Symantec Ghost - Using the same image, what problems can I expect with 2 PCs that have ALMOST the same motherboard

Posted on 2004-09-03
Last Modified: 2010-07-27
We purchased 20 new PCs (Celeron 2.4 GHz) on which we use Ghost for rolling out images.  We ordered 5 new identical PCs, but received PCs with SLIGHTLY different motherboards (Celeron 2.5 GHz and different bios).  Obviously we want to use the 2.4 images on the 2.5 PCs to avoid having to install from scratch and maintain 2 sets of images.  I was assured by the supplier that these 2 PCs were in the same family and that there should be no problem using Ghost.

As a test I have rolled out a 2.4 image to a 2.5 PC (without using sysprep).  To my surprise I was then required to re-install the SIS900 ethernet controller (built into the motherboard).  Apart from that everything APPEARS!!!! to work fine.

Can I rely on this new PC and use it as a baseline platform for further installation and Ghosting?  Or will I discover strange problems emerging in a month from now?  Do such incompatabilities reveal themselves immediately, or could it take a month?

Would it be wise to use Sysprep.  Would that help to make the new 2.5 PC more stable, reliable?

Question by:Alistair7
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LVL 69

Assisted Solution

Callandor earned 100 total points
ID: 11974336
The important drivers are those for the IDE controller and the video card.  If the new machines use the same support chipset, you can get away with using the same image.

Author Comment

ID: 11974786
Sysoft Sandra says that both machines have the 651 chipset. Sandra indicates that both have the same SIS900 ethernet controller, with a slight difference.  

The 2.4 has:
SIS900 ethernet

The 2.5 shows:
SIS900 ethernet #2

I guess that would explain the need to reinstall the drivers.  But surprisingly I was not required to use DIFFERENT drivers which seems strange to me.

LVL 85

Assisted Solution

oBdA earned 200 total points
ID: 11974796
If the image comes up without problems (check the event log), there should be no problems.
But do NOT rollout images without running sysprep on them. Not only will the SID stay the same, but you will lose any Microsoft support for the deployed machines.
In addition, it might even re-detect your NIC properly.

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Accepted Solution

hehewithbrackets earned 200 total points
ID: 11975842
If you use Sysprep correctly, you can use the same image on almost any machine regardless of hardware configuration.  It took a while for us to get it right, but eventually we were able to get by with a single image for our company that worked on all models and brands of computers.  The only time you need a separate image is for older non-ACPI compliant motherboards.

As oBdA stated above, you should always use Sysprep or some other program to generate unique SID's.

Author Comment

ID: 11981433
hehewith brackets

Yes I already knew about the SIDS.  But now I am really confused.  How on earth have you managed to use a single image for all makes and models of computers?  I have started using Ghost 8 and have read quite a bit.  I have always had the impression that ghosting required very similar machines.

Could you explain a bit more.  Do you have a number of different answer files and drivers ready to install?


Expert Comment

ID: 11987266
Ghost by itself requires almost identical hardware.  It's the use of Sysprep that allows you to use the same image on different hardware.  We used a single answer file, but you do have to have all the drivers available on your image.

I can't say that it's the easiest thing to get working though.  It took a lot of trial and error.

Expert Comment

ID: 11998963
To answer your original question, I strongly recommend using Sysprep with your image.  Generally, if the system boots fine after imaging and all drivers are properly installed, the image should be fine, but it's a much cleaner process if you use Sysprep.

Your current non-Sysprep image is installing a new ethernet driver over the old driver.  When you use Sysprep, it actually strips the image of all of it's drivers prior to image creation creating a much 'cleaner' image.  When you deploy this image, Windows will install the proper drivers on the initial boot similar to a clean install of Windows.

Also, although the individual images may be fine, deploying duplicate SID's over your network will most likely cause problems in the future.  You should always use Sysprep or at least some other 3rd party software to create unique SID's for your images.

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