Re-Imaging my box

Today's going to be a busy day.  I want to outline the process we go through on almost a weekly basis to keep up to date with new Whidbey builds on our development machines.

Lets see where do I start.  We have what we call labs where our source code lives. Each team or group works off a particular source code lab so all our code gets checked into a single lab and we're a bit isolated from daily changes from other groups.  The problem is we need to keep in sync with those labs so almost weekly we take FIs (Forward Integrations) of their changes into our lab (and push our changes to their labs).  The problem arrises when we take an FI from one of the core teams like the CLR team or team.  When a big FI comes in we have to have devs on each team ready to fix and merge conflicts before we can try to build the code in our lab.  If any major API changes happened we then have to adjust our code appropriately until we can cleanly build our lab.  The next problem is that we have a certain version of the Whidbey and the CLR installed on our dev boxes.  If any core changes came in to the CLR (like new APIs) we have to put a new version of the CLR and Whidbey on our box.  This is the fun part.

We discovered long ago that uninstalling Whidbey and putting a new drop of Whidbey up can be problematic (since we're using daily builds which may not be stable and uninstalling all parts may not work correctly).  It's was much simpler to re-image our dev box to a clean system.  We have some tools to help with this.  So you first have to setup your box the way you like it (windows 2003, Office, etc...), apply all patches then when happy with it take an image of the box.  The first thing I need to do is backup any data that I don't want to lose when I restore an image.  Restoring only affects my C drive and my E drive is my "Data" drive that doesn't get touched,  I usually don't have to do much at this stage since I store everything on this drive.  Just maybe backup my IE favorites or anything else on my C drive that I may want to keep.

Once that's done, I use a server tool on another box that controls the imaging software and select the image I want to restore.  Once the re iimaging is done (15 minutes or so)  I'm back at my logon screen with a clean machine.  Once logged in I have to get any window updates that were released since the last time I  imagined my box, restore my favorites and reinstall any software that I had added to my machine since the last image.  Then occasionally I will grab a new image of my updated machine.  This can take about an hour or longer to complete, but then the next time I need an image it will be more up to date.

So I now have a clean machine and am ready to install Whidbey.  I think I'll detail that step tomorrow since this log is getting long.  I know you just can't wait to hear all about it.

Have a great day.



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