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Norton ghost enterprise edition with foolproof menu

Posted on 2003-02-24
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Hi all,

I have the following problem:
I work in a support environment where we use different laptops to test pcmcia cards. To assist customers as best as we can we'd like to recreate their problems on our laptops using vanilla install images of several OS's.

Currently we do the following:
Partition the drive in one partion that contains the OS and the other contains the different image files. With a Ghost bootdisk we then locally dump the OS from the image file onto the first partition. This has worked fine for a while, but every once in a while someone attempts to delete the image files uses fdisk... etc.

Now I would like to do the following, first of all all images come from a dedicated file server. I want to create a boot disk (one dedicated to each particular laptop). The boot disk will initialize the network card, then it will load a menu, in which the client can select the operating system they want. The client can not specify what partition, etc. as will be configured in the menu options itself.
I would like to use Symantec Ghost enterprise 7.0.

Does anyone have any ideas what would be the best way to go about this is?
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Question by:Nilus78
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nouellette earned 400 total points
ID: 8009336
what you're going to have to do is write a batch file.  This batch file will basically write out step by step what you have to do here...in plain english (not the technical commands)...your batch file should perform the following:

1.  Boot to DOS
2.  Load NIC drivers for connectivity
3.  Call a simple .exe (written in whatever language)
4.  The .exe program offers a menu of operating systems.
5.  User inputs the menu item corresponding to the OS
6.  The menu item makes a call to start up ghost as well as calling parameters to load the specific image file for the OS.

I would choose C++ or something similar to write your simple menu program.  The menu item input then just calls the image file...should be pretty simple with some basic programming knowledge and batch file scripting as well.

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Expert Comment

by:ViRoy
ID: 8013585
Situation:
You want to create a Ghost Network Boot Disk or a Ghost Peer-to-Peer Network Boot Disk.

Solution:
Ghost uses the Ghost Network Boot Disk, also called the Ghost Multicast Client Boot Disk or the Ghost Peer-to-Peer Network Boot Disk, to start a computer into DOS and communicate over a TCP/IP connection (that is, through a network interface card) with another computer. This document provides information for creating the Ghost Network Boot Disk.

http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/docid/2000040710064725

-================================= OR =================================-

Situation:
You want to know how to create a Ghost Network Boot Disk by manually copying files to the disk.

Solution:
This document describes how to create the Ghost Network Boot Disk by creating a system disk and copying files to it. When you boot up with the Ghost Network Boot Disk, you can use the GhostCast Client with the GhostCast Server to create and deploy image files.

http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/docid/2000062113392125

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Expert Comment

by:ViRoy
ID: 8013594
i have used these before with norton ghost and it was smooth as silk. i was able to get 40 WindowsNT Workstation images loaded within 15 minutes!

both links describe the process and includes enterprise version 7
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Author Comment

by:Nilus78
ID: 8016176
Hi all,

Thanks for the replies so far, however my question is not yet entirely answered. What I am looking for is to create a menu under dos. Preferably a simple batch file that will enable the client to see a nice menu with the choice of operating system. All they need to do is boot up with the boot disk, the autoexec.bat will load the packetdriver and initialize the card and then call the menu batch file. I would like to do it the way nouellette suggested, but would need a little bit more help, my programming skills are not the best..., (read virtually non-existent).

I see there are a lot of menu applications, provided by third parties, but I'd like to create my menu itself. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks for your answers so far.

Niels

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Expert Comment

by:nouellette
ID: 8016830
Nilus,

I believe I already answered your question.  Yes you have to write a batch file that initializes network drivers for your NIC, then executes a menu-driven program...then the menu choice initializes Ghost and the corresponding Image file as well.  That's what you have to do.

You will have to find a simple menu driven, DOS based input program...but I doubt you'll find it.  Instead you'll have to probably write a program yourself or have someone do it for you.  In C++ a simple menu program that accepts input and calls an outside image file should be EXTREMELY easy for C++ gurus.

My advice is to post another question on the syntax to write your menu program and your batch file in case you don't know either.

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