How to use the 3Com Boot Services with Symantec Ghost

Article:TECH107441  |  Created: 2000-01-31  |  Updated: 2010-01-07  |  Article URL
Article Type
Technical Solution



Is Symantec Ghost compatible with 3Com's PXE Boot Services? If so, how should it be configured?


The PXE Boot Services works with Ghost versions 7.x, 8.x, and 11.x. In conjunction with the GhostCast Server, PXE can be used to:
  • Restore an image of a disk or partition from a file server.
  • Create an image of a disk or partition and save it on a file server.

When using PXE, client computers boot to the computer's Network Interface Card ( NIC ) rather than a Ghost Network Boot Disk. While outside the scope of this document, PXE can also be used with the Ghost Console.

  • Support for PXE is available on-line at Argon Technologies. Check the link
  • 3Com Corporation has discontinued development and support for the 3Com Boot Services.
  • Symantec Technical Support for PXE is limited to the use and troubleshooting of Ghost. Support is not offered for configuring or troubleshooting PXE operations outside the functionality of Ghost.

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    Hide details for Preparation
Overview of Preparation
  1. Install the 3Com Boot Services.
  2. Create a Ghost boot partition image file.
  3. Add PBoot.exe to the boot image file.
  4. Create a menu file for the desired Ghosting options.
  5. Specify client computers in the BootPTab Editor.
    Hide details for To prepare Ghost and the 3Com Boot Service

1. Install the 3Com Boot Services.
Please note that 3Com's PXE Services were only designed to work on Win95, Win98, Windows NT, and Windows 2000. In house testing confirms that it also works in Windows XP and Server 2003. However, 3Com PXE is not compatible with Vista.
    More information is available in the file "boot_services_quickstart.pdf" on the Ghost install CD:
    1. From the Ghost Install CD, select Install Tools and Utilities.
    2. Select Install 3Com Boot Services PXE Server.
    3. Click Install 3Com Boot Services.
    4. Continue the install wizard. You will see a window entitled 'Setup Type.' Specify Server rather than Administrator or Custom.
    5. Accept default values for the rest of the installation.
    6. When done with the wizard, click on Finish, and exit all windows.
    7. Run the PXE Server.
      1. Click Start and Programs.
      2. Select 3Com Boot Services and click PXE Server. You will be prompted to create a DHCP proxy. If you are installing 3Com Boot Services on a computer that does not run a DHCP Server, answer 'Yes.' When the installation is complete, verify that the proxy was installed.
      3. Click Options.
      4. If there is no check mark next to Proxy DHCP, click Proxy DHCP and restart the computer.
    • A DHCP server must be installed somewhere on the network in order to use the PXE protocol.
      • If the PXE Boot Servies are installed on the DHCP Server, you must use the option that adds the "Option 60 PXEClient Tag String" to DHCP packets.
      • If the PXE Boot Service are installed on a different computer, you must enable the ProxyDHCP function in the PXE Server software. The first time you run the PXE Server, you will be prompted to enable ProxyDHCP.
      • Symantec recommends that the PXE, Ghost and DHCP be installed on the same subnet. These instructions assume that this is true.

2. Create the Ghost Network Boot Image file.
    1. Open the Ghost Boot Wizard.
    2. Click TCP/IP Network Boot Image and then click Next. Note: You can use the Ghost Console instead of the GhostCast Server if you build your .SYS file with the Ghost Boot Disk Wizard called TCP/IP Network Ghost Client Boot Image.
    3. In the Network Interface Card window, choose the Universal Packet Driver and click Next. If the universal driver does not work, select the template for the specific NIC.
    4. Follow the prompts. You will be prompted for the location to save the *.SYS boot image file. Save it temporarily using the DOS 8.3 naming convention.
    5. Click on Next. You should be given a review of the configuration.
    6. Click on Next, and Finish.
    7. Copy the new *.SYS file into the folder C:\tftpboot on the 3Com Boot Server.

3. Add PBoot.exe to the boot image file.

WARNING: Old versions of PBoot.exe, including version 2.00 that is included with Symantec Ghost, cannot work in a PC DOS environment. Version 2.01 has been developed to avoid this problem. Download PBoot.exe from the web site If you cannot download version 2.01, you must load MS DOS 7.1 or later to use instead of PC DOS. To add MS DOS, check the document "How to import MS-DOS into the Ghost Boot Wizard"

    1. Open the Boot Image Editor:
      1. Click Start and point to Programs.
      2. Point to 3Com Boot Services and click Boot Image Editor.
      3. Click "Edit an existing file."
      4. Navigate to the *.SYS file.
      5. Click the *.SYS file and click Open. This opens the View Image File window.
    2. Add the file:
      1. Click File, then Add.
      2. Navigate to the PBoot.exe file.
      3. Click the PBoot.exe file and click Open. This adds the PBoot.exe file to the list on the View Image File window.
    3. Edit the file Autoexec.bat:
      1. Right-click the entry Autoexec.bat.
      2. Click Edit.
      3. Type the following lines after the Ghost.exe entry:
      4. Add the switches -ja and -sure to the ghost.exe line.
        ghost.exe -ja=MySession -sure
        Set the -ja switch equal to the session name. In this example, the session name is MySession. Make a note of the session name, as you will need it later.
      5. Click OK. Note: After clicking on OK, the new version of the file Autoexec.bat will replace the previous one. Client computers will then use the new version of Autoexec.bat.
      6. At the top of the window, click on Properties.
      7. Click Change.
      8. Choose Yes for the PreOS setting.
      9. Click on OK, Close and Close.

4. Create a menu file for the desired Ghosting options.

    When a client computers boots to its NIC, a menu will appear. The menu file determines what options are available in the menu.
    1. Add the Ghost boot image to the menu file:
      1. Click Create a PXE menu boot file on the 3Com Boot Image Editor window.
      2. Click the Add icon. This opens the Edit Entry window.
      3. Click Browse and navigate to the boot image file (the *.SYS file) that you created earlier.
      4. Click the file name and click Open. This adds the boot image file name to the Edit Entry window.
      5. In the Menu description box, type a name for this menu item such as 'Windows XP.' This is the menu item that the user will see when booting to the NIC on a client computer. Note: If you are on a network where there could be more than one PXE server, the menu description should include identification of the author. This is important because only one PXE server can be used at one time, and other users may need to contact you in order to use their own PXE server on the network.
      6. Click OK.
      7. Click Add.
      8. Check 'Boot from hard drive.'
      9. For the 'Menu description' type 'Local Boot.' This adds the option to boot to the internal hard drive in addition to the PXE menu.
      10. Click OK.
      11. Click the Options tab.
      12. In the box labeled Menu wait time, enter 20. This value determines how long the user will have to make a selection from the menu.
      13. Click Save. This opens the "Save menu file" window.
      14. Browse to the folder C:\tftpboot.
      15. Specify a file name ending in .PXE.
      16. Click Save.
      17. Click Exit to exit the 3Com Boot Image Editor window.
      18. Click Exit.

5. Specify client computers in the BootPTab Editor.
    1. Click Start and point to All Programs.
    2. Point to 3Com Boot Services and click BootPTab Editor.
    3. Click Edit and then click Add Host to open the Edit Host window.
    4. Provide the information as follows:
      • Name: This is the name of the client computer, or host computer.
      • Node: Specify the MAC address of the client computer that should use the PXE menu. If you want to specify multiple computers based on MAC addresses, you can use the question marks as a wildcard characters. For example, if one computer's MAC address is 123456889988 and another is 123456852963, notice that the first 6 digits are the same. Using the MAC address of 123456?????? will work for both machines. This will work as long as there are no other BootPTab host entries that exactly match the MAC address of the computers.
      • IP #: Do not use this box.
      • Image: Use the name of the .PXE bootstrap file in folder C:\tftpboot.
    5. Click OK. The entry should be reflected on the Hosts tab.
    6. Click on File, and Save. Do NOT change the file name of the BOOTPTAB. It must be named 'BOOTPTAB' (without any extension) and be located in C:\TFTPBOOT.

    Show details for ExecutionExecution

Additional documentation is available on the Ghost 2.0.x install CD under E:\Extras\3Com Boot Services\Docs where E: is the drive letter of your CD ROM drive.

Technical Information
Ghost Console

In Symantec Ghost 7.0, Symantec Ghost 7.5, and Symantec Ghost 8.0, the 3Com Boot Services work with the Ghost Multicast Server, but not with the Ghost Enterprise Console. Symantec does not support using the 3Com Boot Services with Ghost Enterprise Console except to perform a Move the User Task. Although other Console functions might work adequately with the 3Com Boot Services, Symantec does not provide technical support when using Symantec Ghost 6.5. 7.0, or 7.5 in this manner.

Boot order
When you leave the network boot as first in the boot order, and the PXE Service is not running or the BootPTab Editor does not have a host entry that applies to those computers, the computers boot from the second item in the boot order, usually the hard drive. Because a network boot is forced only when the service is running and the BootPTab Editor has an entry for the client computer, you might consider keeping the network boot first in the boot order, regardless of whether you are about to run a Ghost Multicast Session for those computers.

When configuring the computer's BIOS to put a network boot as first in the boot order, you might not see an option for network boot. Instead, this option might be called "Network", "Network card", Intel BINL, "MBA UNDI", "Managed boot"; or it might display the name of the network interface card, such as "3C90X."

PXE Protocol
Computers use a variety of protocols for booting from the network. PXE is one of these protocols. A PXE-enabled computer is one that has a network boot option hard-coded into the computer's BIOS or into a ROM chip on the network interface card, and the code conforms to the PXE protocol. A computer can be hard-coded for more than one network boot protocol.

How it works
Here is what happens when you boot the client computers from the network to run a Ghost Multicast Session:

  1. On startup, the client computer finds an entry for itself in the BootPTab Editor, and downloads the indicated bootstrap file.
  2. At the client computer, the bootstrap file displays a boot menu that includes an entry for Ghost.
  3. The bootup defaults to the Ghost entry on the boot menu (because you configured to the boot menu to time-out quickly).
  4. The client computer downloads the Ghost boot partition image, *.SYS, into the computer's memory and runs the SYS file.
  5. The SYS file loads DOS, network drivers, and Ghost.exe.
  6. Ghost.exe connects to the Ghost Multicast Server.
  7. When the Multicast Server criteria are met, the Multicast Server begins the cloning operation, and writes over the indicated disk or partition at the client computer. This process can also be used to create an image file of a disk or partition on the client computer, instead of writing an image file to the client computers.
  8. The Multicast Session completes and exits to a DOS prompt.
  9. The Autoexec.bat file runs PBoot.exe, which restarts the computer from the hard drive. Because you are using Ghost Multicast Server and not Ghost Console, there is no hidden Ghost boot partition. The computer starts from the system partition, and loads the operating system, such as Windows 98.

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