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NetRestore

The best Boot Camp option at this point, however, appears to be Mike Bombich’s NetRestore. This wonderful freeware tool has been around since the early days of Mac OS X Server and has combined the functionality of NetBoot and Apple Software Restore to create an easy way to deploy new workstations. Mike has updated it to include the capability to restore Windows deployments for Boot Camp users.

Building on the open source ntfsprogs utility, which enables Unix and Linux operating systems to modify NTFS file systems, the latest version of NetRestore can create an image of an NTFS hard drive, copy and attach the MBR to it, and later use it to restore that image file to a properly crafted partition on an Intel Mac.

Because it captures and restores the MBR created by the Boot Camp assistant, the target hard drive can be partitioned using the GPT partitioning scheme. This matches Apple’s approach to creating a Boot Camp partition and might prove to work better with future Mac OS X releases than using the MBR partitioning scheme. Likewise, the image created will already include Windows updates, configuration, and the Mac hardware drivers. The only limitation is that the Windows partition must be formatted using NTFS.

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