Feedback

Installation issues, feature requests, help, etc.

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Natan
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Feedback

Postby Natan » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:47 pm

Hi !
So, you've just downloaded PING and set up, or tried to set up, your own PXE server... why not give us some feedback ?

Has it worked for you ? Could some points be improved ?
Or, have you encountered troubles ?

well, you got the picture...
Natan

bjs1400
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Good Work

Postby bjs1400 » Tue May 23, 2006 5:27 pm

I like the software a lot. I have been trying (half-assidly) to get something like this going on my home lan and now I finally have accomplished this. The howtos written are great, a lot easier than others for other PXE booting situations.

However I do belive the user interface can be improved in the software. I think the mounting of the samba share can be cleaned up. Also, I think the tools for creating an image and restoring from an image can also be cleaned up. I would love to be be able to load up PING, it ask for samba share(s) and then ask if I want to make an image, restore a disk, etc. I am considering taking some time and perhaps write some code for this project.

Overall: Great work!! This software has a LOT of potential. I have set this up on a windows server (but my dhcp comes from a linux server) and currently am set up to pxe-boot PING, WINNER and BartPE; 3 great tools for administering a network.

mnespolo
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Location: Putney. VT

Postby mnespolo » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:23 pm

Hello!

I just want to say that as a user of Symantec Ghost, I really like PING. I found it looking for an alternative when we starting having problems imaging newer laptops with Ghost.

It's worked on most of our laptops using the PXE network boot, but not three specific models with different network cards than all the rest. They are:

Lenovo Thinkpad T60 Laptop with Intel Pro/1000 PL Adapter
Toshiba Tecra A4 and M3 with Marvell Yukon 88E8036 PCI-E Fast Ethernet

While I'm not so surprised that the Yukon doesn't work, I was a little surprised at the Intel. Neither seems able to negotiate the DHCP server and will keep giving an error when trying to connect to PING.

I'm guessing the kernel needs support for them added. Is this something you will consider fixing in the future?

Thanks for the great free product!

Maria

salle
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Postby salle » Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:50 pm

Hello!

I love this software! It helps me to create a backup from, for example, my relatives' computers right after I've installed Windows with all it's updates, making me skip the slow installation procedure (3gb image drops in less than 10 minutes from a dvd!).

PING also has potential for our company use, but we would need it to work specifically with Thinkpad T60's (the ones mnespolo also mentioned). I've understood that it has a PCI-Express network interface, and that the support in Linux is only in beta stage(?). Still I'd appreciate if you could try to add at least experimental support for this card. I don't have the skills to embed the driver to the PING package. :)

Oh and for the features. These I would request:

-Possibility to make the backup/image to the same drive the backup/image is taken from (/me thinks if this is even possible? PING reading and writing at the same time to the same hard drive?)

-At least possibility to make the backup/image on an USB hard drive and/or another IDE/SATA hard drive on the machine that's being backed up.

-Possibility to select which drive/partition you want to backup, or does it backup only a whole drive (cannot backup only a partition?)

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Natan
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Postby Natan » Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:56 pm

salle wrote:Hello!

I love this software! It helps me to create a backup from, for example, my relatives' computers right after I've installed Windows with all it's updates, making me skip the slow installation procedure (3gb image drops in less than 10 minutes from a dvd!).

THANKS a lot for this feedback! everyone here...

salle wrote:PING also has potential for our company use, but we would need it to work specifically with Thinkpad T60's (the ones mnespolo also mentioned). I've understood that it has a PCI-Express network interface, and that the support in Linux is only in beta stage(?). Still I'd appreciate if you could try to add at least experimental support for this card. I don't have the skills to embed the driver to the PING package. :)

I've just released a new version of PING, with an upgraded kernel (2.6.19.1). It has solved this kind of problems with Dell laptops, and maybe it will work out of the box for your Thinkpad. But if not, please let me know the NIC model, and I'll update the kernel.

salle wrote:Oh and for the features. These I would request:

-Possibility to make the backup/image to the same drive the backup/image is taken from (/me thinks if this is even possible? PING reading and writing at the same time to the same hard drive?)

Yes; this will be done in a further release.

salle wrote:-At least possibility to make the backup/image on an USB hard drive and/or another IDE/SATA hard drive on the machine that's being backed up.

Can be done as well. I'll probably add a auto-discovery step, then ask the user for the right target.

salle wrote:-Possibility to select which drive/partition you want to backup, or does it backup only a whole drive (cannot backup only a partition?)

Well, currently, we backup the whole first drive. It's what most people need, obviously, because PING is being used mostly for PC deployment jobs. It's easy, yet, to remove unneeded backuped partitions by deleting files in your Partimage shared directory. Maybe then you'll want to delete as well the hda (or sda) file, and replace it by an ASCII hda.part file.

This point will be detailed in next release, and made menu-driven.

Regards
Natan

salle
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Postby salle » Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:19 pm

Natan wrote:Well, currently, we backup the whole first drive. It's what most people need, obviously, because PING is being used mostly for PC deployment jobs. It's easy, yet, to remove unneeded backuped partitions by deleting files in your Partimage shared directory. Maybe then you'll want to delete as well the hda (or sda) file, and replace it by an ASCII hda.part file.

This point will be detailed in next release, and made menu-driven.


Hi again, and thanks for replying!

Actually I'm going to use PING for PC deployment, but only for our company's remote users (the ones we won't ever see). The idea is that they all have the same laptop models, and only one image. They can have the image on a dvd, so if they mess (I mean, WHEN they mess) up their PC, only thing needed would be to insert the dvd and voila, brand new installation.

But the need for backing up only the first partition is simple (and when dropping the image, not erasing second partition): Users could keep their files & documents on the second partition, so when (remember not 'if', but 'when' ;) their Windows gets messed up again, they won't lose any files, but still get a fresh installation.

I'm not sure if I understood what you were saying (sorry, I'm exhausted), but you were going to implement something like this in a future version?

salle

Victor
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Postby Victor » Wed Jan 10, 2007 8:33 pm

To Natan,

I want to keep only the first partition and not the entire drive. I can delete the unnecessary file from the image directory. However, what do you mean by replacing it with an ASCII hda.part file? What's the content of that file? Is there a FAQ on this?

thanks,

victor

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Natan
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Postby Natan » Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:33 am

Hi Salle,
salle wrote:Hi again, and thanks for replying!

Actually I'm going to use PING for PC deployment, but only for our company's remote users (the ones we won't ever see). The idea is that they all have the same laptop models, and only one image. They can have the image on a dvd, so if they mess (I mean, WHEN they mess) up their PC, only thing needed would be to insert the dvd and voila, brand new installation.

But the need for backing up only the first partition is simple (and when dropping the image, not erasing second partition): Users could keep their files & documents on the second partition, so when (remember not 'if', but 'when' ;) their Windows gets messed up again, they won't lose any files, but still get a fresh installation.

I'm not sure if I understood what you were saying (sorry, I'm exhausted), but you were going to implement something like this in a future version?

salle

No, right now you can do it very easily. Create your image; in the directory \\server\partimage\My_Image\, you'll find files hda, hda1, and hda2 (or sda* if sata/scsi/sas).

hda is a copy of the disk's boot sector; hda1 is the first partition (=> C:\), and hda2 the second one. All you have to do is to delete hda2. So, it won't be written anymore.

I'll menu-drive it in a future release. But it currently works.
Natan

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Natan
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Postby Natan » Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:43 am

Victor wrote:To Natan,

I want to keep only the first partition and not the entire drive. I can delete the unnecessary file from the image directory. However, what do you mean by replacing it with an ASCII hda.part file? What's the content of that file? Is there a FAQ on this?

thanks,

victor

Hi there; the hda.part trick is not necessary here, since you just have to delete the hda2 file (see my message just before in the current topic).

I'm not sure the current doc explains well the role of the hda.part file. It's useful when you have made an image, and need to restore it on hard disk drives that can be bigger than the original one you created an image from.

Ex.: in 2004, your company uses 40go-disks. You make an image. In 2005, they upgrade the hdd component only... PING can handle this the following way: in the \\server\partimage\My_Image\ directory, you would then delete the hda2 file, and replace it with a hda2.zip file (containing what you want to have on the D: partition). You would finally add a hda.part text file, containing something like the following:

Code: Select all

;[Partition number] [Partition Size] [Partition Type] [Label] [Boot flag]
;
1   4000M   7   SYSTEM   *
2   +   7   DATA   /


;Format:
;  - TAB-separated CSV file.
;  - Blank lines are ignored.
;  - Leading ; means that line is commented out.
;  - Partition size: 20000M or 20000000K or 20000000000
;  - Partition size: + means: affect the whole remaining space.
;  - Partition type: see unix fdisk (7 = ntfs, c = fat32, 83 = ext2/3, etc.)
;  - Boot flag: * means bootable. Other: not bootable.

Regards
Natan

Zemog
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:07 am
Location: Mexicali, B.C. México

My experience with PING

Postby Zemog » Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:59 am

Hello, first of all I would like to thank you for this incredible product.! clap clap clap! 8)

A few weeks ago I created a restore DVD for a friend and after a few small bumps everything went fine. I used the boot CD, created the image, created the boot cd and it booted fine. Honestly I didn't tried to restore the system to test it because I was running out of time to deliver the pc.

For the above project I used PING 1.10

Currently (as I write this post) I´m backing up a fresh XP Pro SP2 installation on a new Lenovo 3000/C100 notebook from work. For this job I´m using ver 1.11 and booting from PXE (because neither the 1.10 or the 1.11 boot CDs I´ve made worked on the notebook :()

So, this is my current setup:
Belkin wireless DSL/Router w/ DHCP enabled with a limited 10 IP pool.
Host computer: AMD Athlon 2GB RAM on a wireless LAN connection.
Remote computer: Lenovo 3000/C100 notebook on a wired LAN connection (directly to the Belkin router, since PXE boot is done on the wired NIC)

I've set up the PXE on the host pc following the how-to documentation but changed the starting IP pool (in order to avoid conflicts with the Belkin's DHCP).

So I hooked up the laptop and booted to PXE, I don't know which DHCP server provided the IP (I guess it was the Belkin) but everything went fine until an error message popped up with regards to something about not enough RAM. :shock: Wha??... given that the Laptop has 1GB RAM I came to the forum and found a thread where Natan said that the old how-to had a smaller RAM size on the default file (I was using the old how-to doc "using PING" that I've downloaded three weeks ago :roll:), so I updated the value and it worked like a charm. :)

So, as I said, I'm still creating the lenovo image (about 50% done of a 4.3 GB size) and I plan to create the restore DVD to set up a couple of same-model new notebooks at work. (I will change the Win SID on them)

I will be doing that later this week, so I'll tell you how it went as soon as I can.

I'm just wondering about this: The three notebooks are the exact same make/model, but the one I'm backing up right now has an updated BIOS firmware. Should I apply the update to the other notebooks before using the restore DVD on them? I might do so anyway, to be on the safe side, but still wonder what would happen If I don´t do so.

Oh and btw, I believe that the screenshots on the how-to doc are in the wrong order, I think that the second screen (the menu) appeared after the directory part... I´m not 100% sure of this, but I´ll get back to you on this one once the image creation is done. ;)

Zemog
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Location: Mexicali, B.C. México

Postby Zemog » Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:35 am

Ok, this is the addendum for my post above.

The image creation went fine, and It reminded me something. After the image creation is done, the system reboots without hesitation, no warning no nothing. The first time I used PING, with my friends computer, I left the pc unattended, and when I came back to check it out it was waiting for a keypress after booting up.

So I went to the host, and checked that the image was less than predicted *about two thirds* so I thought that something went wrong and did the whole process again just to be sure. Then I found out that the process went flawlessly but when it finished it booted without having a chance to check any message. I think it would be nice to wait for a keypress or something to reset to allow the user to know that everything was fine.

Oh, and just to straighten something I wrote before: it is now obvious to me that the DHCP server that provided the IP on the PXE was in fact the one with the PXE server duh! and not the router's DHCP server :roll:

One last thing, I can confirm now that the how-to has the second screenshot (the menu) out of place, given that the menu needs to locate the host first in order to list the found images and present them as restore options.

sky
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Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:00 am

Postby sky » Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:48 am

Hi Natan,

I've just tried out your pre-release and I cannot find any images can be restored when the CD boots up. I found that it cannot wake my Intel Pro-100VE network adaptor up.

Nice to have a erreta on this.

Thanks.

Ssin
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:49 am

Great piece of software

Postby Ssin » Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:52 pm

Hi everyone,

Let me first tell you how great this piece of software is!
I just love to boot on the network and be able to restore/backup my partitions from/to a "server" (yeah it really is only a simple PC sharing a HDD).
I've been trying on 5 or 6 different configurations ranging from P3 to P4 and so far I must I'm very happy with it. I tried 1.10, 1.11 and now 1.12 beta.
I must say I'm a complete newbie when it comes to linux (well I can mkdir and ls but that's about it) but the deployment of PiNG is a breeze when you follow the documentation.
But somehow I've stumbled upon a batch of computer with SATA hard drives and guess what... couldn't be recognized. The computers are made of Asus Barebones V2-PE2 with P5VD2 motherboard in it. The chipset used are NB VIA PM890 + SB VIA 8237A. I'd guess that something like compiling the drivers into the kernel should resolve the problem and I'm more than willing to try and do that... but hmmm how to say... I don't know where to start and what to look for.
Also PiNG 1.12 beta says that you can customize ping.conf file so that you wont have to type the SMB shares, the IP adress, etc. over and over again... where is that ping.conf file?

Yeah I know it probably sounds like newbie questions. Once again I am a newbie so don't throw too many rocks at me. A complete taken-by-the-hand solution would be great but I'd be more than happy with just pointers. I would'nt turn down an invitation to learn something ;)

Oh by the way I noticed that on one of my machine (an old Compaq P3) PiNG needs more than 128MB to run. Either from boot CD or from PXE boot... it probably is normal but I thought I'd just mention it.

Once again a round of applaus for the great work done so far!

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A_Null
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Feature Request - Restore Confirmation

Postby A_Null » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:07 pm

Natan,

I used PING 1.11 to create an image of a new, bare install on a Toshiba laptop - worked great. I then loaded an armload of software on the Toshiba, and wanted to create a second image... sort of a 'bare' image, and a 'loaded' image set. Hmmm... loaded for bear... wait... sorry, I got distracted for a moment.

Anyway, klutzy me, I went for the arrow key, and hit enter instead, and it began restoring the original 'bare' image to the system. I *TRIED* to stop it, but it had already begun (already past the BIOS and started the HDD), so I had to run a chkdsk (since I stopped mid-restore) and re-run the image restore to get it back. It only cost me a few CD installations, but it pointed out the need for a confirmation prompt on the restore.

Think you can put in a "This will completely replace the contents of your system!! Continue or Abort" type of prompt? It may prevent accidental destruction.

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Natan
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Postby Natan » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:26 pm

Hi;
one more warning is probably a Good Thing (tm). Will add it...
thanks for the idea.


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