Faster deployment of new PC’s using GSS 2
When you have a fine Symantec Ghost Solution Suite deployment environment, it could still be a pain to deploy new computers. These are the steps you probably have to do:
- Boot with PXE boot
- Write down the last four MAC digits
- Change the computer name in the ghost console configuration
- Clone the new pc’s with a configuration template (for domain etc)
Especially step 2 and 3 are time consuming… This started me to think about a solution. The easiest way was to ask for a computer name during PXE boot and give that computer name as a parameter to NGCTDOS.exe (which is the Ghost Console client for dos). NGCTDOS then would deliver the computer name to the ghost console.
Nice huh? Except for one thing… there is no such parameter. I asked this question on the Symantec Forum and Nigel Bree (a really great Principal Software Engineer for the Ghost Solution Suite) kindly replied it would be a fairly natural extension.
This started me to think about other ways to get this done, without a pain. I came up with a solution involving ghconfig (which is part of the PXE boot image), change.com (a 19 year old text replacing utility of 737 bytes!) and wbat.exe (a dialog box utility by Horst Schaeffer).
The end result is a dialog box with mouse support, which asks for 15 seconds for a computer name. If no input is given during that period or cancel is pressed, the Ghost Console Client will behave as a normal Ghost Console dos client. If a computer name is entered, the computer name will be set after the ghost image process.
If you also want to speed up your new pcâ€™s deployment process, follow the following steps:
- Go to the ghost console and pick a Machine configuration. Change the computer name in REPLACE (in capitals). Change other settings to the settings you want on your new pc’s.
Export the configuration, and name the file: ghregupd.reg
- Download ghost-console-new-pc.zip and unpack the zip file
- Open the 3Com Boot Image Editor (which is part of the 3Com Boot services on the Ghost install CD)
Edit the sys pxe file that was created by the Ghost Boot Wizard
Place the just unpacked files (from the downloaded zip file) in the root of the boot image. And put ghregupd.reg in the GHOST directory.
You are done.
Please note that if you are now deploying new pcâ€™s the pcâ€™s will appear in the folder New Computers on the Ghost Console initially with their MAC addresses. But after you run a successful task with the following steps:
- Execute Command in Ghost Boot Partition: ghconfig.exe /a
- Configuration Refresh
- (Optionally packages, but absolutely not Configuration!)
The computer names will magically appear.
Please note that because Ghost Console is normally in charge of creating or resetting the computer domain account. This means that the new computers are probably not a domain member. You can fix this by running a configuration task with a configuration template afterwards.