NTR Dual Boot Re-Image Project

Project Overview

The Nonprofit Technology Resources has approached us with a project that involves getting a flavor of Gnu/Linux on all of their desktops. They asked if we could create an automated re-install process for Windows, that the user (NTR customer) themselves can implement. Basically, NTR installs and supports Windows installs. WinXP often gets corrupted and they feel that much of their support time is wasted re-installing it.

The negotiations ended up being, along with that functionality, the boxes would have to be dual boot; Windows as primary, with the option to boot an Ubuntu flavor. The grub menu will show three items:

  • Windows XP
  • Xubuntu 8.04.1
  • Restore WinXP

The process for making this possible is a bit complicated. NTR has a pile of old hard drives that vary in size from 6GB and 20GB. They already have desktop PCs with WinXP already installed. Our plan is to install Xubuntu to all of those extra drives, set them to Master, and then install them in the desktop PCs. Here's a block diagrams that details the process: Basic Logic Flowchart

Team Members (add your name and task)

Team Member Name


Kevin Valentine

kevin dot valentine at gmail

Jim Fisher

(636) 2-JEDI-JF (253-3453) / jedijf at myfisher dot org

Location and Information

NTR Website
Directions to NTR
Google Map Visuals & Info

NTR Events and Info

To stay updated on any events at NTR, like the Bring a Computer Ask a Question Workshop, please join the NTR Staff mailing list. Many times their events get canceled at the last minute. Sometimes they have construction going on. You may even need to ask their staff a quick question.
NTR Staff Mailing List

Software Development

A few simple bash scripts and config files have been created. They are maintained on our Launchpad page.
Launchpad page: NTR Imagers

The partimage-based disk image(s) can be found on our LoCo server.
Disk Images

Current Procedure: Video of Procedure

Time Line of Tasks Completed

Phase I (DONE 2008-09-20)

Demonstrate Feasibility of WinXP Restore to NTR

  • Call partimage with parameters that limit user interaction
  • Use gfxboot for the demonstration
  • Modify upstart scripts to run partimage with a specific grub boot parameter

Phase II (DONE 2008-09-27)

Test Final Drive Image at NTR

  • Verify that several target desktops boot Xubuntu with drive
  • Verify that WinXP image can be created from script on the desktop
  • Verify that WinXP image can be restored from grub menu selection
  • Try cloning with the KanguruClone 12 HD disk cloning system

Phase III (DONE 2008-11-08)

Determine Disk Method Cloning for Xubuntu Drive

  • Test new single partition drive on cloning system
  • Test alternative cloning method if cloning system fails
  • Settled on a hybrid cloning solution described here

Phase IV

Clean Up and Add Features to Xubuntu Drive

  • Add documentation and links to information
  • Link to Pidgin so user can ask questions on our IRC channel. Auto-login in as ntr-user when user selects Pidgin (DONE)
  • Settle on a gfxboot splash image (DONE)

  • Provide calendar alerts for when the next NTR workshop is coming (DONE)
  • Add tutorial that shows user how to backup WinXP personal files

Comments and Questions

  1. KanguruClone could not resize the drive properly when going from a small Master to a larger Target drive. The cloning system may have issues with having more than one partition on the drive. UPDATE (2008-11-08): This was tested thoroughly. The "resize copy" is the way to go but sometimes just doesn't work. Turns out the Kanguru is damaged and has been sent back to the mfg.

  2. If we have to got with an alternative cloning process for the Xubu drive, what are our options?
    1. Standalone PC with the Xubu Drive slaved to one of the IDE channels. Write a script that does the imaging.
    2. As was discussed in IRC, use Clonezilla over the network. NTR didn't like this idea before but they may be interested now.
    3. Have LoCo team members manually copy (partimage) Xubuntu onto each drive and then resize with gparted.

  3. A short-term hybrid solution will used use for now. It is documented here.

PennsylvaniaTeam/CommunityOutreachTeam/NTRDualBootImage (last edited 2009-08-29 14:26:50 by pool-96-227-252-122)