Using RIS with Ghost

Article:TECH107174  |  Created: 2000-01-20  |  Updated: 2005-01-03  |  Article URL
Article Type
Technical Solution



You want to roll out an operating system to many client computers using the Windows 2000 Remote Installation Service (RIS) and Ghost.


This document describes the process for using Ghost with the Remote Installation Service (RIS) on a Microsoft Windows 2000 Server. You can use Ghost with RIS to create a Ghost image file and to roll out a Ghost image file to many computers. For instance, using Ghost with RIS, you can quickly roll out a Windows 98 installation to many client computers. To create the image file, you use the Ghost DOS executable file (Ghost.exe) and Ghost Multicast Server. To roll out the image file (that is, to install the operating system on many computers), you use the Ghost Multicast Server (and not Ghost Enterprise Console) with RIS.


What is RIS?
RIS is a Windows 2000 feature that uses the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) feature of PC-98 specification computers to provide an installation service for the Windows 2000 operating system.

  • Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2000 Advanced Server.
  • RIS installed on the server. See the section "Hints for installing RIS on a Windows 2000 Server"
  • Client computers that conform to the PC98 specification. That is, they have a Network Interface Card (NIC) that is PXE capable and the computer's BIOS supports a network service boot.
  • A network connecting the client computers and server computer. The network must be capable of passing multicast traffic. Network hubs normally pass multicast traffic without problems. Some types of network switches will need to be configured to allow multicast messages through the switch.

Hints for installing RIS on a Windows 2000 Server
RIS requires some system configuration before you can install it on a Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server. For detailed instructions and more information, consult your RIS installation instructions and the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Here are some basic requirements:
  • The server needs at least two partitions. One of the partitions must be NTFS. This partition will be used to hold image files.
  • DHCP, DNS, and WINS need to be available on the network.
  • The server must be a PDC.
  • Active Directory must be enabled on the server.
  • To install RIS, you must log on to the primary domain.

Note that RIS must be installed before installing Ghost. If Ghost is already installed, it must be uninstalled and then reinstalled after RIS.

Advantages to using Ghost and RIS together
  • Ghost is fast. Transferring an operating system installation from one computer to another by writing an image onto the destination drive is much faster than performing an installation.
  • With RIS, you no longer need a floppy disk for booting the client computers. Instead, do a PXE boot at each client computer, and then select the RIS package for Ghost. This runs Ghost as though it had run from a floppy disk at the client computer.

How to use Ghost and RIS for rolling out an operating system
To use Ghost with RIS to distribute an operating system to many computers, use the following general steps.

Step 1: Install Ghost onto the Windows 2000 Server
Once you have installed Ghost, this computer will be referred to as the Ghost Server computer. During the installation:
  • Choose Server instead of Client.
  • If using Symantec Ghost 7.0 or later, select all components.

Step 2: Create a Ghost image file
The image file is an image of a computer that has the operating system that you want to distribute. For instance, you might create a Ghost image file of a computer that has Windows 98 installed, so you can later distribute Windows 98 to many computers. For detailed instructions on creating Ghost images, see the Ghost Multicasting chapter in the Implementation Guide for your Ghost version.

Here are the general steps for creating a Ghost image file:

To create a Ghost image file
  1. Determine which computers you want to distribute the operating system to. These are the "client computers." Note that after the operating system is distributed, the primary boot disk on each of these computers will have been wiped out and replaced with the operating system that you are distributing, such as Windows 98.
  2. Prepare a "test" or "model" computer.
    Choose a computer to be the "test" or "model" computer. Wipe the test computer's hard drive, and then do a fresh installation of the operating system, such as Windows 98. If you want to include applications, you can install them at this time. They will be included in the disk image that you later distribute to your client computers.

    You perform this step after the choice of client computers because, ideally, the test computer will have the same hardware as the hardware on the client computers. Identical hardware is not required except for rolling out the Windows NT operating system. The use of identical hardware minimizes the amount of hardware redetection required on startup after the operating system has been rolled out.

    If creating an image of a Windows 2000, add the driver installation files to the test computer and then use Microsoft's SysPrep tool on the test computer just before creating an image of that computer. Use SysPrep version 1.1 for Windows 2000. The use of SysPrep will indicate to Windows that it must rebuild its Plug-and-Play driver database the next time Windows is started. Since Windows is next started after it has been rolled out to all the client computers, this means each client computer will rebuild its Plug-and-Play driver database on the first startup after the rollout. The operating system will configure itself automatically to the new hardware environment. Download version 1.1 of SysPrep from:

    Do not use SysPrep for a rollout of Windows NT because Windows NT does not support Plug-and-Play. For more information about using Ghost to roll out Windows NT and Windows 2000 installations, see the documents How to clone a Windows NT or Windows 2000 workstation and Introduction to cloning a Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows XP computer.
  3. Create a Ghost Network Boot Disk, using Ghost Muliticast Assist or Ghost Boot Wizard.
    You perform step 3 after choosing a test computer because this step requires that you know the type of network interface card on your test computer. See the User's Guide for how to create a Ghost Network boot disk:
    • Ghost 7.0: Symantec Ghost Implementation Guide, Chapter 9
    • Ghost 7.5: Symantec Ghost Implementation Guide, Chapter 9
    • Ghost 8.0: Symantec Ghost Implementation Guide, Chapter 11
  4. Create an image of the test computer.
    This is a file that you create with Ghost. You have a variety of methods available for creating the image file. In the following steps, we specify a method that uses the Ghost Network Boot Disk to run the Ghost executable (Ghost.exe) at the test computer and uses Ghost Multicast Server at the Ghost Server computer to receive the image of the test computer. These two parts of Ghost work together to create the image and save the image as a file in a location you specify.
    1. Run Ghost Multicast Server at the Ghost Server. Choose the "Dump from client" option. Select your preferred options, such as where to save the image file.
    2. Boot up the "test" computer with the Ghost Network Boot disk, and choose "Multicasting." Select your preferred options, such as which physical disk contains the operating system.
    3. At the Ghost server computer, click "Accept clients." This starts the imaging process and saves the image as a file in the location you specified.

Step 3: Use the Ghost Multicast Assist or Ghost Boot Wizard to create a RIS Boot Package
When used to create a RIS Boot Package (instead of a boot disk), Ghost automatically creates a RIS menu entry at the Windows 2000 Server. RIS uses the boot package you create here to run Ghost at each client computer, for the purpose of allowing Ghost to roll out an image to the client computers.
    To create a RIS Boot Package
    1. Start Multicast Assist or Ghost Boot Wizard and specify RIS:
      • For Ghost Multicast Assist:
        1. Click Start, point to Programs, and then Norton Ghost.
        2. Click Multicast Assist. This opens Multicast Assist and displays the Welcome window.
        3. Click Next. This displays the Choose a Task window.
        4. Check "Generate a boot package from an existing template:," then select "PXE Packet Driver."
        5. Click Next. This displays the "Boot Package" window.
        6. Check "Microsoft RIS Boot Option - for use with the Windows 2000 Remote Installation Service."
        7. Click Next. This displays the "Client Type" window.
        8. Select "Norton Ghost Multicasting Boot File."
        9. Continue with Step 2.
      • For Ghost Boot Wizard:
        1. Click Start, point to Programs, and then Symantec Ghost.
        2. Click Boot Wizard. This opens Symantec Boot Wizard and displays the Boot Package window.
        3. Choose "TCP/IP Network Boot Image" and click Next. This displays the Network Interface Card window.
        4. Choose "PXE Packet Driver" and click Next. This displays the Client Type window.
        5. Select Symantec Ghost. This is the type of client to be included in the boot package.
        6. Continue with Step 2.
    2. Specify the Ghost parameters. The Ghost parameters include the Ghost switches.
      On the "Client Type" window, specify the information indicated below and click Next:
      1. Specify the location of the Ghost.exe file, such as "C:\Program Files\Norton Ghost 6.0\Ghost.exe"
      2. Specify the switches to be used on the Ghost.exe command line.
        If you specify switches on this window, the Ghost executable uses these switches at each client computer. If you do not specify the switches, must use the Ghost user interface at each Ghost client computer (that is, Ghost requires user input at each client computer).
        For instance, the switches -clone,mode=load,src=@mctest,dst=1 -sure -rb instruct Ghost to connect to the multicast session called "test" and to load the disk image to the first drive. In this example:
        • The -clone switch indicates that this will create or restore an image.
        • The mode=load tells Ghost to load an image file to the hard drive.
        • The text src=@mctest indicates that the session is "test." You must use the same session name on both the Ghost client computer and Ghost server computer.
        • The dst=1 means that the destination disk is hard disk 1.
        • The switch -sure prevents Ghost from requiring user input after the process has started.
        • The -rb switch causes Ghost to restart the computer immediately after cloning (after finishing writing the image to it).

        A complete description of Ghost command line switches is included in the Norton Ghost User Manual. To create a boot package for "dumping" (creating image files) instead of "loading" images, exchange "dst" and "src" so that the command line reads: -clone,src=1,dst=@mctest
    3. Specify the RIS and network settings
      1. After you click Next at the Client Type window, Ghost displays the RIS Menu Details window. Enter the information as follows and click Next:
        • RIS Boot Menu Name: The name of the boot package, such as "Ghost Boot W98 Image." Ghost automatically creates a folder using this name.
        • RIS Boot Description: The name of the Network Interface Card driver, "PXE Packet Driver"
        • RIS Boot Directory: The name of the boot package. This defaults to the name of Ghost's entry for the RIS Boot Package on the RIS boot menu.
        • Language: The language in use, English.
      2. Ghost now displays the "Network Settings" window. Check "DHCP will assign the IP settings" and click Next.
        The router hops should be set to 10 or more.
      3. Ghost displays the "Review" window. Verify your choices, and click Next. Ghost now adds an entry to the RIS menu and saves the boot package to the hard drive in the location you specified on the RIS Menu Details window.

    Step 4: Distribute the image to the client computers
    To distribute the image, start each client with a PXE boot, and select the Ghost RIS package. This boots the client computer into a DOS environment and runs the Ghost executable (Ghost.exe). The Ghost executable at each client computer works with the Ghost Multicast Server at the server computer to write over the disks on the client computers.

    To distribute the image
    1. Start Ghost Multicast Server at the Windows 2000 server computer:
      1. Open Ghost Multicast Server.
      2. Configure the Ghost Multicast Server. For more information, see the Ghost Multicasting chapter in the Implementation Guide for your Ghost version. Here are some main points:
        • The Session Name you use in Ghost Multicast Server must match the session name you specified on the Client Type window while creating the RIS Boot Package with Multicast Assist Wizard or Ghost Boot Wizard. That is, if you specified the session name in the command-line switches for Ghost.exe on the Client Type window, then you must use the same Session Name when rolling out the boot package with Ghost Multicast Server. Note that the name of the RIS boot menu entry is not related to the Ghost Multicast Session Name.
        • Check the "Load to client" option.
        • Type or select the image file you already created
        • Select an Auto Start option.
      3. Click Accept Clients. This prompts Ghost Server to watch for messages from the Ghost client computers.
    2. Start each client computer:
      1. Start the computer. During bootup, select the appropriate options to perform a PXE boot. For instance, on a Compaq computer press F12 as directed during the bootup for a Network Service Boot.
      2. Log on to the Microsoft Active Directory.
      3. Select the RIS Menu entry you created in step 3. This loads the RIS Boot Package you created in step 3. The RIS Boot Package runs Ghost as though it had booted from a disk.

    After you click Accept Clients at the Ghost Multicast Server, or the Auto Start criteria on the Ghost Multicast Server have been met (these are the criteria you selected in Step 5.1), the Ghost Multicast Server starts sending image data to each of the client computers in this Ghost Multicast session. This image data writes over the selected physical disk on each client computer, replacing the disk's previous contents with a full installation of the operating system. In some tests, this step took under 10 minutes on each client computer.

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