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Ghost console version for Windows Server 2008 R2 64 bit, for unattended reimaging

Created: 20 Sep 2012 | 5 comments

Are there any updates regardning availability of a WIN64BIT compartible console in any new version?

Re: https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/forums/ghost-version-windows-server-2008-r2-64-bit

In the thread during the spring 2012 , Nigel Bree was mentioning, I quote;  " Actually, the console client should work just fine on R2. I wrote it, and I know of no reported problems with it on R2 in the GSS 2.5.1 release"

So there is a console then that may work, but it is not supported?

Are there any information whatsoever about it you could share?

I understand that I cannot expect any answers if it fails.

To recap requirements:

Are there any plans to support console client in a near future on R2? (what build?)

The server rack is in a remote server lab, we want to have as litle physical access to it as possible, for obvious reasons.

Are there any (handmade/unsupported) scripts that you could share with me that avoids physical access to the computer, enabling clicking (or starting a cmd) on the R2 desktop to perform the process going back to a given ghost image?

I was maybe thinking of putting those scripts on a USB Stick?

The remote Server rack is re-imaged often, sometimes more often than ones a day.

Unfortunately we do not have any remote KVM, only local.

Thank you,

qa4ever

Comments 5 CommentsJump to latest comment

EdT's picture

Why do you need a 64 bit client for re-imaging your system? 

If you are booting to WinPE as the pre-OS for reimaging, then the target volume is exactly that - a volume that is just a collection of sectors that frankly any operating system can write as long as it has the appropriate drivers for the hardware.

Or am I missing something here?

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

qa4ever's picture

Hi EdT

Well I am not booting to WINPE lately at all, we did some tests some time ago but we got problems, not just with WINPE.

On WIN32 we did something like below pseudo code. It does not work anymore with win64bit, like windows 2008r2. I believe one of the issues was finding SCSI drivers for WINPE that works with 64 bitWIN, but there were other issues. Another issues were also that the image (WIN2K8R2) after rebooting into did not boot. The third issue I cannot remember...

If you know of a proven,  i.e. non-theoretical model, working procedure - please share it since I know many who have troubles with this. Similar steps like below would be great if you could provide, not just an answer like "get SCSI drivers and it works magically".

Even better if you could publish the WINPE image (with working batch scripts in) that I believe is needed in Partition 1 in below example, for being able to restore WIN2008R2, on partition 2. 

  • Partition-1:  4GB, FAT32, booting MS-DOS 7.1; additional files include ghost.exe (from Ghost 2003 CD) and pqboot.exe (from Partition Magic CD); autoexec.bat file shown below.

    Partition-2:  4GB, NTFS, booting Windows 2000; additional files include pqboot32.exe (from Partition Magic CD) and reboot.bat; scheduled task added in task scheduler to run reboot.bat at a predetermined time.

Listing of partition-2 reboot.bat file:

  • pqboot32 /p:1

Listing of partition-1 autoexec.bat file:

  • ghost -restore,mode=pcreate,src=1:2,dst=c:\win2k.gho -sure -quiet
    pqboot /p:2

Without any user intervention (whatsoever, not even during BIOS menu or any "partition selection menu"), at the appointed time:
 

  1. Windows runs the scheduled task
  2. reboot.bat executes pqboot32 to shut down and reboot into partition-1
  3. partition-1 boots to DOS
  4. Ghost starts up, restores image of partition-2 that is stored on partition-1
  5. pqboot shuts down system and reboots back into partition-2
  6. partition-2 boots back into Windows
  7. above loop (1-6) is triggered again when the windows scheduled task i triggered by system time.

Nobody would be happier than me if you solve this smiley.

Thank you for your time EdT,

QA4Ever

EdT's picture

The Connect articles library already contains documents describing how to build your own WinPE boot environments:

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/articles/readyadventures-winpe  - this also includes details of how to make dual boot environments with WinPE as one of the boot solutions.

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/articles/adventures-winpe-31?om_ext_cid=biz_con_cmgr_cp_20120221_pm - this basically covers the creation of the latest WinPE release (based on the Win 7 / 2008R2 kernel generation) which can therefore be used with the latest drivers.

If Win 2008R2 is structured the same way as Windows 7, then there are actually two separate partitions involved in the boot process and both need to be present. The first partition is only 100Mb but is required.

Yes, you still need to add the correct drivers to WinPE whichever version you use, but the DRVLOAD technique allows this to be done from the command prompt, so you can quickly test a number of drivers and find out which ones work. See this article for instructions: https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/articles/do-i-have-correct-driver-winpe

However, once you have access to the hard disk(s), it is immaterial whether you are running WinPE 32 bit or WinPE 64 bit, as the hard disk is nothing more than a collection of sectors to be backed up. Thus any boot environment that can access the hard disk fully can do this.

It would be entirely possible to create a boot device such as an external USB hard disk that could rebuild your machine as automatically as required, just by plugging the device into a USB port and rebooting - I have done as much for building desktop workstations - but it's nothing I can offer on an "off the shelf" basis.

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

qa4ever's picture

Hi EdT

I struck me as somewhat odd that you as an Enterprise Backup/Reimaging System provider do not have an out-of-the box solution but refer customers to a couple of articles that might or might not work having spent  a number of hours trying to get working. I have some experience of WAIK and MDT and it is not an out-of-the-box experience exactly.

With the event of Windows 8 and Server 2012 there might have been some developments from your side in simplify the ghost32/64 product, and potentialy eradicating the need for you customers of trying to fiddle toghter a WINPE image themselves?

Happy new year,

QA4Ever

EdT's picture

First of all, I am not an employee of Symantec, and therefore can only offer suggestions based on personal experience of finding solutions to client requirements in the past.  I do not speak for Symantec, so there is no point in blaming me for the shortcomings in Symantec product development!!

Although you do find some Symantec employees posting in Connect forums, the majority of the support is by users for users.

As you are probably aware, the Ghost product development stalled a few years ago when the development team was laid off. There have been postings by a Symantec PM to suggest that a new version of Ghost is in the works, but there is no firm release date. We may see something this year but don't hold your breath.

Yes, there is no doubt that the Ghost console needs a lot of work, and Nigel Bree has indicated that he had done a lot of work on this for Ghost 3 before development stopped. It is unknown whether this work will be carried forward or whether the next version of Ghost will just have a minimum amount of spit and polish applied to get it functioning with the latest operating systems but without adding any real functionality.

Since Ghost is still a viable tool for disk imaging, users are having to be creative in developing their own solutions for their modern environments to fill in the gaps in the current product specification. There is a wealth of user information in the Ghost forum and in the articles forum which might help should you wish to spend any time crafting your own solution, but nothing off the shelf to suit your requirements.

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