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CLonezilla Server

 

Howard Burpee, Professor, Information Technology, 207.956.0850, howardburpee@ctech.smccme.edu

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How to use the CSEC 04 classroom Clonezilla server.

Why?

You need to quickly get a version of Windows on a classroom system.

When?

When your instructor allows you to use a syspreped version of a Windows installation for a task, or when you are practicing a task and just need a quick install.

System requirements:

System hardware requirements, related to syspreped images of Windows, are specific to the HAL (hardware abstraction layer) that is generated as part of a Windows NT installation (all versions).  The Clonezilla images available in the classroom LAN may not work on all classroom systems due to differences in the HAL of the particular system your are using.

The system you use to access the Clonezilla server must have a NIC (network interface card) that is capable of PXE (pre execution environment) boot.

Software requirements:

None.


PXE booting a classroom system:

  • All of the classroom systems in the IT Dept. have an integrated NIC that is capable of a PXE boot.  By default this capability is usually disabled in the BIOS.
     
  • The setting to enable the PXE boot capability is most often listed under integrated peripherals.
     
  • In the image below, you can see an example of the PXE boot setting labeled "Onboard LAN boot ROM".


    Fig. 1
     
  • As a student, you may not have permissions to change this property in the BIOS.  If the BIOS / CMOS setup is password protected, please ask an instructor or lab assistant for help.
     
  • Once  this setting is enabled in the CMOS setup, you will be able to PXE boot the system and connect to the Clonezilla server.
     
  • DO NOT, change the boot order for the system in the BIOS.  If you do, you will end up in an endless loop continuously PXE booting back to the Clonezilla server.
     
  • DO, use the proper hotkey as the system boots to choose the PXE boot from the boot device option menu, usually F11 or F12.
     
  • As the system PXE boots, you will see a screen like the image below.


    Fig. 2
     
  • As the end of this boot process, you will see one of two things:

    1. The PXE boot process will receive a DHCP IP from the Clonezilla server and you can then continue on to the instructions below.

    2. The PXE boot process will not receive a DHCP IP from the Clonezilla server and the system will continue on and boot from the HDD.
    If the system does not PXE boot properly the most likely cause is that the network cable is not connected to the integrated NIC.

 

Using the Clonezilla Server to write an image to your system:
 

  1. The first menu delivered by the Clonezilla server is shown below.  You should choose the default Clonezilla menu item to continue.


    Fig. 3

     
  2. The next screen shows the DRBL (Debian Remote Boot Linux) OS loading.


    Fig. 4

     
  3. The first option menu, in the image below, shows two choices, the default is to work with disks using images. 

    The second choice would be used if you were cloning one HDD to another.  I use a Clonezilla live CD (download link) quite often when I am moving all my files, including the OS from one hard drive to a larger one.  Most likely when I have run out of space.

    In the classroom choose the default option by hitting enter or tabbing to OK and hitting enter.


    Fig. 5

     
  4. The next menu option allows you to choose either beginner or expert mode.

    I always choose advanced or custom modes for any software I install or use, but you may use beginner mode here by hitting enter.

    Expert mode is explained in the next step.


    Fig. 6

     
  5. Expert mode settings are shown in the image below.  If you choose this option it will not show up for several screens.

    The only time I have had to change any of the settings below (done with space bar) is when I was cloning, or writing a Clonezilla image, where the source drive was larger than the destination drive.

    The setting is "Skip checking the destination disk drive size before creating partition table".

    You should always assume that disk imaging software can not write an image from a HDD, or any other device, where the source drive is larger than the destination drive.


    Fig. 7

     
  6. Assuming that you chose the default menu item "Beginner Mode" in step #4 (Fig.6), you will next see a menu where you will choose from multiple options.

    Here you must make your  choice on what you are trying to accomplish.  This whole process is about writing a sysprep image of Windows to a classroom system, so you should of course choose "Restore an image to a local disk".

    Important: Please do not choose the default option of "Save local disk as an image" as I have yet to determine how to supply this capability in the classroom without all users being able to write images to the server.



    Fig. 8

     
  7. The image below shows the correct choice.  Use the arrow keys to highlight the menu option and enter to continue.


    Fig. 9

     

  8. Your next menu choice will be to choose the image you wish to write to your local HDD.

    You choice  will be dependent upon what OS you need to work with.

    The items available on this list will vary over time.



    Fig. 10

     
  9. Once you selected your choice on the previous menu, you will see menu to choose the target (destination) disk.  The details on this menu will vary from classroom system to classroom system as the system have HDDs of different sizes.

    Hit enter to continue.


    Fig. 11

     

  10. You will now be shown a screen that you could copy and then create a script to automate the process related to your previous menu choices. 

    Hit enter to continue.


    Fig. 12

     

  11. Your next prompt "Are you sure.....?" requires that you type Y at the command prompt to continue.


    Fig. 13

     
  12. IF you were to try to write and image that was created on a source disk that is larger than the disk you are writing to, you will see this error.

    Under most circumstances, this will not happen on the classroom systems.


    Fig. 14

     
  13. What you should see next, after typing Y and hitting enter in step #11, is Clonezilla running the Partclone program to write the first partition that is part of the Windows OS sysprep image.

    As you know, Windows NT 6.X and up creates a small (100 to 300 MB) partition during the installation process, this partition is written first.


    Fig. 15

     
  14. The next step is for the Partclone program to write the %systemdrive% partition.

    This process will, of course, take longer as the this partition contains many more bits.

    The total time for this step will vary on the image you are writing and how many students are doing this at the same time (bandwidth?).


    Fig. 16

     
  15. After the Partclone program completes writing  the "systemdrive% partition, you will see the Linux commands scroll by, as shown in the image below.


    Fig. 17

     
  16. I have set the Clonzilla server to automatically reboot after the image has been written, as shown at the bottom of the image below.


    Fig . 18

     
  17. Once your system reboots, you will see prompts from a Windows sysprep "mini-install".

    If you are not familiar with how the sysprep mini-install works, or is created, have patience, this topic is part of the CMIT 215, Microsoft Client Operating Systems class.

     

 

Copyright Howard Burpee, 2014, all rights reserved.
For questions, notifications of errors or typos in this document, please do not hesitate to contact the author, howard@howardburpee.com

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