I have 40 networked computers that need to be re-imaged each night over a network via an automatic and unattended process. This is to reset the computers to a default state, as well as update the computers to the latest software loads. I'm using Symantec Ghost Solution Suite 2.5.

My process so far is the following:

  1. Client begins in a powered down WakeOnLan accepting state.
  2. Ghost Console task uses WakeOnLan and PXE to boot the client into the WinPE environment.
  3. The client connects to the ghost console and reimages itself successfully.
  4. The client closes WinPE and restarts.
  5. PROBLEM: The client boots into the WinPE environment again, instead of the newly installed OS (Win7)

I need it to boot into Win7 once so that I can run a few configuration batch files, then shut down into the WakeOnLan state again.

Ghost console even reports an error on the process, that it never rebooted into the OS.

Right now it seems that there is not an option to stop it from booting into the PXE server's WinPE image after re-imaging. Even if I set up a PXE boot menu with other boot options, its pointless, because it will always boot the default option. I would expect the ghost console task to be able to influence the PXE boot choice somehow. What do they expect us to do, turn the PXE server on and off manually?

How can I get the client to boot to the OS after re-imaging? Thank you.

  • I don't suppose PXE boot is higer than HDD in the BIOS boot list? – tombull89 Sep 20 '12 at 7:44
  • Yes, PXE is the first boot option. But that's the only way I can get PXE to load the first time for re-imaging. – uberdanzik Sep 20 '12 at 15:50

If you need completely automated, one-touch imaging you need an enterprise-grade solution, which Ghost Solution Suite is not. I don't even think you can script around the problem in GSS, which is another reason it's really not suited for large, completely automated one-touch deployments.

I personally don't see the problem with making desktop/laptop imaging a two-touch process, but if that's a problem for you, you'll need to shell out the money and/or man-hours to make it happen. I've done it myself using other tools (FOG), and honestly found it a waste of time and effort to go one-touch, especially given the fact that you touch them again when you go to set them up or put them away... which, in my opinion, ought to involve a quick check just to make sure the imaging process worked anyway.

  • Thanks. We definitely have money and man hours, just not a lot of experience on this specific issue. Can you recommend an enterprise-level solution? We need this system to work with hopefully zero interaction. – uberdanzik Sep 20 '12 at 15:57
  • @uberdanzik Sure. I've had success with FOG, as mentioned, and we currently use SCCM/WDS at the day job, whcih is very easy to turn into a completely automated 1 or 1.5 touch deployment platform... too easy, maybe if you're HP and you automatically format 1/3 of an Aussie bank's server and clients, even. ;) if you need more direction, or features to look for, than this, you should start a new question for better results and more answers. (Just don't ask for us to do your research or choose a specific product for you.) – HopelessN00b Sep 20 '12 at 16:28

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