Ghost - pros and cons
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Thread: Ghost - pros and cons

  1. #1
    Registered User cisco2's Avatar
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    Ghost - pros and cons

    I've always had a mild distrust of the program Ghost. Consequently I've never used it. I've always had the impression it has its uses but it also poses problems. Using an image to make clones of PCs could certainly save time however.

    I've always harbored the thought that cloning might create problems if the hardware you're cloning to is not identical. Also I seem to recall some problems back in the day (NT4) with ghosting a machine that had already joined the domain, you wound up making PCs that had an identical CID on the domain. There are other issues I've heard of where information points to data that resides on one physical location on the ghost image hard drive doesn't have the same physical address on the new hard drive, etc...

    I think I'm just being a stick in the mud though, the first few people I heard touting Ghost were mostly techie wannabes with more mouth than ability so I lumped my impression of ghost in with my impression of them.

    Anybody use it much? is it the best thing since sliced bread? Are there any real issues people have commonly had to deal with when ghosting many clones for a big rollout?
    If it's true that wherever you go, there you are: how come so many people look lost?

  2. #2
    Tech-To-Tech Mod kato2274's Avatar
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    I use it A Lot and love it.

    I never used it with NT - mainly because I've never used NT

    but for all other OSes I like it very much. With win2k and XP, you can use sysprep in conjuction with ghost. after ghosting the pc and firing it up, it will walk you through a little mini setup and generate a new CID, computer name, the whole deal.

    It does indeed work best with identical hardware but in the corporate world that is best pratice anyway . . . . buy from one company and buy lots of identical models. makes troubleshooting and deploying exponentially easier. so we have one drive here at work on the network that keeps our 10-20 ghost images and when a computer goes down, or needs reimaged, the appropriate ghost image is reloaded. no problem.

    I have used ghost in conjuction with 98 on non identical systems by deleting the enum key before taking the image. after loading it and restarting the pc, 98 finds all the new hardware and I install any drivers I need. It works pretty well, but lately I've been playing with preinstall procedures for 98 and like that equally as much.


    I use it as a backup type device too. On builds I partition the drive into c: d: and e: c: holds OS and apps. d: holds my documents mp3s favorites OE store etc e: is hidden and contains the ghost image of the system when it left my hands. I give the users a floppy disk with a batch file to reload the image with NO user intervention other than to hit a button when asked if they are sure they want to re-image the pc. saves me a ton of troubleshooting. doesn't lose their data favorites or email. it's a beautiful system. ghost is good software, but to use it well you have to have an understanding of both ghost and the system you are deploying as well as your enviroment. If you do, ghost will work great for you, if you don't then it won't.
    Nonsense prevails, modesty fails
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  3. #3
    Registered User PuterGeekGirl's Avatar
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    Like Kato we here at work also use Ghost with Sysprep...working pretty well so far......we have 3 different types of hardware here so we have images for each....helps alot as Kato stated for troubleshooting purposes and automation...throw SMS into the mix and my reloads and new machines are a breeze....

    **Side note: We used RIS for awhile, I much prefer Ghost.


    And as we speak (or type/read in this case) I am pulling a ghost image back down onto a machine that I just replaced the HDD on.....

    WHAMO...no total reload.... (l)user gets laptop back and knows no different because all the proggies and settings they had previously set are still there....

    Cuts way down on the ?'s and hassle that I have to deal with.
    Last edited by Coaster Creator; June 18th, 2003 at 12:24 PM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User +Daemon+'s Avatar
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    I use it every day and I love it

    I ghost windows 3.1, windows 95, 98, nt 4, 2k, winxp, linux, windows server (nt/2k)

    I can ghost one system to another system with different hardware specs no problem..

    Sure Ill have to reinstall windows sometimes (nt4 is good not blue screening so I can just go in and install the drivers I need)

    It does not matter if the hardware is different, just ghost it. I could care less if the hardware is different, the one thing im looking for is the software and its files...

    so rebuilding windows is nothing and its fast. Also installing a driver for some hardware that didnít have a driver from the image is not hard...

    I sue the corporate edition of ghost, so I can ghost systems over the network on to our storage server
    Last edited by +Daemon+; June 18th, 2003 at 01:42 PM.

  5. #5
    Registered User thirdfey's Avatar
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    Back in the NT days you would use the program ghostwalker to change the SID on the computers. Ghost is an awesome program for saving time. Another program recently reviewed by MaximumPC is by Paragon called Drive Backup 6.0 which will allow you to image partitions other than the "system" partition while the computer is running without requiring a reboot. Ofcourse as this is being done no one can access the partition until you re-enable it. It also has some other cool features that I like. Take a look at it on www.paragon.com they have a working demo also. At work we make a ghost image of a certain computer setup then burn it to a bootable CD. Ofcourse, you only have to boot off that CD once in the wrong computer to make sure you thoroughly label that CD

    I think I am going to switch over to using it for my servers.

    Tony
    I'd rather be riding my motorcycle
    "I gotta have more cowbell, baby" Bruce Dickinson(Christopher Walken)

  6. #6
    Registered User ephmynus's Avatar
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    I've always loved ghost. Many people thinks this is one of the key software programs needed for the IT world but I think it's great for my home use as well. I always keep a ghost image of my PC for backup purposes. The image I have is Win XP pro with all the drivers loaded and all of my always needed software programs (photoshop, winamp etc. etc.) loaded.
    The Artisan formerly known as A+Tech.

  7. #7
    Registered User cisco2's Avatar
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    Sounds like I should hop on the bandwagon. Some good inputs, thanks all.
    If it's true that wherever you go, there you are: how come so many people look lost?

  8. #8
    Registered User Miq's Avatar
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    I'm glad everyone else loves ghost, but I am getting more and more upset with them. We recently upgraded our switchs to cisco 2950's and ghosting basically stopped. It takes anywhere from 5 to 9 hours to send up a ghost image of about 1.5GB and almost 15 hours to pull the image back down to a machine. Symantec seems to not have a clue on what is doing it or how to fix it.


    But thats just me.

  9. #9
    Registered User thirdfey's Avatar
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    Did Cisco have any input on what the problem could be?

    Tony
    I'd rather be riding my motorcycle
    "I gotta have more cowbell, baby" Bruce Dickinson(Christopher Walken)

  10. #10
    Registered User PeLiGrOsO's Avatar
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    to make it nice and simple..
    Norton Ghost 2003 rocks !!
    Assumption is the mother of all fucl< ups

  11. #11
    Registered User The Computer Valet's Avatar
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    Lots of Pro-Ghost comments here.

    Any thoughts on Drive Image?
    Cheers,

    The Computer Valet
    Mike Whalen

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Miq
    I'm glad everyone else loves ghost, but I am getting more and more upset with them. We recently upgraded our switchs to cisco 2950's and ghosting basically stopped. It takes anywhere from 5 to 9 hours to send up a ghost image of about 1.5GB and almost 15 hours to pull the image back down to a machine. Symantec seems to not have a clue on what is doing it or how to fix it.


    But thats just me.
    Sounds like you may have a loopback problem on one or more of you switches. I.e. two or more connections between two switches. You may also want to check the switch docs for setting to allow "multicasting" which is how Ghost loads multiple machines at once. Some switches have a setting called branching or spanning that can affect multicast packets. Turning this on or off may fix the problem.

  13. #13
    Registered User PuterGeekGirl's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Miq
    I'm glad everyone else loves ghost, but I am getting more and more upset with them. We recently upgraded our switchs to cisco 2950's and ghosting basically stopped. It takes anywhere from 5 to 9 hours to send up a ghost image of about 1.5GB and almost 15 hours to pull the image back down to a machine. Symantec seems to not have a clue on what is doing it or how to fix it.

    But thats just me.
    I have that same issue if the NIC isn't locked down...they don't allow autodetect here on the switches so if the NIC isn't locked down on the boot disk there are $hitloads of errors atht ehswitch level...... the images complete, but just take their own sweet time doing so.

    Just a thought for you.....
    Failure is not an option -- its a "feature" of Windows.

    Mama never told me geekhood was gonna be like this....

  14. #14
    Registered User Miq's Avatar
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    Cisco has not called back yet about the problem. On calls to Symantec I have tried locking the card down to a specific speed, tried auto, tried slow and fast speeds, nothing working. They had me create new boot disks with drivers and configs they sent me, added paramater switches that the engineers won't tell me what they do , and just about everything else.

    The switches are set correctly (had our ccie up in atlanta set all that stuff up). We have tried ghosting with spanning both on and off with no results. We have also turned on (I am pretty sure this is the right acronym) igmp on all switches.



    As for Drive Image, I use it on one machine here on campus and so far it works great. It hasn't been tried for a large multi-machine rollout but it seems to work fairly well.


    Miq

  15. #15
    Most Greaterlyist King Grover's Avatar
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    I use ghost almost every day. Ghost is the shizznit, yo! Backing up systems, reloading systems, you name itm Ghost kicks bootay, G!

    just make sure you are ghosting teh right way. You don't wanna wipe out a HD that you need to get the data off becuase you were dumb and sent it down instead of Up. (people here do that once in a while)
    It's good to be the King.

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