Cloning XP setups (followup)


Iskandar Taib

This is a continuation of an old thread by the same name (Google
wouldn't let me reply to the old messages). I've got a couple more
questions (it takes us forever to get the money to do all this, hence
the long delay..).

1) We're getting ready to buy Ghost. I've never actually used it
before. Which particular version should we get, considering that we
want to store the image(s) on a file server (using shares) - Ghost
2003 or Ghost Enterprise Edition? There's also "Ghost MFG". Can Ghost
2003 work with images stored on a network drive? Or would using burned
CDs be the way to go?

2) I am unclear about the deployment part. What do you use to boot the
machine on which the image is to be restored, and be able to access
the file server where the images are stored? Do you boot up with the
pre-existing XP, copy the image over, then fire up Ghost and it takes
over from there? Or does Ghost have its own boot environment with
network capability?

3) I've come across mention of Windows PE (Preinstallation
Environment), which supposedly is obtainable from Microsoft. There is
a version of Ghost that works with this. How does this fit in to all
of this, if at all? Or is this for OEMs?



Darren McGuire said:
To put it simply ....
1. You need to create your SOE on one PC with all the
applications installed and have the machine look the way
you want it to, ie standard wallpapers, screensavers,
explorer settings, IE settings, the way the start menu to
look, the way the desktop should look, etc etc
2. In the administrator account, show all files in
explorer. Then go to Control Panel - System - Advanced
and copy the profile that is set up the way you want,
into the default user profile located in \documents &
settings\default user. Make sure the permissions to this
are set to everyone.
3. Delete the old profile once you are sure the default
user is set with all the correct settings.
4. Use Sysprep from the XP CD in extras\deploy or
something like that ???
5. Use Setup Manager to create a sysprep file
6. Run Sysprep.exe and select the option to use mini
setup and 'reseal'
7. the system will shutdown after sysprep. Use ghost or
other imaging software to take your image or snapshot and
store it on a server or CD for deploying.
8. Happy deploying.



Richard Trusson [MSFT]

Hello Iskandar,
I am not a Ghost expert, I use PowerQuest a lot more but given that here are
some answers to your questions,

1) Cna not advise on the version of Ghost. If your image is greater than the
size of your media you will have to span the image across the media. Ghost
is fine accessing images on CDs or network shares.

2) You need to provide a boot environment, RIS, WinPE or a DOS boot floppy.
You can not install a new image over the top of the existing operating
system. Be a bit like me trying to build a new house on top of yours whith
out first nocking yours down, you just know its not goinng to work. I belive
Ghost provides the ability to create boot media that can connect to a ghost
server deploying images via multicast, this will make deploying the image to
multiple machines much faster, so long as you network supports multi-cast.

3) WinPE is a Pre-execurtion environment. It provides a 32bit boot
environment with out running the whole XP OS. This allows read/write access
to NTFS partitions and access to CD/DVD drives and the network. It can be
run from CD, RIS or installed on the local harddisk as a recovery OS.
WinPE Licensing, who can have it and from where...



Please reply to the newsgroup so all may benefit.
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
Use of included script samples are subject to the terms specified at

Rick Corbett


We've used successive version of Ghost for the last 5 years to image 1200+
PC's and laptops.

1) Re: Which version.

Use the Enterprise version ('cos Ghost 2003 is a 'personal' version which
doesn't allow batch scripting), preferably v7.5 (I don't think the
Enterprise version of v8.0 has been released yet, only the 'personal'
version. Ghost 8 add support for booting from DVD). The Enterprise version
also includes GhostCast (to be able to clone several machines at the same
time) plus other utilities (e.g. to create unique SID's). Ghost images of
Win XP Pro installs are huge (2.5Gb + uncompressed, 1.7Gb + compressed) so
CD may not be the way to go.

We clone new PC's by two methods:
a) via the network to a storage server (uses large amount of bandwidth and
limited to the speed of the network
b) using portable hard disks (much faster than via network but does mean
taking the top of the case off for a few minutes)

We're looking at experiment with portable USB DVD's but will have to wait
until Ghost Enterprise v8 is out. We also realise that cloning via DVD is
going to be very slow by comparison to a or b above.

2) Re: Deployment
To Ghost via the network you use the Ghost Boot Disk utility (included in
the Enterprise version, I don't know about the Personal version). This
utility creates a bootable floppy disk which gives low-level network access
via DOS (NDIS2) NIC drivers. Ghost then runs on top of DOS and uses the
NDIS2 NIC driver to connect to the remote server. The default is PC-DOS
(included with Ghost) but you can use MS-DOS to create the floppy boot disks
instead. A fairly comprehensive assortment of NIC drivers is included and we
haven't had any trouble creating new templates for the Ghost Boot Wizard.
The Ghost Boot Disk utility is simplicity itself.

To Ghost from an image on a hard disk, all you need is a Win95 boot disk
with the Ghost executable on it.- host takes care of recognising NTFS
drives/partitions which DOS doesn't know about.

Either way, Ghost FDISKS and FORMATS the destination drive on the fly so you
can lay a new image on top of an existing XP installation.

3) We don't use Windows PE.

PS - Make sure the source image is created using the Volume Licensing
version of XP Pro otherwise you'll get into a right mess with Windows
Product Activation issues after the PC's are switched on after cloning. We
had a horrific experience of new cloned Compaq's all having to be re-done
from scratch after one of my staff built a source image based on a Compaq
pre-installation of XP Pro. Although we're a volume licensing customer, we
had been supplied with non-volume licensing OS pre-installed. This is one
reason why we never, ever create a Ghost image based on an OEM-supplied
installation of an OS. The other reason is that suppliers like Compaq/HP,
Toshiba etc. install a huge amount of bloatware that is often only for their
own benefit. We prefer a lean-and-green install where we know exactly what
has been installed and where. To do this, FDISK and format then install
fresh installation of XP plus drivers then service packs, critical updates
and your own applications. I suggest you always carry out a Scandisk and
defrag before saving the Ghost image to be used on other PC's.

We always FDISK HD's into 2 partitions - the first as NTFS (for OS and
programs) and the second as FAT32 (for the XP swap file, a copy of the Ghost
executable and to store a partition image of the primary partition. This
means that if a user messes up the OS or programs then it only takes a few
minutes to re-clone the primary partition from the partition image stored in
the secondary partition... and all we need is a Win95 boot disk to get
access to the FAT32 partition where the Ghost executable is stored. This is
much quicker than having to re-clone the entire hard disk.

Hope this helps.


Iskandar Taib

Thanks all, for the information. I like the two partition idea,
especially (the FAT32 partition needn't be large, either, unless you
use it for the XP swap file). We are a volume licensee for WinXP, so
I'll make sure I don't use the OEM version for the image. I've also
been informed about using Sysprep, but if Ghost can create separate
SIDs, then this might not be necessary.

We're slowly getting the parts together. I'll be contacting Symantec
about the various Ghosts, I think. When you buy Ghost Corporate
Edition, the minimum purchase seems to be "10 users" - I wonder what
this means. I hope, since we need to clone 100 machines, that we don't
need a "100 user" license? 10 users is $385, 100 users $1900, plus $28
for media.

Funny that even with Windows XP, DOS/Win95 hasn't gone away entirely..
it crops up in strange places like this..



Rick Corbett


Re: Ghost licensing... you need a license for each PC that is cloned using
Ghost, i.e. 100 in your case. Converting the prices you quoted show they are
very similar to what we pay in the UK. We decided that $19 per PC was a
small amount compared to what we would have had to pay in labour costs to
set up each PC individually... plus we got the consistency of installations.

Our biggest gripe is that Symantec licensing is not cumulative, e.g. if we
purchase another 10 PC's then we have to pay a 10-license fee at the
10-license rate instead of a 10-license fee at the 1000-license rate ('cos
of previously-purchased licenses). Ho-hum. We try to guess our needs a year
in advance and buy the appropriate number of licenses in bulk then mark them
off as used when we purchase new PC's. (A cynic could probably argue that
the admin. costs of this license-tracking costs as much as buying the
licences individually.)

Note: I've found that Ghost 7.5 doesn't work (but Ghost 7.0 does) with new
HP-Compaq's using an onboard Broadcom Gigabit adapter unless you configure
the BIOS so the NIC adapter and SATA controller are set to use different

Re: DOS/Win95 - I usually script stuff using VBS/WMI but there are still
times when DOS BAT files do the business better. I can't remember where I
saw it but I agree with the person who marvelled why Microsoft had improved
the 'DOS' commandset so much with Win2K/XP if it was trying to get away from
its DOS roots.

Good luck with the cloning...


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