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Ghost multiple pc's.

Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have recieved a large shipment of windows xp pro computers (all the same model and system specs) that I would all like set up the same.  I have one computer configured the way that I want the rest and would like to set up a way to easily clone the others to match the completed one.  I also have Norton Ghost 10.0 as well as Norton Ghost 2003.  Is there any easy and free way to accomplish this?  I have heard of people creating an ISO image of the drive after they ran some type of prepairer job that wiped out pc name, ssid, and network address.  Then saving the ISO on a server and network booting the new pc to the server but have no idea how to do this.  Any information will be helpful.  Thanks.
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One other note though... To be "legal", you have to purchase a Ghost license for every PC you use Ghost on.


any other cheaper solutions?
How many systems are you looking to deploy?


around 50 to 100 with this batch, but we will be deploying at least 200 more within the next few months.
Top Expert 2010

PortableLightning:  i'm not sure that's true.  you have to have a license for every machine you have ghost.exe on ... if you image without installing the application on the computer, the computer doesn't get a copy of ghost.exe....

when people want to create rescue cd's using ghost, they have to include ghost.exe on the disc, and that gets into a licensing issue....

but i don't think that you have to have a license for every machine you ghost...  only those with ghost executable installed....
According to Symantec's licensing for Symantec Ghost Soulution Suite 2.0
250 - 499 licenses cost $19.30 /per PC.

That's less then $20 per PC. It costs some money up front but it is totaly worth it.  
Consider not only deploying ~300 systems, but also having a way to store and archive user's images before doing software / hardware upgrades. You can create an image file for a user so you can restore the system to the point of the image. I have deployed literaly thousands of PCs in my life, and I have been using Ghost since 1997 to do it. I would never have done it any other way.

Infact I just started my IT manager position at my new comapny and I already insisted they buy a Ghost license for each one and they are on their way.

I am not trying to sell Symantec's product (infact I hate their AntiVirus), I am just trying ot save you the headaches you will have by not getting it.
Using ghost you could easily deploy 50 systems in 2 days, if you set it up right.

I do not know of any other solutions, as I have always used Ghost, and never had the time to realy shop around and test out any other imaging software.

Symantec Ghost Suite 2.0 pricing chart:

Symantec Ghost Suite 2.0 Genral information:

Don't forget to order one media kit as well though (~$30), as the above is only the licensing with out the media. You realy only need one media kit, just make several backup copies.

Let me know if you have anymore questions.


I am refering to the Symantec Ghost Solution Suite (Business Product), not the Norton Ghost 12 end user comercial version.

Quoted from the Symantec site:

"Licensing Information
Symantec Ghost Solution Suite is licensed on a per machine basis (regardless of how many CPU's a machine contains). For example, if you have 200 desktops/laptops you want to manage with Ghost Solution Suite, you would need to purchase 200 licenses of Ghost Solution Suite. Included with your Ghost licenses, is a Ghost Centralized Management Console. The Ghost Console allows for centralized management of all machines in your organization that are licensed to use Ghost."



Do you know of any other solution other than ghost?

We currently have over 650 computers running in our main building and have probably 100-200 or even more in off site buildings.  With only having a couple of staff to take care of these pc's and needless to say it has got out of hand rather quickly -- as you could imagine.  We have be asked to replace all windows 98 pc's and any p3 that might be running windows 2000.  With only 350 pc's with XP we are going to be busy.  It is hard to get tools around here that will make our job easy :(.  

Now I know why you would rather be golfing!

With an organization that big, you must be pulling your hair out with a couple of staff.

You just have to justify the cost with labor cost savings. You would be potentialy saving your staff hours per machine. Creating one standardized image and deploying 100 pcs in a few days at the cost of ~$2000 or the manpower cost of deploying 100 PCs in a month? Not to mention the data backup capabilities that come with it.

I don't think your going to find another solution out there that is going to cost under $20 per machine with total centralized managment.

Do a google search on imaging software, and see what you can find.

Good Luck,
Top Expert 2010

just wanted to pipe in here..
what's wrong with using the retail version of Ghost, such as Ghost 10?  you don't need one license per computer... unless you are installing the product on those computers.  it doesn't sound to me like you are doing that...  you are merely creating an image and then installing the image onto multiple computers...

just create your image and either use multicast or manually install from a network location...

the total cost would be the cost of 1 copy of Ghost.

If what you are saying is true, then their would never be any real reason to buy the licenses for ghost. I do not have a Ghost 10 EULA in front of me. I never install the Ghost.exe on systems anyhow, I use boot disk/CDs. I just can't see the Symantec Lawyers leaving that giant loop hole in thier EULA.

It's worth looking into though, but I am highly skeptical


I apologize for the stupidity, but can someone give me detailed instructions on how to create an iso image from ghost 10 that has the ip settings, computer name, and the sid wiped out?
I do not know of a way to direclty configure the IP settings and computer name and SIDs pre image configuration.

After loading the image onto the new PC, I would just run GhostWalker to change the Computer name and adjust the SIDs accordingly. The trick is to set the computer name in the base image to a 14 character name, GhostWlaker uses 14 character names with the rename, so it will run smoothly.

The easiest way to adjust IP info is to set it to DHCP and use a DHCP server. And Ghost doesn't create an ISO it creates a GHS file for use with Ghost.

You may want to invesitgate using SYSPREP from Microsoft. As I understand it, it is thier "free" utllity for massive system deployment and updating.
I have never used it, but it may be worth investigating, considering your budget restrictions.

Erik NettekovenTechnical Consultant

Maybe I am missing something here, but why don't you use Remote Installation Services (RIS), free Microsoft tool comes with Windows 2000 or Windows Deployment Services (WDS),  also free Microsoft tool but this comes with Windows 2003 SP2. Or does it really have to be ghost? (RIS or WDS will not work if you don't have a Windows 2000/2003 network with Active Directoy and such)

The prepairer job you are talking about would be sysprep for Windows XP in combination with WDS and riprep for Windows XP in combination with RIS.
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