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Create Ghost Boot CD/DVD for Restoring/Creating Archives to Isilon

Created: 29 Jan 2013 | 11 comments


I'm sure there must be a thread on this issue but I could not find it anywhere in the search. So I updated my account information and decided to create a new thread/post.

My environment:

Symantec Ghost Console:

Scenario: I have a Dell 2950 Windows Server 2003 with HW RAID.  6 drives: 0,1 (RAID 0) C$ (System drives).  2,3,4,5 (RAID10) D$ application/data drive.  Dual static IP's (DHCP is not available)  Isilon mass storage available.

I am building a server that will be deployed to a stand alone, secured network.  Prior to shipping the system, after everything has been finalized, I have created an 8+ GB .GHO (with Ghost compression) file from the Ghost Console to the server's D$ drive.  It restores like a champ, no problems, very cast (from D$ to C$) when using the ghost console.

However, when I followed the instructions here (as there will be no Ghost Console available):


I was puzzled by the lack of .ghs files and only a .gho. How do I split the existing .gho file into 2 GB segments as stated in the instructions?  Or is it not/no longer required? Can I simply use ImageBurn and span the .iso across 3 dvd's and Ghost will prompt me for the rest of the .gho file on the other disks that the .gho resides?

With this confusion, I decided to simply create a boot CD/DVD to either boot and restore using the .gho file stored on D$.  But then, to protect from a complete failure, I want the boot media to have the option (or perhaps create a 2nd boot media) to connect to the Isilon (fixed IP) to restore the image across the internal network. Has anyone done this?  The field SE needs to be able to do this to both restore to the image in the event of a failure, but also will need to re-snap a known good image after patches/upgrades to either the D$ (to be moved to the Isilon) or directly to the Isilon (So I will need to create boot media to do this).  I thought this would be easier than maintaining many DVD's, somehow splitting the .gho (if that's what I now need to do) into many .ghs files.

Thanks very much for any and all help in advance.

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EdT's picture

First of all, if you create a Ghost image to a local NTFS device then unless you specify a -split parameter on the Ghost command line (or choose a split option through the GUI), the image created will be a single large GHO file.  You cannot split it after creation, so if you want split files, you will need to re-image your source.

However, if you create a boot environment using WinPE (adviseable with modern hardware). it will have no problem using the single large file.

I would never contemplate storing important images on DVD or any optical media, as there are many cases in these forums where users have run into problems due to the images not being recoverable. Optical media, especially the cheap stuff, is too prone to defects which will not affect audio or video data but are unrecoverable for digital media.  Making a bootable USB drive (avoid cheap ones also) is great for image storage and recovery and I've implemented that for field engineers in the past, to rebuild machines on site, and it works well.  Storage is cheap, so never rely on one copy of the image either.

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

ICHCB's picture

I agree that I don't trust the DVDs but if you need to split the images you can open them with ghost explorer and recompile it with setting split points.   The more you mess with an image the more chances it will be corrupted so I would like to see a new image created but if that wasn't an option the ghost explorer might be worth looking at.

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EdT's picture

Just make sure you have a **safe** backup of the image before you start splitting it using Ghost Explorer, and test the split image before you consider deleting the original!

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

SilentWarrior's picture

Thanks very much for the information.  If you notice in the links I provided, there was no mention of using the split command. Had I known this, I would have done something different.  So if you would not mind, let me ask you something different:

I have the ORIGINAL .gho file on both an ISOLON and drive D on the server (it is a dell with hardware raid and the D drive consists of RAID 10 on drives 2,3,4,5).

How can I create a GHOST boot DVD to restore the .gho image from the D drive to the C drive?

How can I create a GHOST boot DVD to restore the .gho image from the ISOLON to the C drive?

USB restore drive is not an option due to security.  But how can I create a USB boot thumbdrive with this 9+ GB .gho file? Is there a way to do that?  That would be helpful in other, non-secure environments.

But the prioity is how to create a boot disk to automatically use or at least prompt for the file so I can navigate to the D drive and select the .gho file.

Thanks vyer much for taking the time to help me with these 2 scenarios above.  D drive; ISOLON drive

SilentWarrior's picture

Sorry, looks like I can't spell or type today. Isilon storage is available to pull the image from on a boot DVD and on the local server is a 2nd partition of raid drives that I can also pull the .gho image file from for restore.

I really need a solution using these 2 file location options.


EdT's picture

USB flash drives come formatted as FAT32, so if you want to store a 9Gb+ file on one of them, you will need to reformat the flash drive as NTFS. There is plenty of information on the internet on how to do this so I won't waste time here. Just bear in mind that NTFS is a journalling file system which means it is reading and writing regularly, which uses up the read-write cycles on a flash drive somewhat quicker than running on FAT32, so if you want a long life, don't leave it plugged in when you are not using it.

My article here:  will give you a good starting point if you want to make your own WinPE boot media, but of course you can use Ghost Boot Wizard (GBW) as well. The key point to bear in mind is that the version of WinPE that ships with Ghost (and I describe in the directly linked article) is based on the Vista 32 bit kernel, so any device drivers you add need to be for the Vista 32 bit operating system - REGARDLESS of what operating system you are imaging.

As far as device drivers are concerned, if you are going to work with local storage, you need to add the appropriate Vista 32 bit device drivers for your SATA and RAID chipsets to GBW, and make sure they are selected before rebuilding your boot image.  If you want to grab files from a network location, you will need to add the appropriate NIC drivers for your hardware as well.  Where server hardware is encountered, getting Vista 32 bit drivers can be difficult as Vista was never used as a server operating system. My article links to a newer article which describes creating boot media using WinPE 3 which is based on the Win 7 kernel, for which Win 2K8 drivers are usually compatible. Again, you only need the 32 bit version as the Ghost32.exe is a 32 bit executable, and disk access happens at the sector level regardless of the content of the disk, so the boot environment is frankly unimportant.

I hope this gives you enough to work with.

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

SilentWarrior's picture

Thanks very much.  I think I needed to add these drivers and the nic drivers to the ghost server in order to boot and see the drives via the console.  Having said that, I believe that they are in my WinPE already, I'll double check. I'm going to review your article now.

SilentWarrior's picture

Ok, I have some altiris exerience, so all I want to do is boot with a ghost enabled bootable disk and configure the cd/dvd to look at the root of the D drive for the .gho file.  Has no one ever done that with the GBW before me? (USB is not an option due to security requirement. That question was as an alternate case for a different location)

The Isilon is a network appliance storage unit.  So as an alternate back up location (if the raid should fail in the primary server) I want to be able to have ghost prompt me for the location or even better, code this into the .ini or bat file to look to the D drive or connect via network (with a different set of media, I don't mind creating one for local .gho file and one for networked .gho file).

But using GBW, can I create the ghost boot media to simply install any default .gho image on the D drive?

EdT's picture

There is a lot you can do to configure WinPE - the Ghost Boot Wizard allows you to add/edit command lines to be run when WinPE boots, and it would be simple to just add a line which calls another batch file in a location internal or external to the WinPE boot environment.  Then you can write whatever sequence of commands you need in your setup, whether it is mapping drive letters or choosing a ghost image to load.

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

SilentWarrior's picture

Thanks EdT.  However, I am looking for 'instructions' since I am more used to using a console for broadcasting drive imaging solutions. Do you have 'instructions' that would help us all out using the GBW to create a boot option to 'automatically' or attended pull from another local drive?  Your reply tells me it's possible but does not have a solution.  I'm looking for the solution as I have a critical failure that I need to work around.

As a 'trusted advisor' I am trusting that you can advise me on the solution. Not advise me on possibilities.  That's why I posted to the boards.  I'm not experienced enough for this solution so I need an expert to tell me how to do it.  I'm a newb here with this required solution.

EdT's picture

I can point you at an article that covers some of the points:

However, to create a set of 'instructions' would necessitate me knowing a lot more about the system setup and also writing and debugging code which I hope you will understand is outside the time I have available. There is a lot of content in the Articles forum on different aspects of using Ghost which you can research.

There is more than one way to achieve a solution (ie several possibilities depending on your specifics), and my brief is to provide advice, not to write solutions. I also have never heard of the Isilon system before and therefore cannot give you the precise hand holding information needed to get it working.

If you need specific consultancy, please share your location with us in case there is a forum member nearby that is able to assist you in person.

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