Bootable Ghost CD

madscientist used Ask the Experts™
Hi. I work in a school where we occassionally need to clone an XP harddisc to lots of new machines, or to machines where the students have (some how) managed to mess it up. This has required me removing a harddisc from one machine and doing a 'disk to disk' clone with ghost in DOS.
To make the process faster I want to have the ghost image compressed on several bootable CD's to speed the process up. To to this however I first have to use sysprep to reseal the machine. I know Ghost 2003 can make bootable CD images in windows, but how can this be achieved with a sysprep-ed machine in DOS???

I hope this makes sense, Adam.
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The main site is down at the moment unfortunatly, do a search on google for "pe builder", this can build you a bootable windows CD, you can run ghost from this cd, replacing the dos element of creating the image.
Hi Adam,

it's quite easy actually... Just sysprep the machine and on reboot (when it supposed to boot to the unmanaged installation) drop in your ghost boot disk and boot from that, then just create the image and burn it from within ghost to (several) cd-r's. Depending on your version of ghost the dos edition should have burning capabilities, so you can burn the image directly and make it bootable all from ghost.

Kind regards,
rigor mortis

Site is still down but funny I was looking at this yesterday and still have the windows open.  This is rather long but just copy and paste it to your word document for easier reading.  Hope this helps.

--> Choose a method to create a bootable CD that restores the Ghost image
There are two methods for creating a bootable CD-R or CD-RW disc that can restore a Ghost image file. Choose one.

Method 1: Write directly to the CD-R/RW disc
Ghost saves the image file directly to the CD-R/RW disc, making it bootable at the same time. This method requires one of the following Ghost versions to write the image file to the disc:

Symantec Ghost 7.5
Symantec Ghost 7.0
Symantec Ghost 6.5 Enterprise Edition
Norton Ghost 2003
Norton Ghost 2002
Norton Ghost 2001

During the Ghost image creation procedure, follow these steps to configure Ghost to create a bootable CD:
Click 'Yes' when prompted to make the disk bootable.
If prompted, insert a floppy disk that has the appropriate CD-R/RW drivers. For Norton Ghost 2003, the floppy boot disk is not necessary because the boot system files are stored in the Virtual Boot Partition. For detailed instructions, see the document How to save an image file directly to a CD-R/RW disk.

Method 2: Use third-party software to write to the CD-R/RW disc
Ghost creates the image file and saves it to a temporary location, such as a partition on the hard disk. Use this method when you have a Ghost version earlier than Symantec Ghost 6.5 Enterprise Edition and Norton Ghost 2000 or when you do not want to save the image file directly to the CD-R/RW disk.

Note: This information is provided as a courtesy only as Symantec does not provide technical support for loading DOS from a CD. If you encounter problems, contact your CD drive manufacturer or Microsoft for technical support.

To obtain the DOS drivers
Obtain DOS drivers for the CD-ROM. Some places where you can get them are:
The Windows 98 boot disk contains DOS drivers for many CD-ROM devices.
Symantec Ghost 6.5 Enterprise Edition, Symantec Ghost 7.0, Symantec Ghost 7.5, Norton Ghost 2001, and Norton Ghost 2002 include DOS CD-ROM drivers on the floppy disk when you chose the "CD-ROM Boot Disk" option on Ghost Boot Wizard. Norton Ghost 2003 includes DOS CD-ROM drivers on the floppy disk when you chose the "CD/DVD Startup Disk with Ghost" option in Ghost Boot Wizard.
For further information on obtaining DOS CD-ROM drivers, consult your CD-ROM documentation or contact the CD-ROM manufacturer. Many CD-ROM manufacturers have a Web site from which you can download drivers for free.
If the manufacturer does not make DOS drivers for the CD-ROM, you will not be able to boot the computer from the CD-ROM drive.

To create the Config.sys file
The Config.sys file loads Himem.sys and the DOS driver that is specific to your CD-ROM drive, and also configures the DOS memory and the environment space.
1. Create a text file called Config.sys that contains the following lines:

device=<your DOS CD-ROM driver>

2. In the above example of Config.sys, replace the line:

device=<your DOS CD-ROM driver>

with the appropriate line or lines for your specific CD-ROM drive. For example, the line for some types of Adaptec CD-ROM drives might look like:

device=oakcdrom.sys /D:mscd001

The /D:mscd001 switch assigns a name to the driver file. For instance, /D:hello would also work. Note that this switch is used in two locations: in the Config.sys file and in the Autoexec.bat file (see the following section "Create the Autoexec.bat file"). You must use the same name in both locations.

Consult your CD-ROM documentation or the CD-ROM manufacturer for more information on how to load and configure DOS CD-ROM drivers for your CD-ROM.

To create the Autoexec.bat file
The Autoexec.bat file loads the generic CD-ROM driver and launches Ghost to write the image from the CD-ROM over the disk.
1. Create a text file called Autoexec.bat that contains two lines with the following format:

mscdex.exe /D:<driver name> /L:<drive letter>
ghost -clone,mode=load,src=<location of image file>,dst=<disk number> -sure -fx

Note: Ghost syntax requires a space on the Ghost line in specific locations. Do not include spaces on the Ghost line except at the following locations:
Between Ghost and -clone
Between number> and -sure
Between -sure and -fx


In the following example, the CD-ROM drive is assigned the letter Q, and the image file, called Myimage.gho, is located at Q:\Myimage.gho:

mscdex.exe /D:mscd001 /L:Q
ghost -clone,mode=load,src=q:\myimage.gho,dst=1 -sure -fx

WARNING: Be aware that the Ghost command line, ghost -clone,mode=load,src=q:\myimage.gho,dst=1 -sure -fx, will start the Ghost image restore process without any user intervention. To prevent the Ghost command line from cloning automatically, the Ghost argument -sure has to be removed.

2. Check the Mscdex.exe line in Autoexec.bat:
The /D:mscd001 switch provides the name of the driver file to the Mscdex.exe file. This must be the same name that you previously assigned in the Config.sys file.
The /L: switch assigns a letter to the CD-ROM drive. You can use any drive letter above C for the CD-ROM drive, although it's advisable to use a drive letter that is higher than the highest drive letter for any of the drives on the system. For instance, if you have two hard drives, C: and D:, then you would assign the letter F or higher to the CD-ROM drive.

3. Check the Ghost line in Autoexec.bat, which launches Ghost with the following switches:
This tells Ghost that the switches following -clone will provide the parameters for the clone process.
This tells Ghost that the operation will write over a drive with an existing image.
src=<location of image file>
This tells Ghost the location of the image file. The drive letter must match the drive letter specified in the /L: switch on the previous Autoexec.bat line. In the above example, the file Myimage.gho is located on the root of the CD-ROM drive (instead of within a directory).
dst=<disk number>
This tells Ghost which physical disk Ghost will write over. Disk 1 is the first physical hard disk in the computer. This is distinct from a partition. These instructions provide for writing over an entire disk; not for writing over a single partition.
This tells Ghost to run the process without requiring user intervention after the process has begun. This switch is optional. If you do not use the switch, you must answer questions in Ghost before it begins the restoration process.
This tells Ghost to exit Ghost after the copy process has completed. When you use the CD to restore a Ghost image to the drive, this switch leaves the computer at a DOS prompt. This switch is optional. If you do not use the switch, Ghost will finish at a screen that displays a message such as "Load completed" or "Process successful."

To decide how many discs to use
Create a Ghost image file. If the disk or partition is too large to fit onto a single CD, see the following documents for how to create or change a Ghost image file to fit on CD's:
How to save a large image file on CD-ROM's
How to Split an Image File
Burning a Ghost Image to a CD.

To copy (that is, burn) the files to the CDs
1. Copy the following files to the first CD using third-party software. (Consult the manufacturer of your CD-R/RW software for more information on making a bootable CD.)

Note: Mscdex.exe is a generic driver file for CD-ROM devices. You will also need a driver specific to your CD-ROM drive.
The DOS CD-ROM drivers that are specific to your CD-ROM drive, such as Oakcdrom.sys for some of the Adaptec CD-ROM drives.
The first file of the set of image files.
2. Copy the second file of the set of image files to the second CD.
3. Copy each subsequent file of the set of image files to a separate CD.

Restore the image

Restore the image
To restore the image from a CD that you created
Set the computer's BIOS to boot automatically from CD. For information on changing the system BIOS, see the computer's documentation.
Insert the bootable CD into the CD drive.
Turn off the computer.
Turn on the computer. Ghost will automatically write over the disk with the image from the CD. When the process is complete, the computer will be at a DOS prompt, such as at D:\>
Remove the CD from the drive.
Restart the computer.

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I just came across this information the other day.  Pretty straightforward:
Adam LeinssSystems Administrator

Nice site Jorpho!
Jorpho beat me to the punch. That was the exact site I was going to use. I used the info from that link to create me a boot diskette. I create the ghost files in dos, then I go into windows and I use nero to burn the files to CD, the boot diskette is used as well.

A guy I worked with documented step by step what to do (so simple that somebody who has never used a computer could perform this task), however he lost the file with the documentation and nobody cares to recreate that doc since we've got it on paper, otherwise I'd send you my documentation.

Basically on my hdd I have a boot partition (Fat), and windows partition(NTFS), and a partition to store the ghost files (Fat32).

I start up the computer, choose boot magic, create an image file of the entire disk (saved onto the ghost file partition). I make sure I split the files so they fit onto CD as my images always span 2 or 3 CD's.
ie. the command to start ghost would be: ghost -split=640

I then restart into windows, use Nero to burn the files to disk. This includes the boot diskette that I created from the info from the link that Jorpho posted. The files that are included on the bootable CD (the 1st CD only, if there are more than one) is the boot disk, the ghost file(ie. image.gho), the batch file to start reimaging ghost from the CD, and ghost.exe (or whatever the executable file to start ghost is called) if the image will take more than one CD then each subsequent CD only requires to have the ghost file on it (ie. image001.ghs)

I hope this helps you out!

I realize this is a month later, but....  I'm surpised noone mentioned multicasting!!  If you want to speed the process up, THIS is how it's done!!!  You can set up a multicast server on one machine, and ghost your entire network you like - SIMULTANEOUSLY - from the same image.  (So THAT's what UDP is for!!)

Manual for Norton Ghost:

Shawn   8-P

If you want a really cool way to make a bootable CD/DVD which has a 32-bit environment and the ability to add support for all of your drivers and programs that you need including ghost, then go to and check out PE Builder. It is freeware that allows you to make a Windows Pre-Installation environment using your XP Pro or Server 2003 CD-ROM. Good Luck!!


I know this question has already been answered, but I would just like to suggest that it might not be worth going through all the trouble. Using ghost of the cd's tends to take upwards of 20 to 30 minutes, (especially now that hard drives are so much bigger)  and hd to hd is just so much quicker.

If possible you might want to try partitioning the drive into three. Hide two of the drives, one containing the ghost program and the other to hold the  .gho  image file. That way if it does get screwed up, you can just throw in a boot disk and copy it over. I also work for a school, so also suggest looking into a program deep freeze.  
I'm tellin ya - MULTICASTING..  Ghost your entire network in one shot!!!  Read the fine manual:

Just a quick comment. I like to keep the gho. file on a different medium like a CD ( for small files) or a seperate hard drive ( fat32 partition) for as large a file as you need, in case my main hard drive gets ruined somehow. Which has happened to me twice. The original ghost file will fit on a floppy but can be put on your new medium. Then you simply boot your PC fat32 or NTSF with win98 start up disk, at the DOS prompt go to the drive letter with the gho. file on it and follow the prompts on ghost. Of course the CD or other hard drive with the gho. copy has to be in place to transfer files.

The original ghost file is only 659k

Gary Runyan
I went through this about a week ago.  If you create the boot disks, you can then create a bootable cd-rom.  I used Nero 6 to create a bootable cd, worked wonders.  We have 60 laptops and they dont have floppy drives.  They also dont have CDR drives, so I created the disks with the IOMEGA drivers, attached an external usb 2.0 cdrw drive (iomega) and it worked like a champ.

I also support Ghost multicasting

Get a laptop install Ghost multicasting

Make your perfect PC on the betwork

find a program called new SID and put it on the C: Drive

Rename it a simple name like Viglen1

take it off the network / domain

make a ghost boot floppy disk for the network card

plug  the laptop into a comms port in the room where you want to clone

Start ghost multicasting

Set it to upload / dump from client

boot your perfect PCwith the boot disk

upload your image

do the opposite to clone to the PC's

run new SID on the new clone, rename, reboot, add to domain... and wallah new clones

Make a an image with Ghost, open it with Ghost explorer go to option and set the Span Split Point to 680Mb then go to File & compile, Ghost explorer will split your image in a 680Mb files (if your image is name Ghost, you will see Ghost.gho, ghost001.gho, etc...).

When this step is complete use Nero or another burning program and create a BOOT cd and burn the first part of your ghost on it, the copy the other image parts on CD.

After, you have just to insert your CD in the PC and run ghost...

Good luck!

This is my favorite, and Ghost 8 is EASILY supported.
Hi guys!

This is my first post here. I need to multicast to 20 IBM laptops all with no floppy. I want to make a bootable CD from the boot floppys I made from the ghost boot wizard. I tried to use Nero to make a bootable CD using the 1st boot disk created in the ghost boot floppy wizard. (this floppy has the drivers, config.sys, etc) once the drivers are loaded it asked for the 2nd disk, the one that contains ghost.exe. I've tried to include ghost.exe on the same bootable CD, I've tried to put it on a second, I've even gone so far as to edit the autoexec.bat. I just can't seem to get it to work and I'm spending way too much time on this.

My goal is to have 1 CD boot, load drivers, and launch ghost.exe so I can join a multicast session hosted on my ghost server laptop. I have set up 9 training rooms in the past 3 weeks using ghost multicast. I image 18 computers in 15mins. I've incorporated sysprep in my images along with the setup manager to create an .inf file to answer all the set up questions except computer name and workgroup info. I use the same image for all my labs. So far this has really gone well. However, I'm stuck without use of a floppy.

I've read the posts before mine, however, I still dont see a way to achieve my goal. I suppose I could image it to 1 bootable DVD including the image and just make copies. But I would really like to use the multicast. I'll keep looking and when I figure this out I'll repost. Until then, any help you guys/gals could offer would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance

Are sure you read my post?  Ghost8 support is a supported module for BartPE.  Check it out.  The newest version works awesome and has replaced any MS boot floppy I will ever need.  Team that with a Knoppix CD and everything is covered.

Download, follow the directions, and make a CD.  You will see what I mean.
Thanks Brian,

I've downloaded and built the BartPE disk. However, I'm still not sure how this can help me. I followed the directions but saw no mention of ghost or ghostcast. Now I'm only on my first cup of coffe and I've been up for a while; maybe I missed it!

Again, here's what I'm trying to do. I need to connect 20 laptops with no floppy to a Ghost multicast session. Now, I'm not using the ghost console. I have no need to group these machines into machine groups or develop tasks. I just want to be able to walk into a room, pop in a cd that loads the Nic drivers I know work for these laptops, then loads Ghost.exe so I can connect to my multicast server.

I can use nero to make a bootable cd that pulls the boot files from the first boot floppy that the ghost boot wizard made. This floppy contains the config.sys, autoexec.bat and all the nic drivers etc. The actual ghost.exe is on a second floppy along with an identical autoexec.bat.

No matter what I pull onto the cd when I make a bootable CD, all that nero records is the contents of the floppy in the drive (A). If I could somehow get the contents of the first floppy and the ghost.exe all on a single floppy, or gather it up into a .ima file that I could point to, then I could alter the autoexec.bat and all should be well.

This thing, theoretically, should be cut and dry but it's becoming such a problem that I consider it a personal challenge! How dare this laptop defy me!

Thanks for the feedback and any help is much appreciated.

I think you are missing an easy solution.

Make a boot floppy that:
- boots to DOS
- starts the network and gets a DHCP address
- maps a drive to your server laptop
- runs a batch file from your laptop, call it ghost.bat

The batch file would run ghost from the mapped drive which saves space on your floppy and allows revising your process and upgrading Ghost without creating new CDs.
I dont have a floppy drive on these laptops. That's why I'm in this situation.

Buy an Iomega external USB floppy drive for $26 (above link was the cheapest found through  Use it to make your master floppy image that will be burned to your boot CDs.  Your time is worth more than the $26 and you can always use it on a laptop if the CD drive breaks.
Hehe! That was my only other option. Seems like we are gonna have to do that. I really think this can be done though. You're right. I've wasted a day on researching this. I'll report any progress I find on the boot CD.

Thank you for your time on this Brian!

How big is the driver??  I've managed to get everything on one floppy..  dump everything you don't need!!
If it is too big, you could always do as brian suggested; in the autoexec, you simply invoke a batch file on your computer.  That way, you don't even need to store everything on that floppy(cd).
In Ghost 8 there is a folder \program files\symantec\client  that ghost sends out to the client when you install remotely. I took that, burned it, loaded it to the laptop via the cd. Then the ghost console saw the laptop. I then configured a task, pulled the image from the laptop (it even incorporates a sysprep and .inf creation). Afterwars the client was still running on the laptop. from the console I pushed the image back to the laptop!

So I made about 5 cd's of the client software. I'll load that on my laptops. group them in the ghost console and push the image I made down to them. At least that's the plan.

to answer the above. the drivers and the ghost.exe are too much to fit on one boot floppy. creating a bat that would load nic drivers, get an ip from dhcp and launch ghost is too time consuming. I think this console answer will work well. I'll let you guys know how it goes today.

thanks for all your input!


Save the $26 bucks and try a Virtual Floppy Disk (

Just a thought......It sorta was said above, but a slightly different twist for Ghosting generally:

Using Bart's Network Boot disk to connect to the network, you can store ghost.exe on a server, with the *.gho image(s).
No need for Ghost to be on a floppy. Just do the final profile edit on Bart's disk to do a "net use" and you're away and ghosting.

It is certainly helpful in an environment where u have a plethora of different PC's and the quickest way, (<15mins), to fix nasty errors on ancient, feeble s/ware, is to ghost another (working) User's PC. Saves heaps of time to do more pressing issues.

I have been trying to make a Ghost Boot CD for about a month and a half and going crazy.
With Norton Ghost 2003, I made a single boot disk, rather than 2 boot disks, using the Standard Ghost Boot Disk option and PC DOS rather than MS DOS.
With Roxio Easy CD & DVD creator, I was able to use the floppy disk emulation to make a Ghost boot cd directly from the floppy disk. This works to boot up my desktop or laptop. It has mouse support and works with my Iomega external drive to restore images.
I have something to add. I use Ghost 2003 a lot. I use a usb 2.0, 80 Gig Hard drive. Once I have created an Image I can ghost a computer in under 2 minutes. 5 minutes with office installed and other software. I do have to carry around 2 floppies, one with 1.1 USB driver and 2.0 USB driver. But having a machine being able to be done in under 2 minutes, is just awsome. This only works for USB 2.0. I have bought a sepearte 2.0 USB card for machines that don't have 2.0. And it works great.
I want to make a boot CD from a preveious Ghost.GHO Image.
How do I do it. ??

Ghost Image is 1,346,411 KB
Can't Use Floppy, Government PC in Lab have No Floppy and no USB..
(for security) only a CD Rom.
All PC are Same Dell Model and options
so i need to take an image (already created in 2003) and burn on to
two or three CD's and CD 1 must beable to boot and initiate the install of ghost

help. can't find any option to do this in Ghost
U can make a boot CD and copy your Ghost Image to this ( if the image bigger than 650MB ) you can Split it by use this command when You Ghost the image

ghost -Split=650 -Z9

-Z9 to tell ghost use the highest compress for the image
after ghost complete you have one or two (or more....) image file U make a bootable CD and copy it to CD with ghost program after boot U use ghost to load image to HDD at the end of disk one it will ask you disk two instert CD two to you CD driver and continue

Hope it works and sorry about my English

Does anyone know how to make bootable Ghost CD to use with multicasting ? I couldn't do said it need to write something to the disk and it stopped. Thanks

why don't use Sysprep tool from WinXP CD?

for more information use google search with "sysprep" that link to microsoft website.


This might be what you're looking for:

It's a way to turn those two ghost floppies into one bootable CD.

I found this great solution, I tried it and it works great. Its all about making an ghost bootdiskimage in format 2.88 8(with help of winimage) and than you can use this image with nero to create ghost boot cd/dvd. I don´t use sysprep so I dont know how it works with that.

I just opened an almost identical question this.  I'm working at a school with about 70 computers.  All hardware is identical.  I want to make a bootable ghost CD that will allow me to connect to my ghostcast server for MULTICASTING.  For obvious reason, putting the .gho files on a CD is not an option.  These PC's have Intel Pro 100 VE network cards in them.  The process works fine using two floppy disks, but I want to do it with 1 CD.

I tried to make the bootable floppies fit on 1 disk, but apparently the Intel Pro100 VE drivers are to large, because it takes up two floppies even using PC dos.


I have done it before, but the code is not with me at the moment. So, if I remember you put your CD all Bootable file pluse the Ghost.exe file, and modify your Autoexec.bat, to be able to load Ghost.exe file.

I am be able to send whole modification if I got time.
If you are in a School System, investigate Novell's Zenworks 6.5. Even if do not want to deploy a Netware Server, Zenworks can be installed on a Windows or Linux Server. Even if you only use the imaging component, Zenworks pays for itself. Whether you wish to automatically image a workstation through policies, or use boot floppies, boot cds, or PXE, Zenworks supports them all.

Adam LeinssSystems Administrator

This thread is 2 years old, can we stop adding comments to it?  The answer was accepted long ago.

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