Ghost hardware independent image

Posted on 2009-05-08
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Our company recently purchased symantec ghost solution suite 2.5 for imaging and I have been assigned the task of creating a universal/hardware independent image for all desktops/laptops. I dunno if its just me but nowhere can I find instructions on how to simply "just make" a universal image that I can then use with ghostcast to deploy out. The most I can come up with is injecting drivers to a machine that has already been added to the ghost console using a "deploy anywhere" task. But that does me no good because the machine has to already be on the network for that to work. Any tips, links, pointers  or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated, thanks.
Question by:JordyBoy100
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • +1
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 24340815
If you need to create an image that will be deployed across computers with possibly different hardware types, I would suggest using sysprep. Here is a site that has a video of how to set up sysprep for ghosting.

Hope this helps!

Accepted Solution

SniperSheep earned 500 total points
ID: 24341328
You might want to look into Universal Imaging Utility, an automatic driver management program that ties in with ghost. That should allow you to use single image on multiple diverse hardware platforms.

Be aware that these folks are persistant salesmen and will hound you for quite some time if you decide not to buy their product.

Expert Comment

ID: 24341377
Also, you might want to check out this guide:
It's pretty elaborate, but it'll give you a good jump-off point.
Edgartown IT Case Study

Learn about Edgartown's quest to ensure the safety and security of the entire town's employee and citizen data. Read the case study!


Expert Comment

ID: 24342940
You're going to be hard pressed to create something like this using just Ghost.  You didn't mention what OS your company runs, but if it's XP good luck.  Machines shipping with Intel's newest chipsets use AHCI to talk to the HDD.  Older machines use IDE emulation.  This will be a major source of contention.  You'll need at least two images due to this since AHCI is not natively supported in XP (you'll need to use Intel's drivers) and the older machines won't be using it anyway.

Your next problem will be your HAL.  While there are hacks to 'trick' XP to look at all computers as an ACPI machines, they tend to be hard to get to work.  My suggestion is to look at grouping your computers by processor families and try to narrow images down to include those machines.  You probably won't get down to one image, but you can certainly reduce it some.

No matter how it works out, you'll definitely want to Sysprep the machines.  Sysprep will remove machine specific identifiers for the image and will also allow setup to re-detect for devices and drivers.  Also, take a look at nLite to help with slipstreaming drivers into your windows installation media.

Final suggestion...start small.  Create a couple of images for similar machines and test.  Once the images work well, try to start combining them.  But if you truly want one image to rule them all, you're going to need to supplement Ghost with other utilities and be prepared to put in LOTS of time. :)

Author Comment

ID: 24354444
Great suggestions and advice everyone, I defiantly have a better grasp on how this whole universal imaging thing works.  I do want to point out that our company is not interested in putting any more $$ into this so UIU will not be an option unfortuneatly. SniperSheep you had some great links there that I will probably use as my solution, however I am still curious/confused as to how Symantec claims to have the "hardware independent" imaging if it apparently doesn't work? I mean its their first key benefit listed on their website. I would just like to know if anyone has used Symantec's hardware independent imaging and if so how to even use it efficiently.

Expert Comment

ID: 24357010
Thanks ModernMatt!

Now on to our regularly scheduled programming...

You haven't listed what OSes you're running so this generalization may not apply properly but here goes...

Microsoft worked on Vista to allow a more seamless 'universal' image process.  While I haven't looked this up in a while, iirc the built in deployment tools for Vista support a universal configuration.

XP on the other hand is severely limited by HAL type.  If you have older machines or disparate machine/processor types it's hard to get a common HAL across the systems.  You'll find more success with ACPI Uniprocessor and ACPI Multiprocessor systems.  You can pretty much load these HALs vice versa but Microsoft recommends loading the Uniprocessor because XP setup will detect and load the Multiprocessor automatically.  Check out this link ( for more info on this.

I brought that up because the Ghost Solution Suite specifically mentions Vista on it's front page.  Of course if you have mostly new machines with Vista running then this is probably all moot. :D  In that case, Deploy Anywhere should work fairly well for you.  Here's a link to using it with a boot cd (

One last thing.  Here's a site ( I found while researching the Deploy Anywhere (we use an older version of Ghost so no DA).  This is a good breakdown of the process but you'll find he's come to the same conclusion that I have... multiple HALs on XP just don't seem to work right.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 24365941
The website I posted earlier shows an excellent video of how to set up sysprep on a master computer.

As far as the HAL's are concerned, you will want to set you master image with what is considered the generic HAL and that is ACPI PC. There is a tool out there called HalU2.0 found here ( that will allow you to change your HAL without the worry of hacving to reinstall the system.

Once Sysprep has been configured and the image has been created, you can deploy the image onto other machines. Then just run HALu and change the HAL.

Featured Post

Announcing the Most Valuable Experts of 2016

MVEs are more concerned with the satisfaction of those they help than with the considerable points they can earn. They are the types of people you feel privileged to call colleagues. Join us in honoring this amazing group of Experts.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

The article will include the best Data Recovery Tools along with their Features, Capabilities, and their Download Links. Hope you’ll enjoy it and will choose the one as required by you.
Why pager replacement is still an issue OnPage has what some might call a “hate/hate” relationship with pagers. Not much room for love. As we see it, pagers are an antiquated bit of technology. Pagers are dinosaurs which, like most dinosaurs, sho…
This tutorial will walk an individual through locating and launching the BEUtility application to properly change the service account username and\or password in situation where it may be necessary or where the password has been inadvertently change…
This tutorial will walk an individual through the process of configuring basic necessities in order to use the 2010 version of Data Protection Manager. These include storage, agents, and protection jobs. Launch Data Protection Manager from the deskt…

730 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question