Ghost 8 Corporate with Sysprep and Boot CDs

Experts, I need your help!

I am searching through documentation and trying to find out how to get Ghost 8 to play nice with Sysprep and also to make a nice Bootable CD.

However, let me describe my situation and ask you what I should do:

All I really want to do with Ghost is to create a Windows XP SP2 (or SP3) image and then deploy it out to some PCs that currently have Windows 2000 installed.

So, do I need to use Sysprep at all?  Also, do I need to even create a boot disk floppy (or CD)?  

I'm not joining my model machine to my domain, so I am guessing the SID issue will not apply.  Also, I don't mind joining the domain once I get the image down to a client.

Can somebody provide some advice?  I have read through many of the widely available "tutorials" on this online, but I would really like to hear some "real world" advice from Experts who have used Ghost for years, especially since I'm just getting started with it.

From what I'm reading, it looks like it's very hard to get a good boot CD created with Ghost 8, especially since you first have to create 2 (or 3) floppies and then merge those together with some other files, etc.

I appreciate any input that you guys can give to lead me down the right path.  Thanks so much!!
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matrixnzConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Sysprep is actually quite easy and shouldn't be associated with Ghost at all, what I mean by that is, they're two separate software products.  When you run the command C:\Sysprep\SYSPREP.EXE -RESEAL -MINI -PNP -QUIET the system should shut down, you then boot from a Ghost boot disk to capture the image and that's it.

Sysprep has a number of cool features for example allowing you to add different drivers for different models of computers, joining computers to the domain, rename computers, clearing and refreshing the SID, you of course could use GhostWalker for that part which is included with Ghost, but for me that's just another step.

If you want to deploy to multiple machines quickly then rather than use CD strongly advise Ghost Casting, it's dead simple and you can deploy as well as capture your image.

Here are the basic steps:
Create a single network boot disk for the master computer.
Load Ghost Cast Server from your Windows XP Machine or from a laptop.
Setup the Ghost Cast Session to dump an image to your Windows XP Machine or to a location on a Server.
After completing your master image, run C:\Sysprep\SYSPREP.EXE -RESEAL -MINI -PNP -QUIET or what ever switches you wish to use.
On shutdown, reboot with the network boot disk you created earlier.
Now join the Ghost Cast Server, this will dump the image as a .gho on to the folder specified on your Ghost Cast Server as mentioned earlier.
Once completed, change your Ghost Cast Server to load an image pointing to the .GHO file you just created.
Join the other computers using the Network Boot disk you created earlier assuming they're using the same network drivers.
Join the Ghost Cast Session which will now load the image to the PC
On restart if using the switches above it should run through Mini Setup, remove drivers and then use Plug n Play to find new devices, I assume you've included these on the Master System.

That's it basically.

Hope that helps.

I have used both Norton Ghost and a nice utility at that does the same thing...both bootit Dos and Windows versions.  I wouldn't mess with Sysprep at all.  I would also not try to get a boot disk going.  I would just get your initial system setup the way you want to and then run ghost.  Create an image on a network share or USB hard drive.  Then image the other computers pointing to the image you created.  You will need to rename the computers, but other than that you will be ready to go.  Sysprep is good if you are building images for end users, but for computers within your organization...I wouldn't mess with it.  

Good luck!
If these PCs are to join a domain ever then you NEED to change the SID using something like SYSPREP.  This really is NOT an option unless you do not plan to ever join a domain with these PCs.  Now there are other tools you can use to change the SID, however Microsoft will only suport the use of SYSPREP.

Here is some good info on SID changing and its issues:
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heatfan07Author Commented:

Great news!    I got this working on Friday and was able to boot from a boot CD that I found some instructions for, also I ran Sysprep successfully and uploaded my image via Ghostcast and then pulled it back down to another test machine.
All of this worked great!!  Thanks for pointing me in the right don't happen to have any tips or links for completely unattended setups do you?  I noticed that I still have to run Sysprep once more after the image is loaded, then I have to enter the CD key, join the domain, etc

Thanks, I am so happy that I have a working Ghost server now!
Hi heatfan07

Glad to assist, I've found the following site a great resource for creating an unattended setup from scratch, it's a little out of date now, but the procedures are mostly the same, for example using $OEM$ etc..

Are you a Microsoft Volume Customer?  If so you could use the Microsoft Windows XP Volume CDs which don't require a product key, you're license would still be OEM, but Microsoft allows you to use the media for deployment.  Also if you unpack the Sysprep files from Microsoft you'll find a file called Setupmgr.exe this is a GUI for Sysprep and will walk through most of the steps required for creating your Sysprep.inf file.

Hope that helps.

heatfan07Author Commented:
Hi matrixnz,

Thank you for responding.  For some reason, that URL didn't come through in your previous post.  Can you post it again?  Thanks for your help.
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