Imaging is the process used by Technology Services to put a standard set of Gustavus software on a computer. This set includes both an operating system and application software. Both new and cascaded computers are imaged.

Imaging and/or Cascading Quick Links

Why would my computer be imaged?

There are many reasons why a computer would be imaged. If a computer is having significant software problems, is being cascaded as in the summer months, being replaced with new equipment, or the hard drive needs to be replaced, it would need to be imaged/re-imaged. Also, if a user is leaving his or her position and a new person is going to be using his or her computer, it would preferably be imaged between users. Computers with older operating systems should be imaged to bring them up to date with the Gustavus standards.

How long does the imaging/cascading process take?

It is our estimate that this process takes about two days. This is, however, an estimate. Because each computer has different computer hardware and each user has different amounts of data, the length of time it takes to image/cascade a computer varies from case to case. In some instances, it can take more than two days.

What happens to the software on my machine?

Each computer that is imaged for faculty, administrators, and staff receives the same standard set of current software. If the software you need is not on your newly imaged machine, please use the Managed Software Center (Macintosh) or Software Center (Windows) to install it. If you have additional software needs, please contact the Technology Helpline at 507-933-6111 or

What happens to my data?

Before your computer is imaged, all of the files are backed up. The files backed up include almost every file from your computer: documents, e-mail settings, bookmarks, system files, etc. After your computer is imaged, we restore the contents of your user profile, including documents, e-mail settings from Mac Mail or Thunderbird; Internet Explorer favorites; Firefox bookmarks; and printers. The hard drive is removed from your old computer and a new one is installed. The old hard drive is stored for two months before erasing and re-using.

What changes can I expect?

Because your computer is reformatted during this process, your system will NOT be exactly the same as it was when it left your office. There are some things that cannot be restored at the time of imaging. For example, if you have any network drives that are automatically connected, you will have to reconnect them when your computer is returned. Also, any software that you have added to your machine that is not in Managed Software or Software Center will need to be reinstalled. Technology Services will reinstall this software for you if you provide the installation CDs and serial numbers. Because the imaging process includes the newest versions of software used on campus, you may notice changes related to version changes. You can also expect hardware changes such as the absence of the DVD drive or changes in the charging cables for laptops. We will provide an external DVD drive upon request and new charging cables if applicable.

What can I expect to stay the same?

During the imaging process, we try very hard to restore the user environment that you are used to. Every effort is made to restore your data, templates, desktop shortcuts, printers, user accounts, e-mail settings from Thunderbird, Internet Explorer favorites and Firefox bookmarks. If any of these things are missing when you get your computer back, please let us know so we can restore what we have missed.

Can I get a tutorial?

Upon delivery, you will receive a short tutorial and letter about specific changes on your new system. If you are out of the office when your computer is returned, we will leave a letter and provide a tutorial when you return.

Who do I contact if I'm having problems?

If you have any problems or questions about the imaging process, please contact the Technology Helpline at 507-933-6111 or