    rightly). Later, when I replaced the drive back in its own case
    the same message came up, so obviously something on the drive had
    been changed by booting it up in the other machine.

    I went through the reactivation process by phoning the requisite
    Microsoft number, talking to their robot, and typing a zillion
    numbers into the computer and eveything was OK.

    However, I have heard somewhere that you can only do a limited
    number of reactivations, after which they fail to work?

    Thanks for the sugestions anyway.

    I think I still need to talk to someone at Microsoft if I can
    find the right person.

    Cheers, John S
     
    John S., Apr 19, 2005
    #9
  10. John S.

    Dave Taylor Guest

    (John S.) wrote in news:4264ca73.3233762
    @news.paradise.net.nz:

    > We thought that opening a case and
    > swapping over a set of leads could be entrusted to maybe 3 or 4
    > nominated tutors who have enough common sense to follow
    > instructions, even if they don't have much technical knowhow.
    >


    You make a ghost image of EACH machine, it goes into a sleeve inside EACH
    PC case, throw in some other useful info too on papaer while you are at
    it... It is a bootable CD with the Ghost boot disk floppy image loaded
    onto it. Stick in CD, turn on PC, follow the prompts. It is not difficult
    to make these Ghost Recovery CDs / DVDs.
    This will be easier and safer than opening the case and swapping IDE
    cables, setting master slave jumpers.

    --
    Ciao, Dave
     
    Dave Taylor, Apr 20, 2005
    #10
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