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.