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Old 04-16-2008, 03:09 PM
Baldenario Baldenario is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Mac Pro, Windows XP SP2, Partition Create/Restore

As a bit of background, I switched from Windows to the Mac in 2001, but I still do a bit of consulting work in the Windows universe, because I know how to do InstallShield work, which is fabulous . . .

I stopped buying Windows computers and Microsoft stuff in 2000, which also is fabulous . . .

So, when a client wants me to do Windows installation development, I make them provide everything, which is kind of fabulous except that I have to look at Windows machines covered with strands of garlic, since this is the only way I can have "beige boxes" in the house without being totally freaked, which is OK but really not very fabulous (even though I like garlic) . . .

Consequently, I am in the midst of devising what I think is a fabulous solution that might get me an 8-core Mac Pro . . .

I called Apple Technical Support, and they said that I can use Boot Camp to create a Windows XP SP2 partition on each of four hard drives on a Mac Pro, which is fabulous . . .

This solves part of the problem, but due to the type of Windows development work I will be doing, I need to be able to do "destructive testing", which maps to installing software to one of the Windows XP SP2 "Boot Camp" partitions that has the consequence of hosing it completely, which is not so fabulous . . .

SO . . .

What I need to be able to do is to create a complete low-level image of the entire hard drive (or the partition if that works better) and to use this to recreate the hard drive after I do some "destructive testing" that hoses the Windows XP SP2 on that hard drive (possibly along with everything else, including the OS X "Leopard" image or anything that is on the particular hard drive) . . .

In the Windows universe, this is very easy to do, but I have never done it on a Mac, since I never have problems with my Mac . . .

SO . . .

Can I do this with SuperDuper!, and if there is not a lot of stuff in the Windows XP SP2 partitions, does it take very long to do a complete and full restore . . .

Also, are the SuperDuper! images totally low-level to the point that I can copy a Mac hard drive, toss the original hard drive, install a new blank hard drive, restore it via SuperDuper!, and there is no difference whatsoever, at all, in any way?

For reference, I am not trying to fool anyone or to avoid being fully licensed. I will have a licensed copy of Windows XP SP2 for each instance, and obviously I will have a licensed copy of OS X for the Mac Pro, itself . . .

The key to doing this is that I need to be able to restore the Windows XP SP2 partitions reasonably quickly (5 to 15 minutes, depending on the application and development software mix), since some of the more advanced InstallShield work is simply guessing and trying different stuff, which is strange, but it works . . .

For the curious folks who have never run a typical Windows installation program or setup, what usually happens is that the user has to answer a lot of totally pointless questions and to click on all sorts of silly "Next", "Are you sure?", "Would you like a free MSN account?", and so forth and so on, with all sorts of other stuff popping-up at odd times as Windows, itself, tries to intervene in the madness by going off on a tangent to try to install whatever you are installing, to the point that you have to cancel the Windows "helper" to continue the installation you started, which borders on global insanity, really . . .

So, I devise ways to make it work more like it does in the Mac universe, where you drag a happy icon to the Applications folder, and there you are. My Windows clients like this, and they are happy to pay for the work, which is fabulous . . .

If you have never run an installation program in Windows or watched one being run, you truly have no idea how messed-up it is over there . . .

Thanks in advance for any advice and help!

P.S. As a bit of a high-level summary, this is a typical scenario of what I need to do:

(1) There is an 8-core Mac Pro with 4 hard drives, one which has OS X and via Boot Camp one instance of Windows XP SP2 in a partition. Each of the three other hard drives also has an instance of Windows XP SP2 in a separate partition. All are fully licensed, and two of the Windows XP SP2 instances are setup for development (one with Visual Studio .NET and SQL Server 2000, and another with Visual Studio .NET and SQL Server 2005 Express), with these being used solely for development, hence will rarely need to be restored from saved hard drive images. The other two instances of Windows XP SP2 are used for "destructive testing" and likely will need to be restored from a set of stored hard drive images, depending on the type of testing I need to do, with the idea being that I need to be able to test installation programs based on having a "pristine" copy of Windows XP SP2 . . .

(2) During the development phase, I will do a lot of programming and stuff, which is fabulous. This will be done on the first two instances of Windows XP SP2 . . .

(3) When I start testing, I will want to run a prototype installation on one of the "test" Windows XP SP2 instances, followed by checking that everything is OK. Then, I will want to zap the "test" Windows XP SP2 instance and restore it from a saved hard drive image, with the restoring done via SuperDuper! and whatever external hardware is required to make it reasonably fast (5 to 15 minutes). These "test" Windows XP SP2 saved SuperDuper! images typically will be minimal, with just the operating system and SQL Server (2000 or 2005 Express) and no other application or system software installed after the fact, which overall maps to reasonably small "footprints" . . .

I can do this with DELL computers, but do I have enough strands of garlic to keep from being totally freaked?

NO!

Do I want four DELL computers?

NO!

I want an 8-core Mac Pro and an Apple 23" Cinema HD display!

So, the key to doing this is to be able to create hard drive images (or partition images, if that is possible), to have a library of them based on different testing scenarios, to be able to do "destructive testing", and to be able to restore the Windows XP SP2 partitions to "pristine" states very rapidly (5 to 15 minutes is plenty fast) . . .

Is this strange?

PERHAPS! But it is what I need to do, and if I can do it, then it puts Apple hardware on the table, which makes the table look GOOD and saves me a lot of money on garlic . . .
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