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Using Ghost for Effective Lab Management (101 Points About GSS)

Created: 24 Feb 2010 • Updated: 01 Nov 2010
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yogeshsadhu's picture
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In this article I tried to collect 101 points about Ghost Solution Suite 2.5.1 by using which you can manage your lab effectively, you can even refer this document as GSS 2.5.1 feature list.

Symantec Ghost Solution Suite contains three industry-leading applications in one suite: Symantec Ghost, the imaging capabilities of DeployCenter™ Library, and Symantec™ Client Migration. With the combination of Symantec Ghost and DeployCenter Library technologies, Symantec now offers the only solution on the market with both file-based and sector-based imaging technologies. Ghost Solution Suite which is a widely used computer management solution including operating system deployment, software distribution, PC migration and retirement. also provides different features which are helpful for an administrator to manage the lab machines or Automate the functionality of basic admin tasks.

  • Create standard system images for new workstations and servers.
  • Deploy new Windows and Linux operating systems across an enterprise.
  • Provides remote deployment of Symantec Ghost Client (to any Windows operating system for the desktop)
  • Manage computers and user data on a network remotely.
  • Efficiently manage networked users by grouping them within the Console
  • Directly clone disk-to-disk or partition-to-partition to create an exact copy on a fresh disk or partition.
  • File-based imaging is an imaging process that captures all of the files on a hard drive quickly and efficiently. With file-based imaging, any image can be explored and individual files can easily be extracted. Additionally, you can add, delete, or edit files within any FAT-based image
  • Sector-based imaging is an alternative process that captures only the sectors that have valid data, making it an extremely fast and efficient imaging technique. Further, any drive optimizations that have been done will be completely preserved.
  • Restore a disk or partition with an image stored on the same disk or partition.
  • Supports hard drives of all sizes
  • Supports machines with Hardware RAID
  • Supports for GPT disks
  • Supports image creation on the drive with Bit locker enabled
  • Create full images (everything on your PC)
  • Imaging can happens in Peer to Peer environment
  • Imaging with the LPT port can be possible
  • Manage all client computers remotely from a central Symantec Console and execute tasks on client computers from the Symantec Console or from the client.
  • Manage hardware and software inventory from the centralized Symantec Console.
  • Create detailed reports from fully customizable filters and views on hardware and software inventory.
  • You can define and create a collection data set by using WMI classes
  • Generating Views and Filters for inventory reports and can be applied on folder and machine groups.
  • Create dynamic folders to manage a group of target computers based upon hardware or software attributes to streamline operating system migration.
  • Migrate users to new computers or Windows operating systems while preserving
  • user settings, preferences, application settings and data.
  • Deploy new or updated applications and distribute updates.
  • Retire computers by securely disposing of confidential data.(Uses Gdisk)
  • Run Symantec Console tasks using images, files, and packages that are stored locally on a client computer.
  • Preserve the contents of a selected directory during the restore process, keeping a local backup and recovery image file.
  • You can use a directory on a client computer as a repository for Symantec Ghost image files, application packages, user profiles, or other files.
  • Preserve the contents of a selected directory during a restore, keeping a local backup and
  • recovery image file available for repeated use.
  • Write to and read from NTFS partitions. You can store an image file on an NTFS drive and restore from an image file located on an NTFS drive.
  • Discover those computers that are not up-to-date with security patches, and deploy the patches to those computers.
  • Transfer the image file to the client computer staging area with a File Transfer task
  • Capture user data from client computers with Symantec Client Migration, and store
  • it in the client staging area.
  • Restore the captured user data from the client staging area to client computer using Symantec Client Migration
  • Transfer all files, including installation packages, using the multicasting functionality from the Symantec Console. Reduce network traffic by sending an individual file to multiple recipients simultaneously. Flexible file transfer lets you specify where a file transfer goes.
  • Edit FAT, FAT32, and Linux image files using Symantec Ghost Explorer.
  • You can Extract , Add, delete , file from the Ghost image
  • You can get the list of all the files and folder in the image from Ghost Explorer
  • Using the Preserve Files option, preserve the image file and user data.
  • You can Run Ghost.exe on Windows 9x/NT/200x/XP/Vista/Win7/PE.
  • A Sysprep configuration can be prepared and applied on the machine
  • Task logs can be generated for task execution details
  • A detailed Logs at the GSS server (Console) and GSS client can be found at GSS installed directory
  • A Task scenario , which gives all the details about the task and its exact / sequential steps can be derived
  • A task can be initiated from Client.
  • A SID (Security identification) change will be done after restoring a machine.
  • Using Ghost cast server you can create or restore an image without creating a console task
  • Ghost cast server options like , mode of operation , Data throughput limit , Action on completion can be specified.
  • Multicast address range and other related details can be configured from Ghost cast server option.
  • Log file while the Ghost cast operation can be generated for both client and server side with different logging levels.
  • From the Ghost cast server you can set the operation to start automatically, this can be based on single condition or combination of parameters.
  • You can specify and restrict the number of client connection to the Ghost cast server session.
  • You can specify the additional command line parameter which can be executed at client side.
  • Using Ghost Boot wizard different Ghost bootable media can be generated
  • Different OS type of Bootable are PCDOS ,MSDOS ,WinPE and Linux
  • A TCP/IP network boot package can be created (Used in PXE)
  • You can edit the WInPE version for adding or removing drivers
  • Deploy Anywhere drivers can be included in the WinPE bootable.
  • You can map a network drive in to the Ghost bootable media.
  • Boot package can be created as Floppy Disk , Virtual Floppy , USB , ISO Image , CD - DVD and One click virtual partition.
  • You can include additional files or Ghost image in to the Bootable package
  • You can edit and write the startup script for the Boot package.
  • Different client settings can be configured which includes Wait time, Heartbeat interval , Default PreOS.
  • A Ghost boot partition can be created and applied to the machine.
  • AI Builder helps you to prepare end to end installation script for any application with number of user defined settings.
  • Create executable programs that installs software packages
  • Support for VMDK and V2i/PQI images
  • Symantec Ghost images contain only the actual data on a disk. If you have a 9 GB drive with only 600 MB of data, the Symantec Ghost image is approximately 600 MB, or is smaller if you use compression.
  • The Deploy Anywhere feature lets you retarget an image to suit a computer that has different hardware from the model computer from which the image was created.
  • DA lets you deploy a generic image to a range of different computer and perform a retargeting of the clients, rather than requiring a separate image for each client hardware set.
  • You can configure a domain list in your environment
  • GhRegEdit lets you edit Windows registry keys and values.
  • Ghost Walker lets you assign unique security identifiers (SIDs)
  • Ghostoem for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and value-added resellers (VARs)
  • You can execute a command at the client end form Ghost Console
  • Ghost Recovery Kit is available for skilled engineers
  • Back up, restore, and clone directly to and from supported FireWire, USB 1.1, and USB 2.0 devices, including hard disks and supported CD-R/RW and DVD drives.
  • Back up to and restore from supported DVD+R/RW and DVDR/ RW drives.
  • GDisk compliance with the U.S Department of Defense requirements for securely wiping disks.
  • Ensures that confidential data cannot be recovered from recycled, retired, or leased PCs.
  • Provides assurance that confidential and sensitive information will be securely destroyed.
  • Runs under DOS and under a 32 bit Windows environment such as Win PE.
  • OmniFS - It is a general purpose utility for manipulating files and directories in a locally attached NTFS or FAT file system (including FAT hidden partitions), from DOS or Windows.
  • You can move desktop settings such as wallpaper and mapped network drives, and personal data such as files, address books, favorites, custom dictionaries, and bookmarks.
  • GSS provides command line switches for most of the tools , by using which you can automate your task
  • You can use PXE server environment in which you can restore an image on bare metal machine or on any machine just by booting in to PXE
  • You can schedule a task
  • You can use WOL functionality to starts the machine which is in shutdown state
  • You can take HOT image of a machine (Supported for Win XP, Vista and Win 7) without rebooting the machine and without stopping any services.
  • Prepare a Ghost Bootable with a startup task , You can prepare a ghost bootable with additional switches / tasks which will be performed automatically booting in to the media.
  • User-defined compression levels (None/Fast/High form console and 0-9 from command line)
  • Verify disk image before a restore and Check the file system on disk after a restore (CRC check)
  • Writing an image to CD Can be performed without any disk writing software
  • Gdisk / Pqdisk /PQI deploy can be used to automated imaging along with specified partition changes
  • This server will generate bootable cds/ usb devices
  • Uses Multicasting for cloning multiple machines at the same time.
  • Use Inventory report to maintain your lab machine details.
  • One click Virtual partition can be used for automating a complete end to end task.
  • Prepare and maintain Driver database for hardware independent imaging.
  • Using Configuration template and applying for maintaining uniform machine identification.
  • Sample script can include these commands line switches to perform a clean imaging task.
    gdisk32 1 /del /all
    gdisk32 1 /cre /pri /for /q /y
    ghost32 -clone,mode=load,src=z:\images\WinXPsp2.gho,dst=1 -sure -auto -batch