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Can windows xp be captured?


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#1 nitussi

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

Hi, I am a noob to all this and I have a few questions to ask to see if a solution is possible. Hope this is the rite place to ask?

I have a pc running micro xp, 2 GB of ram, and a 500 GB hd. It has a few simple learning games on it and everything is perfect. I prefer micro xp because it is very small and it boots very fast. The OS and apps take up about 3.5 GB of HD space and I will call this the master computer.

I watch kids all day for work and they like to play these simple learning games, so I have 19 other computers with the exact same specs but that they do not have hard drives in them. The mobo's are fairly new and compact in these pc's so they do not have IDE ports. As you may know hard drives are very expensive now, and buying a set of sata hd's for these computers will set me back about $2000!

Since nothing but the installed games is going to be ran on them, is it possible to just capture my micro XP OS from my master and somehow put it on a 4 or 8 GB thumb drive to run in a live environment? That way I would only have to afford 19 usb drives. I do have XP licenses for every computer by the way.

I tried to use imagX and the latest WAIK but it did not boot and I kinda new it wasn't going to ..but I learned a lot from the process. I believe it is possible with LiveXP, but i just don't understand how i would do my registry changes and install the apps if I have to create the PE from the install disk.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

#2 MedEvil

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:44 PM

If you don't have licenses for the other computers, it's illegal to run XP on them, no matter which way.
To use a Linux would be the only cheap legal way for you.

ImageX and Waik are for Vista/Win7/Win8 only.

To build LiveXP is very simple.
Just point it to the folder, where to you extracted the contents of a XPSP2 or XPSP3 installation disk and press the blue Play button.

For the games, you can try to simply copy them onto a USB-Stick and then check, if they already work that way in LiveXP.

If the computers are networked, the best and cheapest way would be, to boot them over PXE, this way you wouldn't even need to buy the USB-Sticks.

:cheers:

#3 nitussi

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:02 PM

Thanks for the reply.

Now I understand liveXP alot better. Question though..If I make registry changes in PE, will they be permanent even at next boot up? What about drivers? Or are you supposed to build the LiveXP on that specific computer and it automatically gets the drivers? I am a little confused.

Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I did mention that I do have licenses for every single computer. Thanks.

Edited by nitussi, 07 March 2012 - 01:09 PM.


#4 MedEvil

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:55 PM

A PE any PE is mostly meant as a rescue system. Therefore it is a universal OS not adapted to any specific machine.

LiveXp will not remember anything on next boot. It is always clean as freshly fallen snow.

What about drivers? Or are you supposed to build the LiveXP on that specific computer and it automatically gets the drivers? I am a little confused.

You basicly have to build LiveXP containing all the drivers you need for all the computers you want to use it on.
Since all you computers are identical this is rather easy.

Put all drivers you wish to include into LiveXP into some folder. (Please note that the driver can not be an archive! i.e. you should have a bunch of files ending of inf, sys, dll and so on)
In WB go to LiveXP\Apps\Network\PENetwork. (Yes, sounds like it is for network only, but works for all drivers!)
Scroll down to "Add drivers from this directory (including subdirs):".
Browse to the "some" folder. :D
Done!


but I did mention that I do have licenses for every single computer

Sorry misread that.

:cheers:

#5 amalux

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:58 PM

LiveXp will not remember anything on next boot. It is always clean as freshly fallen snow.

Individual program settings, including registry changes can be saved and loaded next boot automatically.

You basicly have to build LiveXP containing all the drivers you need for all the computers you want to use it on.

Drivers can be added, updated as needed for NIC and audio without rebuilding PE from scratch. Mass storage are more difficult but shouldn't need updating anyway.

Put all drivers you wish to include into LiveXP into some folder. (Please note that the driver can not be an archive! i.e. you should have a bunch of files ending of inf, sys, dll and so on)

DriverPacks and other archives can be automatically scanned at each boot to supply drivers as needed for each host machine's needs ;)

#6 Michele13

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:57 AM

Why don't you try Amalux's LiveXP? it is awesome! if you run it from a pc that has windows installed you can import sound and video card drivers to play videogames :P it has a lot of usefoul tools in it. Burning programs, Media Players, Internet Browser, Backup Tools, Antivirus and a lot more! :) I have to admit that if your children mess up with that LiveCD your PC could be damaged (loss of data and other things you know) :P
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#7 pscEx

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 10:12 AM

Individual program settings, including registry changes can be saved and loaded next boot automatically.

How can this be done in the LiveXP PE when you booted from a CD?

Peter :dubbio:

#8 amalux

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 03:19 PM

How can this be done in the LiveXP PE when you booted from a CD?

The files and registry data are not saved to the image but in the individual program directory which is external to the CD.

#9 amalux

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 03:27 PM

Why don't you try Amalux's LiveXP? it is awesome!

Hey, thank you for the nice words! Really appreciated :)

#10 MedEvil

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 03:47 PM

At which point in the boot process is registry data incorporated? Or with other words, what kind of settings can be added by this mechanism?

:cheers:

#11 pscEx

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 03:59 PM

The files and registry data are not saved to the image but in the individual program directory which is external to the CD.

Maybe I'm stupid. But I still do not understand.

Let's do a test:
  • Boot from your LiveXP CD
  • Start a browser in the PE
  • Change standard page from google to reboot.pro
  • Boot at a different PC from your LiveXP CD.
Question: How to have reboot.pro as standard page by accessing the "individual program directory which is external to the CD" ?

Peter

#12 MedEvil

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 04:12 PM

I think Amalux is talking about using a Floppy or USB-Stick to store the changed settings and then incorporating them back in on all future boot ups.

:cheers:

#13 amalux

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 04:16 PM

At which point in the boot process is registry data incorporated? Or with other words, what kind of settings can be added by this mechanism?

Usually at the point where the shell first loads but there are a number of different methods for accomplishing this goal. With most programs there are no limitations on what can be saved but this is on a program by program basis. Generally, If the changes can be captured via ART (Advanced Registry Tracer) or similar (e.g. if manually adding saved data produces expected results in PE) then this data can be saved at close of program and reintegrated at next shell load.

There is also virtual registry (ThinApp, JauntePE etc) which eliminates the need to work directly with PE registry, preferable in many cases and similarly, eliminates the need to backup and restore affected program and system files.

#14 amalux

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 04:21 PM

Maybe I'm stupid. But I still do not understand.

Let's do a test:

  • Boot from your LiveXP CD
  • Start a browser in the PE
  • Change standard page from google to reboot.pro
  • Boot at a different PC from your LiveXP CD.
Question: How to have reboot.pro as standard page by accessing the "individual program directory which is external to the CD" ?

Peter

Yes, MedEvil is correct, the files/data must be stored somewhere off CD, I use UFD but any writable drive will do. In the case of the browser settings, I used to physically save the profile but now use a virtual file structure similar to ThinApp.

#15 ambralivio

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:26 PM

Amalux,

this is a very interesting feature, thoug I actually didn't understand yet.

Could you please elaborate the concept ?

Thanks
Ambralivio

#16 amalux

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:41 PM

Hi ambralivio,

Generally, this feature is associated with portable programs known as ppApps; there is some discussion on this towards the end of the tutorial here and explained in detail here. The idea is to have programs which work the same as 'built-in' (script) programs in PE but have them easily added or removed without the need to rebuild your boot disk from scratch. The self-contained programs are kept in a folder of your choice, usually on a removable USB stick (but anywhere will do) and a special launcher, called ppAppsGenPE, creates shortcuts, file associations etc. for these programs in PE at startup. There is no special configuration needed to add (or remove) programs, if the programs are there then they'll be added automatically (by any PE which has ppAppsGen script included).

Because these programs run from a writable drive, any changes or customizations made while running in PE can be saved to the same folder where the program is running from, therefore changes made are persistent between boots. There are many such examples here and in the tutorial; a good example of saving changes between boots is found in BGInfo (part of SiSuite) here: http://www.mediafire...owdt779ixxovoj7 The setup creates shortcuts in your start menu for turning BGInfo (system info display on desktop) ON or OFF and configuring desktop location, font type/color etc. Any changes made will persist between PE boots.

#17 MedEvil

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 10:37 PM

Oops, seems i had misunderstood you before. This feature is far less, than what i expected.

There is no actual process to save registry data or the user profile. Just the ability of portable Apps, from portableapps.com, to save their own settings, is employed.

I thought, we were talking about a LiveLinux like setup, where all programs are on the CDVD and only the settings get saved to and loaded from a writable space.

:cheers:

#18 amalux

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:00 PM

It seems like we have danced this dance before...

There is no actual process to save registry data or the user profile. Just the ability of portable Apps, from portableapps.com, to save their own settings, is employed.

(nothing to do with portableapps.com, where did that come from?) You can save specific registry data using e.g. reg save and add that data back with reg add at startup. This works well for individual programs where 20-30 keys need to added back. I haven't tried with larger, system wide changes; I haven't had the need and it probably wouldn't work.

#19 MedEvil

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:33 PM

It seems like we have danced this dance before...

If you think so, you're probably right. I don't remember it though.

(nothing to do with portableapps.com, where did that come from?)

Sorry.

You can save specific registry data using e.g. reg save and add that data back with reg add at startup. This works well for individual programs where 20-30 keys need to added back. I haven't tried with larger, system wide changes; I haven't had the need and it probably wouldn't work.

I think psc and i both had the idea, that you were talking about a general purpose process, which works for system wide changes.

:cheers:

#20 ambralivio

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:48 AM

Amalux,

thanks for the clarifications. Now it's clear you referred to the portableapplications (which I used in the past, following your good tutorial).

Honestly, I was thinking the same as MedEvil, that is you were referring to some type of "persistence".

Really, the portable applications need anyway to have some setting or .ini file and, consequently, it makes no sense to have them on a read-only media; in fact, when these are used, it is better in all the cases, they are saved/stored in some external writable media/folder (together to their setting file), just for making easy their management (upgrade, update and so on).

Sorry, but I (like MedEvil) had a misunderstanding,

ambralivio

#21 amalux

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:24 PM

Sorry guys for the misunderstanding. In theory it's possible to do what you want but I haven't personally found it necessary or wise. The main changes I want persistent are program installations, file associations and specific tweaks like BGInfo, wallpaper etc. all of which are easily saved between boots. Other changes I need like adding drivers to import list or updating system files is easy via ISO editor and could be automated if anyone wanted it. I think a better question would be, what specifically do you want saved that can't be easily saved now? Maybe this can be added.

The problem with treating PE as a full OS where any changes made are automatically saved is that many changes shouldn't be saved in PE. Better to keep saved changes specific and controlled (and reversible) e.g. the core PE must remain stable and incorruptible.
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#22 pscEx

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:34 PM

The problem with treating PE as a full OS where any changes made are automatically saved is that many changes shouldn't be saved in PE. Better to keep saved changes specific and controlled (and reversible) e.g. the core PE must remain stable and incorruptible.

I'm glad that you share my opinion about PE. It is for emergency or installation purposes. Developers should not try to bring the PE to ?? percent like a real OS.

Peter :1st:

#23 amalux

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:12 PM

I tried to Like your post but got a strange error :(
like-err.png

#24 pscEx

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:21 PM

The board software assumes that you are too friendly!

Peter :cheers:

#25 ambralivio

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:10 PM

The problem with treating PE as a full OS where any changes made are automatically saved is that many changes shouldn't be saved in PE. Better to keep saved changes specific and controlled (and reversible) e.g. the core PE must remain stable and incorruptible.


Amalux,

your statement above is correct, even if partially.

In fact, the natural question which comes in mind now is : Why portableapplications were included in PE ?
Clearly, there was a (successful) attempt to make PE "a bit more portable", I suppose....and portability is important, as you know.

Besides, and my life experience strongly is suggesting this, never impose, :diablo: and in whatever condition you are, to set and to fix constraints to the development. :thumbsup:

Who never know that, at a certain point, some persistence level could become on hand !!!!!!

Therefore, even if I fully agree on the main aims/targets of PEs (as below) :clapping:

I'm glad that you share my opinion about PE. It is for emergency or installation purposes. Developers should not try to bring the PE to ?? percent like a real OS.


I have no doubt that a more and more "portability" for PE should be desirable and highly appreciated.

ambralivio :cheers:




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