Recovering From a Stuck Symantec Ghost Virtual Boot Partition

It seems that when you manage a bunch of machines with Symantec Ghost, you always end up with one or two that, for whatever reason, get stuck in the Ghost Virtual Boot Partition, and can’t boot back into windows. This can be really frustrating because you usually know what went wrong, and need to get back into Windows to fix the problem.

The good news is that setting the machine is really easy once you know how. I went through years of booting into DOS, and running fdisk from a floppy whenever this happened to me before I realized that fixing it is just a simple command that exists on the Ghost Virtual Partition.

Here is how it is done:

  • Stop Ghost and go to a DOS prompt:
  • If running the Ghost DOS client, NGctdos.exe, type Ctrl+X
  • If running the Ghost executable, Ghost.exe, type Ctrl+C
  • Change to the Ghost directory.
  • Type cd Ghost
  • Type ngctdos -hide

This last command hides the Ghost Boot Partition, makes the Windows partition active, and restarts the computer. You can then move on to fix the problem with minimal fuss, and get on with distributing the virus known as “Windows”.

Joining Samba Domains with Symantec Ghost

Because Symantec Ghost expects that everyone is going to use a “real” Active Directory Domain Controller, it fails when trying to automatically join samba domains, and I’ve always had to visit each machine after imaging it to manually join the newly imaged system to our domain. Needless to say, this is annoying when you manage over 300 systems.

Luckily, Alan Baker (who does not have a blog for me to link to) has managed to come up with a solution… For this, he is my hero of the month!
Here is how you do it… The trick is to create a post image command in your Ghost task that calls a little application called netdom.exe. You can add this file to your image and call it locally if you wish, or you can put it on a server and execute it using a UNC.

  • Download netdom.exe by clicking here. It is included in the Windows Support Tools package.
  • Modify your Ghost Distribute Task, click on the “Execute Command” Tab and add the following command, modifying it for your environment:

C:\Path\To\netdom.exe JOIN %computername% /Domain:Your_Domain /UserD:YourDomainAdmin /PasswordD:YourDomainAdminPassword /UserO:LocalMachineAdministrator /PasswordO:LocalMachineAdministratorPassword /REBoot

  • If you will be calling netdom.exe using a UNC, the command will look something like this:

\servername\sharename\netdom.exe JOIN %computername% /Domain:Your_Domain /UserD:YourDomainAdmin /PasswordD:YourDomainAdminPassword /UserO:LocalMachineAdministrator /PasswordO:LocalMachineAdministratorPassword /REBoot

This should save you a lot of time…. I know it has for Alan and I! Again, Thanks to Alan Baker for figuring this out, and sharing the info with me.

Problems with Ghost and Broadcom NetXtreme DOS drivers

I’ve been struggling to gather an image from our brand-spanking new Dell GX280’s using the Ghost Console, but I kept getting an error saying that “The DOS Network Adaptor Configuration Template is Corrupt…” after the machine initiated the reboot process and unjoined the domain. It turns out that the Broadcom NetXtreme card had some bugs, and are not compatible with the DOS driver versions included with Ghost. I found the following mention of the problem on the Symantec website:

The other NICs causing problems at the moment are the Broadcom NetXtreme (b57). Ghost 7.5 did not include any drivers for the Broadcom NICs, but Ghost 8.0/8.2 does. However, some new Broadcom NetXtreme NICs are not compatible with the DOS driver versions included with Ghost (v6.34 and v6.46). A new version has been released (v7.65), and is available here. Overwrite the b57.dos file in the Boot Wizard, or C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\Ghost\Templates – b57.dos. You can also check with Broadcom for the lastest NIC DOS drivers. 

Open the Ghost Boot Wizard, select the Network Boot Disk, find your NIC in the list, select Modify, and Browse to the new .DOS file. That’s generally all there is to it. You can also copy the .DOS file directly to the Templates folder listed above.

This is all well and good, but what you really need to do is the following:

  • Download the new Broadcom NetXtreme DOS drivers from here.
  • Launch the “Symantec Ghost Boot Wizard and select “Network Boot Disk”
  • Scroll down to Broadcom NetXtreme Family vX.X
  • Click “Modify” on the side
  • Next to “Filename” click “Browse” and navigate to the new b57.dos file and click “Open”
  • Exit out, and launch the “Ghost Console”

Now we have to update the “Driver Configuration Template” for the target machine.

  • Find the machine you wish to gather and double click on it
  • Click on the “Client” tab
  • Check “Use Manually Selected Template:”
  • Click “Browse” and select the newly updated driver template

The machine should now work normally when you go to gather the image using the Ghost Console.