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Unable to begin session using Directed Broadcast

Created: 28 Dec 2012 | 9 comments


I'm in charge of imaging client computers that are shipped out to support various events.  Hard drive images range from 45-500GB, and we often do a couple dozen per week.  This is a small company and I am the self-taught "IT guy," so I'm pretty much not an expert on anything.

I had been suffering along using multicast, sometimes taking 3 days to do a batch of 18 machines (what we consider a full set), until I found that using directed broadcast instead would allow me to get the same batch done in a few hours!  Hooray!

Well, that thrill didn't last long, because last week the seven-year-old Server 2003 machine that had been hosting our Ghostcast died.  I have put up a new machine in its place, however this new one is running Windows 7 Ultimate.  (We have hopes of resurrecting the old server, which is one reason I installed a different OS.)  Hard drive speeds are excellent, compared to the SCSI drives on the previous machine, network appears to work well, and in general I'm happy with the new setup.

The problem:  I'm not able to use directed broadcast on this new system.  Unicast and multicast work, however neither of these is adequate for pushing out the massive images we use.  When I set Ghostcast Server to force directed broadcast, the clients connect and show "Waiting for Ghostcast session to start."  On the server, I see "Ghostcast session in progress," but no data goes out.  Eventually the clients time out.

Here is our equipment:

  • Switch, HP ProCurve 1800-24G (J9028B, firmware is PB.03.04) - Does not support multicast/IGMP, static IP
  • Server, SuperMicro 6026T-NTR+ running Win7 Ultimate SP1 with...
  • ...Ghostcast Server
  • ...DHCP server (Tftpd64 4.0)
  • ...dual NICs, one answers to and runs the Ghost network; one answers to on our LAN.  I've set up this multi-home rig so that Ghost traffic doesn't flood our network but I can control the system from my desk.
  • Client machines are various hardware, but all run Ghost32 in either WinPE 3.0 or 4.0.

I have attached a Wireshark capture of a typical attempt.  In this capture, I hit "Accept Clients" and then cause two machines to connect to the session named "testsession".  The server shows the clients connected, but does not start the session.  If there is any more information I need to provide, please let me know!  I'll be back in the office January 2 and I'm eager to get this solved!

Thank you very much for your time!

Comments 9 CommentsJump to latest comment

MacBrinky's picture

Hello Carl,

The fact that your Switch does not support Multicast does not make things easier. What is the setting for IGMP?
The Ghost Solution Suite 2.5.x supported WinPE 2.0 not 3.0 or 4.0. Did you get the same behavior with WinPE 2.0? Why have you changed to a WinPE version not supported by GSS?
What is your setting for the Ghost Cast Session, will the server wait for a particular time or number of clients?

EdT's picture


The O/P has indicated that they are using Ghostcast Server, so it's a very older version which did not include WinPE at all. I guess that is the reason they are using WinPE 3 and 4.

Since the O/P mentions that the switches do not support multicast or IGMP, it looks like they are not going to be able to use Ghost in any optimal manner over a network.

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

MacBrinky's picture

Hello EdT,

Yes you are right. Best options would be an upgrade of Ghost but usage of different network components as well to can benefit IGMP.

CarlH_ADS's picture

OK, two things.

  1. Assume there is no budget to buy new equipment.  We have what we have, unfortunately.
  2. I was previously able to use Directed Broadcast but now, with a new server, cannot.  The goal here is to find out why.

We are only using Ghostcast Server, and not any of the automation features of the GSS.  This has been working for us, but we need to get our speed back.  I understand why Multicast is not an option, but Directed should work -- it just seems that something is stopping it.

FYI, I have tried this with the Windows Firewall disabled, with the same results.

EdT's picture

There are a number of "security" changes between Server 2003 and Windows 7 Ultimate - as well as the fact that one is a server operating system and one is a desktop operating system.

If you have a spare hard disk for the machine currently running Windows 7 Ultimate, you may wish to try installing Windows Server 2003 on that and testing it using the same setup as before.  I think this is going to be the most efficient diagnostic path that does not involve paying for a support call.

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

CarlH_ADS's picture

Yes, that would be a sound diagnostic step.  Unfortunately, I do not know all the details of the previous setup.  I may have time in a few weeks to try something like that.  In the meantime, I suppose we are stuck doing two machines at a time.

MacBrinky's picture

Most of the security options like
- User Account Control
- Simple FileShareing
- Windows Firewall
- AntiVir
- Encryption
could be a core issue for any kind of session (Unicast\Multicast). But most likely the issue will then not only start with more as 2 machines attending.
A Server OS is handling incoming requests or traffic differently as a Desktop OS, so I would have a closer look at this.
I guess the Windows Event Log is telling nothing?

CarlH_ADS's picture

I agree that UAC and such should not affect this type of thing.  UAC could prevent Ghost from running, but in fact I run Ghostcast Server as Administrator.

I have examined the event logs and did not find anything that seems applicable.  I notice that there is a "Winsock Network Event" log, which is currently disabled.  I will try enabling that and begin a Directed Broadcast, to see if it collects anything useful.

Do you have any other suggestion for obtaining information about why the directed broadcast does not work?

MacBrinky's picture

As already suggested a test with a 3rd machine which host the GhostCastSession/GhostCastServer would help to rule out some possibilities. Any Laptop or Desktop running WinXP will do.