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Symantec Ghost Automation

We are using Symantec Ghost 8 with an Windows XP image. We are getting ready to roll out a lot of computers and I would like to know if there is a way I can automate the rest of the install. After the image we still need to enter the XP product key, computer name, time zone, TCP/IP options, and then add it to the domain. Is there a way the we can automate this process? Thanks.
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jmoody
Asked:
jmoody
2 Solutions
 
boris711Commented:
Check out this link for an overview of the MS Windows XP Resource Kit:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/reskit/c02621675.mspx

Also, Microsoft has an Operating Environment referred to as the Windows XP OEM Preinstallation Kit which uses a utility called SysPrep. It is designed primarily for OEMs to do scripted OS installations that will leave the machine in a state that prompts the new user/owner to enter the information that you mention above. Like the initial state of a new retail machine. But, I have used the OPK in the past in a corporate environment to do just what you require. In that case you would prepare an "answer" file, which is a specially configured text file that provides the values that you'd like inserted into the final configuration. And some versions of ghost, as I recall, are able to send the SysPrep answer file to the machine during the imaging process. The trick is acquiring the OPK, it was available for a time as a free download from Microsoft, but I was able to obtain a copy from the OEM from which we purchased our machines.

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/winpreinst/opk.mspx

To explain the process a little better:
You'd create your vanilla image (with SysPrep installed in it) that has been stopped at the point of requiring the information that makes it unique. Then you image your target machines providing the answer file that SysPrep will require to apply your settings. I have seen situations wherre the answer file is provided on a floppy, over the network or during the imaging process.

BTW, the SysPrep process does require a bit of a learning curve, but there is no other tool, that I am aware of, that has the same flexibility.  

Hope this helps.
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isd503Commented:
I am almost certain that you will have to continue entering certain information during this process, unless you purchase a Microsoft Select agreement.  The Select CD's do not require a license key and other information you refer to above.  However, they are significantly more expensive than the typical Open License agreement.

I have the same issue.  There are two types of Ghost software; Norton Ghost and Symantec Ghost.  Norton Ghost products are typically for home users.  Symentec Ghost typically includes Multicast software which allows one to apply images to workstations over the network via TCP/IP.  You can also write images from machines to an NTFS partition over the network.  You sound like you are already using this feature and are just looking for a way to image a workstation and go to work?

In my example, I use images I created using the green Windows XP Professional CD-ROM that comes with a new Dell OptiPlex machine.  I create the image without ever joining the machine to the domain.  I configure it the way I want, perform all updates, etc.  I use sysprep for XP Professional SP-2:  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=3E90DC91-AC56-4665-949B-BEDA3080E0F6&displaylang=en

I then dump it from the machine to the server using Ghost Multicast software.  I always use the -split=650 switch so I can burn the image to CD-ROM if necessary.

I then use Ghost Multicast to write the image to multiple machines.  When they boot, I have to go through initial configuration with each of them and I use the license key on the sticker attached to the machine.

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jmoodyAuthor Commented:
isd503 you are right I am doing just as you are and was hoping there was something that would allow it to finish without intervention from me.
Thanks for the reply boris771, I will research that a little further.
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dcliveCommented:
Count another answer for Sysprep.

It will automate everything for you, start to finish - VLK #s, timezone, username / companyname, adding to the domain...everything.  You should always Sysprep prior to Ghosting, as that ensures the XP machines made from that Ghost .GHO file will be unique.
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bigjimbo813Commented:
http://students.fct.unl.pt/~cer09566/files/cloning/cloning.html

very good information about configuring a standard image for desktops. Because you are deploying this across several machines your should do some sort of multicasting (Symantec Ghost Multicast). It helps to keep the machines consistant. But with hardware and how quickly hardware is changed...i have come up with (or found) this solution.

===================

I created a "driver database" under c:\. Under that directory I created a "d" folder with subfolders AA - AB -AC  and then BA BB BC CA CB CC and so on...

I categorized the A folders as Audio so for example AA would have one sound cards driver AB would be another sound card driver...
I categorized the B folders as Ethernet so for example BA would have one NIC driver AB would be another NIC driver...
and so on...

I did this so i can keep organization with the drivers. I also created a txt file which has the driver name, version and release date so if a new driver is released i can remove the old, and replace with new without having mulitple versions/releases for the same hardware.

here is an exerpt from my sysprep.inf

===================

[Unattended]
    OemSkipEula=Yes
    OemPreinstall=Yes
    UpdateUPHAL="APCIAPIC_MP,%windir%\inf\hal.inf"      OemPnPDriversPath=D\AA;D\AB;D\AC;D\AD;D\AE;D\AF;D\AG;D\BA;D\BB;D\BC;D\BD;D\BE;D\BF;D\BG;D\BH;D\BI;D\BJ;D\BK;D\BL;D\BM;D\CA;D\CB;D\CC;D\CD;D\CE;D\CF;D\CG;D\CH;D\CI;D\CJ;D\CK;D\CL;D\CM;D\DA;D\EA;D\EB;D\EC;D\ED;D\GA;D\GB;D\GC;D\GD;D\HA;D\HB;D\HC;D\HD;D\HE;D\HF;D\HG;
    DriverSigningPolicy=Ignore
    TargetPath=\WINDOWS
    UpdateInstalledDrivers=Yes
    InstallFilesPath=C:\sysprep\i386
    ResetSourcePath=F:\XP_i386
    KeepPageFile=0

==================
**** ONE BIG ISSUE *****
==================

As you see there is UpdateUPHAL="APCIAPIC_MP,%windir%\inf\hal.inf"
This is for when you build a computer on an older machine...say a Dell GX200... The new machines are all HT or "mulitprocessor" you will need sysprep to update the hal for those machines. If you dont do this, the newer machines will be seen as single processors....on the otherhand if you have a multi-processor hal loaded and you try and load it on an older machine...it will lock the computer.

So in conclusion...build your standard image...ghost that.
then Build your sysprep images....and include the -- UpdateUPHAL="APCIAPIC_MP,%windir%\inf\hal.inf"  --- for HT systems & --- UpdateUPHAL="APCIAPIC_UP,%windir%\inf\hal.inf" --- for your older uniprocessor systems.
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bigjimbo813Commented:
format was screwed up

[Unattended]
    OemSkipEula=Yes
    OemPreinstall=Yes
    UpdateUPHAL="APCIAPIC_MP,%windir%\inf\hal.inf"
    OemPnPDriversPath=D\AA;D\AB;D\AC;D\AD;D\AE;D\AF;D\AG;D\BA;D\BB;D\BC;D\BD;D\BE;D\BF;D\BG;D\BH;D\BI;D\BJ;D\BK;D\BL;D\BM;D\CA;D\CB;
    DriverSigningPolicy=Ignore
    TargetPath=\WINDOWS
    UpdateInstalledDrivers=Yes
    InstallFilesPath=C:\sysprep\i386
    ResetSourcePath=F:\XP_i386
    KeepPageFile=0
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jmoodyAuthor Commented:
bigjimbo813  thanks for the example this helps a lot.
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bigjimbo813Commented:
no problem!

good luck!
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