Booting into a Ghostcast multicast session on a machine without a flopply drive.

Posted on 2005-04-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
We are getting over 50 new workstations that will be running Windows XP Professional and do not have floppy drives. We have the new Symantec Ghost Corporate Edition 1.0 (2003)

I have heard in this new version there are more straightfoward ways of doing diskless boot, but have been unable to determine how to do so thus far.

Any advice/experience would be appreciated.
Question by:jfexchange
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Expert Comment

ID: 13891952

Im assuming that you mean Ghost 8 corp or above. With Ghost Corporate you can install a client program under windows that talks to the ghost server and allows you to reboot the machine into a virtual partition that it creates for ghosting. Its very clever and is so much easier than using the floppy drives. Using the ghost console you can control the ghost clients and pull images from machines, push images out etc. I can go into a bit more detail with ghost corporate if you want so let me know

Hope this helps

Author Comment

ID: 13893860
Yes, please elaborate.  I have the newest corp. version of Ghost installed.  I have been working on a bootable Cd but is has been painstaking. Thank you!

Accepted Solution

Jarrod earned 2000 total points
ID: 13894277
Hello again

Now this will be a long post and i will start with creating the image for use part and hopefully i dont miss anything or make it to hard but here goes :-)

Ok well im guessing that so far you understand the basic standalone ghost concept so i wont cover that to much, but to begin with get your source machine ready (The one you will image from). When completed you need to install the ghost console client. This can be done in 2 ways, either installed the client using the ghost installation media either on cd or via  a network share or throught the ghost console program under the tools menu i think and then remote client install. If you install with the remote client install it will ask you for the machine name and security information (Bearing in mind that remote client installs are only availble on WinNT/2k/xp systems), if not install the client from the installation media and when asked for the server to connect to you can either leave it blank and it will find the first available or specify the server name.

At this point you installed the client software on your source machine. If you open the ghost console software and look at the machine groups list and expand it till you see Default on the right will appear the machine you have just installed your ghost client on ! This is the basis of how machines are controlled by ghost corporate. Any machine you register with the console will appear here to begin with. You can make folders to organise all your machines as you see fit, this will become almost mandatory when you start to manage alot of machines.

Now that the client is installed look further down the list and you will see something called configuration resources, under that will be Images, click on it. On the right will be a list of all known ghost images (blank at the moment). These are just shortcuts to the actual files. So what we need to do is to tell ghost where to put your image, so right click on the right and say new image, name it appropriately and tell it where you want to store it.

At this point we are ready to pull the image from the machine to the server. Above configuration resources on the left you will see tasks, click it. Tasks are the CORE of ghost console. Whenever you want to do anything to a machine you execute a task. So we need to make a task to pull the image from the machine. Right click on the right hand side and in this case say new image create task. You can either execute immedaite or create the task, execute immediate doesnt save the task and it will not be reusable where as just creating the task means it can be reused again (kind of like saving a shortcut). Next you tell ghost the machine to use, the image to use and if applicable compression and removing the client from the domain (If you are planning to make clients auto join your domain when they are ghosted you MUST disjoin the machine from the domain before taking the image) and clck ok to save or execute immediate. If you didnt execute immediate you will the task you made, to start it right click it and click execute.

At this point the source machine will auto reboot into ghost and suck an image up to the server and then return to windows.

Well it was pretty long huh to explain anyway, once you understand the procedures its very easy and manageable to suck images up and push them out. So once you have got this bit let me know and ill cover pushing the image out to clients.
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Author Comment

ID: 13926860
Sorry, the Ghost project got pushed back another week and I am just now getting back on it.  What you have explained seems pretty logical as far as taking the image.  My next question is regard the machines that will recieve the image.  If these machines currently have no OS installed is can you still install the client software to push down the image?

Expert Comment

ID: 13950082
Hello again

Yes a machine that doesnt have any OS installed can have the client software installed .... Ill try to explain without going into to much detail or missing the important bits.

When you pull an image or push an image to a machine with an OS installed what happens is ghost uses a file called Virtpart.dat which is a virtual dos partition (Very clever compared to the old way they did it) as the boot partition to start ghost. If you dont have an os installed what we need to do is to as you would have guessed put the client on the machine. This particular client is commonly called the Console Boot Partition (CBP for short).

Now thus far you havent had to worry about the hardware of the machines as such, this is because when you install the windows client it wil notify the ghost server of which network card you have (Provided it is supported which 9/10 times they are) and automatically configure itself. However without windows Ghost wouldnt have a clue what youve got. So it is important to note what network card your machines have, most should be the same where possible to make your administration easier. The reason for this will become apparent next.

So weve talked about the CBP now we need to make it. In the start menu under symantec ghost, open the ghost boot wizard program. Once open, scroll down and select console boot partition. You will now be asked what kind of network card you are using. This is why having all the same network cards makes your job easier, because for each different network card you will need to make a seperate CBP. Basically follow the wizard and name the file and store it somewhere as required. (Also note where possible use NDIS2 drivers only - they are more reliable and supposedly work quicker than the Packet drivers)

Ok so weve covered creating a CBP, so what about distributing it ? There are a number of ways this can be done, and since youve said you dont have floppy drives i wont cover that method.

-- Bootable Cdrom:

If you make yourself a bootable cdrom with nero or an appropriate piece of software, copy the cbp you require onto it and also the ghost.exe located at c:\program files\symantec\ghost\ghost.exe. Boot from the cd, run ghost.exe and load the cbp onto the system. (If you need more details about this i can post a little more info for you).

-- USB Boot:

Similar to above, make a usb memory stick bootable and copy the files as above to it

-- Network PXE Boot (Preferred Method)

The method i will use wherever possible is network pxe booting, if your machines have boot roms on the network cards (If the network card is onboard it should have one). The great thing about this method is no boot media of any kind is required and the network card uses a PXE driver so no matter what the vendor or driver they all conform to pxe which means 1 CBP image only ! 3Com boot services (PXE Server) are bundled with ghost so you can install it on your ghost server if you wish and your clients can boot to the network to pull the image down (If you need more info about pxe let me know, also note that the drive for PXE Booting for the CBP is called something like PXE boot driver, youll see it in the list easily enough)

Ok so they are the basic methods for distribution, if you dont want to bundle the cbp image onto the boot media it can be downloaded across the network as well. Once the cbp is loaded to the machine reboot it and it will start into the dos console software and contact the ghost server and register itself just like a windows pc and is now controllable from the ghost console.

Now im sure i wont have covered something here well enough and expect you to ask a question or two, but it was a bit bigger a question to answer than i first thought. If possible though i would highly recommend PXE booting if your clients support it. So thats it for that question, when youve got this bit we will cover the distribution of the images to machines - the fun bits

Author Comment

ID: 13980867
Ok thanks I have tried the Bootable CDrom method and it seems to do the trick!

Expert Comment

ID: 13983347
Cool, glad to be of help

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