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Capture Image of XPS 15 L521X

Created: 03 Jun 2013 | 11 comments

I'm trying to capture an image of windows 7 on a Dell XPS 15 L521X with a 32GB SSD and 500GB HDD that uses Intel Smart Response Technology so Windows is installed on the HDD and it uses the SSD for caching.  I had problems when trying to install Windows because it wouldn't see the drives without the ISRT drivers loaded.  When trying to capture an image with Ghost I see a drive but it is only 32MB (<-- NOT gigs!).  Is there a way to load the ISRT drivers on the same boot disk for ghost or some other way to capture an image of a hybrid drive like this?  I haven't been able to find anything about it online.

Operating Systems:

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EdT's picture

What version of Ghost?

Are you booting WinPE?  You will need to use WinPE if you want to add drivers for disk subsystems.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

BSann's picture

Ghost Console and Standard Tools product version 1.15.01.2266.  I am booting into PC-DOS but get a graphical interface with a blue-green background and window like options which I assume is a windows preinstall environment.

EdT's picture

If you are booting into DOS, then there is no WinPE involvement as these are mutually exclusive. 

11.5.1.2266 provides a Ghost Boot Wizard tool for generating WinPE boot environments, so I would try this instead.

These two articles should help:

http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH110134

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/articles/do-i-have-correct-driver-winpe

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

BSann's picture

yes, sorry, my decimal point was in the wrong place and I said 01 instead of 1.  That is the version I'm using, and I made my boot cd using the same steps as the first article you linked.  If you pay close attention when you're booting the CD it says starting MS-DOS then it boots the CD into a winPE.

I will try loading the drivers as the second article suggests.  That is just what I was looking for, actually.  Provided it works, in which case I'll still be looking.

Do you have any experience with ghosting a hybrid drive that uses Intel Smart Response Technology?  From what I've read it's basically a RAID configuration that uses the HDD for storage and the SSD for caching.  The OS is installed on the HDD.  

I have a computer that uses the SSD as the boot drive and has the OS installed there and the HDD is just an extra hd for storage, but this is different.  When it's configured properly you only have one drive letter and windows doesn't see the SSD at all but treats them as the same drive.

EdT's picture

WinPE, with the appropriate Vista 32 bit drivers added, can mount raid systems as well as single disks.

I cannot specifically claim any experience with the hardware combination you have, but if the operating system sees the combination as a single drive, then it should create an image of a single drive. I would suggest a trial restore though, to make sure that it all goes smoothly as you don't want to be caught out in an emergency situation.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

BSann's picture

That method didn't work either.  DOS doesn't see the harddrives so it named the ghost boot disk C: and the USB drivers for the system aren't on the ghost disk so I was never able to navigate to the flash drive because it wasn't recognized either.  The only thing I see in ghost is a 23 MB drive.

EdT's picture

I really don't understand why you are still trying to get DOS to work as it's not going to. It has NO support for USB and NO support for disk arrays of any type.

With WinPE, there is native support for USB 2 devices, and you can add drivers for USB 3 ports.  You can also add drivers for your disk array.  The WinPE image as supplied is not going to have your drivers pre-installed, so you need to add, then select them via Ghost Boot Wizard. The two links I posted on 4 Jun describe the process of testing candidate drivers using DRVLOAD and also how to add drivers to your image using GBW.

So forget DOS, as it's just wasting your time to continue with it.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

BSann's picture

I think we're just miscommunicating.  When I boot the ghost boot cd I created using the method you linked to create a winPE disk it first boots to a black screen that says "Starting MS-DOS."  It THEN boots into a WinPE environment.  The second link you posted said to exit out of that then from the command line (which is where you are left when it kicks you out of the WinPE environment) it says to cd to the flash drive and load the drivers.  Maybe I'm missing something, but I've been following your instructions.

EdT's picture

OK, so presumably you have tried running DRVLOAD and specifying the full path to the INF file of the driver you are trying to load. So what happens?  Please bear in mind that I cannot look over your shoulder to see what you are doing, so you have to spell it out. Just telling me that something did not work is really pointless as I have no way of taking that further. Did you get any messages? Were any errors reported?

What drivers did you try to load? Were they Vista 32 bit drivers? Did they consist of at least an INF CAT and SYS file, and maybe some other DLL files?

What is your experience level with drivers? Do you know what a device ID is, and how to check what device IDs apply to your hard disk chipset(s) and network card ?

The techniques I have described are pretty standard and have worked for many years, so it just remains to find out what part of the process is failing in your environment and what you need to do to fix it.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

BSann's picture

I had to deploy that computer without taking an image of it but I was trying to use the WinPE method on another box, a Dell T3400 and it installed just fine but windows wouldn't boot after the install.  I'm assuming it was a bad image as I was able to install off a disk without trouble.  It was a rather old image, and this may not be the same hardware configuration as these are just spares we patch together and loan out.

I will experiment with the WinPE some more when I try to take an image of this one to replace the bad image we have saved.

To answer your questions:

I made the boot cd with the ghost boot wizard and chose the first option, Make a Standard Ghost Boot CD.  When it got to the additional files to include I added all of the files from the f6flpy-64x file I used to load the RAID drivers before.  Perhaps this is the wrong way to do this, I don't know, the guide wasn't very clear on that point.  They included 2 sets of INF CAT and SYS files.  Those are windows 7 drivers, not vista.  

My experience level with drivers has been downloading them and double clicking them to install them.  I don't know how to check the device IDs for my hard disk chipsets or network card.  

EdT's picture

First of all, WinPE as shipped with Ghost is based on the Vista kernel, so needs 32 bit Vista drivers. Using 64 bit drivers is not going to work, and unless the drivers are written to support multiple versions of operating systems, there is a risk that a Windows 7 driver is not going to work on WinPE either.

Regarding the "bad image" you have - what I would ask where Windows 7 is involved, is whether you made a "partition image" or a "disk image"?  Windows 7 is the first windows operating system that actually creates and uses TWO partitions. The first (hidden) partition is only 100-200 Mb but contains important system files. The second partition is the one you see in Explorer as the C: drive.  If you deploy just an image of the second partition, it will not boot, but you can get it working by running a repair from a Windows 7 install CD.

To get a better idea of device IDs I would point you at this article:

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/articles/readyutility-assist-identifying-plug-and-play-drivers

This is run on a machine with a fully installed and working windows operating system, and will generate a text file listing ALL plug and play devices on the machine and their Device IDs (also know as PNP ID's).

When plug and play runs, it reads the device ID of each device in the machine, and looks through the INF file library stored on the machine (C:\Windows\INF) for an INF file with a matching Device ID. It then reads the INF file which instructs the operating system which drivers to load and what registry entries are required to support the driver.  When using DRVLOAD from WinPE, you are basically providing WinPE with an INF file (and supporting CAT and SYS and maybe DLL files) which tells it how to load a driver. If the INF file's list of Device ID's match a device in the machine then the driver will be available when you come to use the device in question. Naturally there is also a requirement for the driver to be compatible with the operating system version you are running, hence you will not be able to load a 64 bit driver on a 32 bit operating system.

If you want to learn a bit more about WinPE outside of the Ghost environment, I would point you at this article: https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/articles/readyadventures-winpe

This provides DIY instructions for building a WinPE V2 boot environment at the same version as Ghost uses, but the article also has a link to a similar DIY Guide for WinPE V3, as used for deploying Windows 7. The techniques are somewhat different as they reflect new technologies that came with Windows 7.

I hope this will give you enough material to work with, and will help you to a better understanding of the WinPE environment and how to add drivers to it. It's a lot more complex than MSDOS but on the other hand, modern hardware is just way beyond the capabilities of MSDOS to handle correctly.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.