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We have a few new Windows 7 PCs for development - they need development software, all the .NET frameworks from 1.1 upwards and such like - all of which always install components to the primary drive regardless of the main application location - plus .NET 1.1 needs a fair bit of meddling to get right after install - so doing this once is preferable.

All PCs are the same spec, same model, same components, same drivers etc.

Ideally I would like to be able to take an image of the one PC I have installed everything on, and then restore it onto the others. The "control" PC has all aspects of the development environment configure to suit our setup, as well as the necessary system changes to accommodate .NET 1.1 on Windows 7 / IIS 7.

An attempt with Ghost 14 left me with the infamous BOOTMGR missing error, I read somewhere that 15 would fix this - I re-imaged using 15 and I get the same.

Does anyone have any idea what I could use to take an image of the fully installed PC and restore it successfully - using the Windows Deployment Services seems out of the question as I would then have to configure and install all applications individually on each PC, as I understand it, which would somewhat defeat the object of the image in this instance.

I have tried a few time with Ghost 14 and now 15, and have spent hours looking around the Internet for any help, but to no avail. All solutions seem to be vague,. or just merely suggest WDS.

Any help would be most grateful.

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3 Answers

After restoring an image on a windows 7 PC or laptop you'll get the boot manager error due to the fact part of the boot.ini is located in small partition of the drive. FOr some reason even if you ghost the entire drive you will still get the error. The only workaround is to run the windows 7 repair after restoring the image and this will correct the issue.

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Norton Ghost 15 is not a deployment program, it's a low-end entry-level single-user consumer PC backup program that happens to be sold under the "Ghost" brand even though it's completely technically unrelated to the genuine Ghost product line (the same code as "Norton Ghost 15" is sold as an equally low-end corporate backup program under the name "Backup Exec System Recovery" although it has no more relationship to the genuine Backup Exec product line than it does to Ghost).

Genuine Ghost is still sold for corporate deployment by Symantec, although it was shifted to being sold under the name Ghost Solution Suite when PowerQuest was acquired by Symantec due to PowerQuest's imminent failure after several years of sustained losses. As part of that acquisition the genuine Ghost product line was unfortunately put under some ex-PowerQuest management, who then cancelled the genuine Ghost product outright and rebranded the ex-PowerQuest products as Ghost in the consumer market to try and get a free ride on the very valuable Ghost brand.

Genuine Ghost was then uncancelled in early 2006 after the Veritas acquisition put Ghost and the ex-PowerQuest products under former Veritas executive Jeremy Burton, however the branding confusion deliberately created by the ex-PowerQuest executives was by then entrenched enough that it was impossible to undo ("Norton Ghost 10" was refreshed and sold as "Norton Save & Restore", but sold under US$1M despite being the exact same thing as the older product branded as "Norton Ghost" which continued to outsell it by more than 20:1, thus despite the damage to the Ghost brand caused by the consumer product things were left alone as they were).

The genuine Ghost product has since the late 90's been capable of deploying and reconfiguring thousands of machines through centralized management; although in April 2009 Symantec once again cancelled the product and this time laid off the development team, it's still sold and widely used, and the imaging tools in Ghost Solution Suite are also sold as part of the more expensive Altiris Deployment Solution product line.

There's a Symantec-hosted forum for the genuine Ghost product as well.

Full disclosure: I am a former Symantec employee who was one of the lead developers at Symantec on the genuine Ghost product line.

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Another alternative to Ghost, is SmartDeploy Enterprise. I work on this deployment tool, and it seems as though it could fit your needs. It allows you to create a reference machine in VMWARE (or other virtual machine environments) and then capture it using the capture wizard. You can then deploy this image to physical machines in multiple ways such as, dvd, network, wds, and/or usb.

The missing BOOTMGR might be due to a driver issue as well, so if you're having driver issues with your hardware, you can download the matching platform pack (Basically a driver pack) for your server model and have the drivers install with your deployment.

I hope this helps, Devon

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