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Best Practices for Using ReImage November 20, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in Benefits, Partners, SMBTN, Tools.
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A couple of weeks ago, we introduced a new relationship with a company called ReImage. ReImage is a software tool that promises to repair broken Windows XP installations in as little as 30 minutes.

I have personally run the tool on 25-30 machines over the past month with great success and have come to rely upon it as a first response tool for issues I encounter with XP. Like most tools, it is not perfect and won’t correct every issue. However, after working with it for this period of time, I have come up with some best practices that should assist you, when you decide to give it a try.

  1. Run ReImage from safe-mode with networking or its boot CD. If you are using a remote support tool like LogMeIn IT Reach or Rescue, you can still run this tool by first rebooting the computer into “Safe Mode” and then reconnecting with it to make the repair.
  2. ReImage is an ActiveX control and must be run from Microsoft Internet Explorer. It currently does not support Firefox and Beta versions of Internet Explorer.
  3. While I often run ReImage in its Autofix and Reboot mode on computers that are really messed up, I recommend that you run it in standard mode for most systems and review the Analysis report before making any repairs. ReImage will disable startup applications it is not aware of and gives you the option of bringing them back at a later date using MSConfig. A cursory review of the analysis report permits you to uncheck those programs that you do not want disabled and provides you with other important troubleshooting information.
  4. If you are running ReImage on a machine that you suspect is infected with a rootkit, run it from the boot CD.
  5. Temporarily turn off any antivirus software while running ReImage, as the product contains AVG antivirus. When the initial repair is complete, I recommend that you reenable your regular antivirus software and run a full scan of the hard drive.
  6. ReImage won’t help old/weak PC’s that are laden with a lot of legitimate memory resident programs (e.g. Skype + ICQ + Miranda + Yahoo + MSN + AV + Anti-Spyware + Firewall + Windows/Google Desktop Search etc).  In such a case the hardware itself cannot support the load of so many programs.
  7. Reimage will indicate a slow HDD (which can indicate an HDD on its way to die) and low RAM. Paying attention to such warnings (written in red) shown by Reimage can be a key to find the problem, even if Reimage itself cannot (obviously) fix it, it can still diagnose it.
  8. Fixing 3rd party programs (anything that is not a part of Windows XP) is limited to scenarios in which an unhealthy OS causes a 3rd party application not to run well. However, in many cases it’s the 3rd party application is faulty and it is not the OS, so Reimage won’t help.
  9. When the PC is connected to a faulty network. A normal LAN is always advised, Wi-Fi is a greater risk. A firewall/gateway with strong content filtering mechanism MAY harm Reimage by altering the communication with the ReImage server. However, most of my clients are running SonicWALL TotalSecure firewalls with all the bells and whistles and have had no issue.
  10. PCs that suffer from spontaneous blue screens/ reboots while working/ idle are highly recommended to be fixed using Boot CD only. If spontaneous blue screens/reboots keep happening in Boot CD then it’s a hardware problem that must be addressed first. (Boot CD does NOT work in “from CD” mode. Only “from ramdisk” mode)
  11. Known issues with HDD (bad sectors etc, corrupt file system etc). Bad sectors are the time to replace the HDD. Corrupt file-system requires first running ChkDisk and making sure all is back to normal.
  12. If you have any issues, contact Technical Support and they will assist you. We have had great luck with them. They are good listeners and are very receptive to the feedback offered by SMBTN members.

The thing I like best about ReImage is that it meets the first criteria I have for SMB IT consulting which is “first, do no harm” (sounds familiar, huh?). Before it makes any repairs, it images a copy of all the files that it plans to modify so if you have a problem with a repair, you can restore the computer to its original state. It also does not effect user data.

We expect to announce a great program for SMBTN members that want to use ReImage within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have ideas about enhancements to the product or are having issues with a trial that you are having any difficulty addressing, please contact SMBTN Member Services and we will get you in touch with the right people at ReImage.

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