I am looking to find a east to use (and implement) Windows 7 deployment solution. I know about WDS, Paragon, Ghost, FOG and Clonezilla, but I was wondering if someone else knew of any others that are out there. We are virtually all Dell desktops, with a handful or so of HPs (our Dells are pretty similar in product line but there is some variety in terms of hardware). 

Can anyone provide alternatives to these products? 

Thank You,

posted 2 hours ag

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Community Chosen Answer


As a KACE customer, the KACE 2000 worked very well as an easy to use and implement solution, and since they were purchased by Dell, they have a lot of extras for Dell hardware.  I would also look at Acronis (direct competitor to Ghost).  I liked Ghost better, but I haven't looked at them in a while.

Answered 04/30/2012 by: philologist
Red Belt

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Go with KACE. I'd recommend it hands down.

It is easily the most cost effective option (by about 100k in our case). Altiris and SCCM are big luggy beasts that KACE easily square up to with a much much smaller infrastructure impact.

We jumped from Windows XP / Office 2003 to Windows 7 / Office 2010 with great ease.
We were using Ghost beforehand to deploy Windows XP - but KACE offers much more flexibility.

Our machines are built using Active Directory groups. We have a SOE group (which has Office Std, Acrobat Reader, Java, Flash .etc in it) and then we have other groups for non-SOE software (such as MS Project, AutoCAD, Office Pro, Acrobat Std/Pro). We have set it up too to remove clashing software. So if we add Acrobat Std to a PC KACE will remove Acrobat Reader and install Acrobat Standard.

We are Dell primarily as well - however just because KACE is owned by Dell it doesnt mean anything. It tackles all vendors and flavours :)

We used it to plan our Windows 7 jump as well:

  • Reporting Hardware that couldn't make the jump
  • Software that needed remediation or retirement

Not to mention the other things it brings to the table:

  • Ongoing support and SOE maintenance (alerting for software that shouldn't be on machines .etc)
  • Helpdesk Module
  • OS Patching of machines
  • App Patching for Microsoft, Adobe, Java, Apple .etc if wanted
  • (Bonus) Dell Warranty reporting directly in the KACE Inventory for every Dell machine

Hope this helps you.
If you want to find out more information on our use with it how we tackled Windows 7 - feel free to send me a PM

David Wedrat
Ausco Modular

Answered 04/30/2012 by: auscoit
Orange Belt

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Just one more voice... KACE

Answered 05/01/2012 by: dchristian
Red Belt

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My recommendation would be Kace. The K2000 is layered and not difficult to setup and maintain.

Answered 04/30/2012 by: ckubaska
Fourth Degree Brown Belt

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We deployed Windows 7 to our school last summer using KACE, and it worked very well. It was a very easy transition.

Answered 04/30/2012 by: WGM_Jeff
Fourth Degree Black Belt

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K2000, especially scripted installs. Coming from a Ghost background, it was a breath of fresh air not needing to maintain a gold master image.

Answered 05/01/2012 by: mpace
Red Belt

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We did a windows 7 rollout with SCCM 2007 and it worked great.  Loaded in our drivers for all our hardware, created task sequences for certain departments that are standard and was able to push the OS out.  Other more specific users we used a default task sequence and had to take a more manual approach and save settings and documents.  Big fan of SCCM as you can manage all your desktops, patch, push software, run reports on about everything,  update one program so your basically only managing one image for everything and can swap out packages and add drivers as you get new hardware without ever updating that main image.

Answered 04/30/2012 by: GAKIS
Second Degree Green Belt

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Recently replaced ImageX/WinPE manual solution with Microsoft's Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010/2012.  Quite possbily the easiest solution I have implemented with very little upkeep.  Once it's setup it just works.  Personally, I use SCCM 2012. Which offers a HUGE improvement over SCCM2007. If you're only concerned with OS deployment look to MDT first. It's cheap!

Answered 05/25/2012 by: Trinity
Brown Belt

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I agree that SCCM 2007 is very useful for OS deployment. We have only recently started utilizing it, but prior to this we used MDT, which is very similar when it comes to OSD, but also includes software distrubution, updates dist. etc.

I would research Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to see if it's something you can utliize for Lite Touch Installation; with SCCM integration you can achieve Zero-Touch Installs quite easily.

Having said all this, I'd be quite interested in some KACE blogs/videos if anyone knows some good ones. It's unfamiliar territory for me but looks interesting!

Edit: here is a link for you to check some stuff out, if you do some digging, there is also a hefty Windows 7 Deployment Guide for free dl in pdf format on the site http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd641427.aspx?ocid=wc-tn-accelerators 

Answered 05/02/2012 by: psalwey
White Belt

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