GhostCasting to a laptop that booted from a USB Drive


We use Ghost a lot here on our campus. We aren't big enough to warrant the entire Symantec Ghost implementation, but we do use the multi-casting or ghost-casting capabilities all the time.

This is the basic process that you follow for a typical implementation:

  1. Build a computer exactly the way you want it

  2. Using the boot wizard utility, create a set of network boot disks (floppies)
    that will work for the network card in the machine

  3. Start the Ghostcasting session

    1. name the session

    2. select that you are creating an image

    3. name the image

    4. accept clients

  4. Boot the client machine using the boot disks you created in step 2

  5. Select "multicasting" from the menu

  6. Type in the session name and start creating the image

To copy an image onto another machine (hardware must be identical) you do everything the same, but in the GhostCast server, you restore the image and you can connect many more clients (as many as your switch will handle)

But what if your machines, (in my case TabletPCs) don't have floppy drives? How do you boot to the program and get the NIC drivers loaded?

After much searching on the Internet and trial and error, this is what I figured
out. I'm going to outline my steps, then go into great detail on each one.


  1. Make a USB drive DOS bootable

  2. Get the correct network drivers (must be DOS) to load

  3. Get Ghost to run after the drivers load

  4. Connect to the multi-cast session and then proceed as usual

Step 1 Details

Download and install the utility "HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool" I got it from here:;7241778;/fileinfo.html

Get the directions on how to use it here:

Follow these directions to the T. You will need to create a MS-DOS boot disk, then use that boot disk w/ the program to format your USB drive. The word document gives step by step directions w/ screen shoots, so I won't re-create them here. Just follow the directions.

Step 2 Details:

Find and download the DOS drivers for your particular network card. This can be a real pain. I usually have more luck going to the card manufacture's website
than the maker of the computer/laptop. Make sure you get the NDIS2 drivers.
If they provide a oemsetup.ini file you are set. If not, you may have to make
some manual edits later.

Get those drivers to your Ghost server and start the Ghost Boot Wizard program.
Create a new template (if your drivers aren't on there--most likely they aren't)and follow the directions. If you have the oemsetup.ini file, just navigate to it and it will put in all the correct parameters. Proceed to create the template and then create the two disk floppy set. You need both of these disks because you are going to copy them onto your newly created bootable USB drive.

Copy all of the contents of both disks onto your USB drive. DO NOT replace the existing files that are on the USB drive with the files from the floppy. This will make the USB not bootable which defeats the whole purpose. \

Now you have to edit two files so the computer doesn't think it is booting from a two disk floppy set.

First, edit the config.sys file so it looks like this:



DEVICE=\net\protman.dos /I:\net




Your driver details will be somewhat different. This is for a Intel Pro1000 card. But delete out all that extra crap about booting from floppies or cds, and all that other nonsense. SAVE THE FILE

Now you need edit (right click and pick edit) the Autoexec.bat file so it looks like this and SAVE THE FILE:

@echo off

SET TZ=GHO+07:00

prompt $p$g



cd \ghost


goto END


echo Unknown boot menu selection

goto END


Now take your USB drive to your machine and boot to the drive. You may need to fiddle with the boot sequence in your bios.

If the driver fails to load, take note of the error message because it will point you in the direction you need to investigate. When I created my first one, I didn't have the devicename correct (see line 5 of the config.sys file) because I didn't have the oemsetup.ini file when I created the boot disk in the Ghost boot disk wizard.

Step 3 Details

If you edited the autoexec.bat and the config.sys files correctly, your machine should boot from the USB drive, load the NIC drivers, then launch ghost.exe. If your drivers do not load correctly, ghost.exe will still load, but you will not have the multicasting options, they will be grayed out.

Step 4 Details

If you can get an IP address (either via DHCP or manually configured when you created the boot floppies) and connect to your session, you are golden! Happy ghosting.


This is worth taking the time to figure out. Once you do it once, it is easy to replicate on a bunch of USB drives and you will cut down your load time on any machine because you don't have to change the floppies before the program loads. I created a master USB drive for each machine. Then I just have a bank of other USB drives that I just delete all the stuff off and copy the master to. I don't have to reformat the drive using the utility (see Step 1), every
time. I just copy everything over from the master to the individual drives in the bank. What I'm trying to say, is you don't have to have a complete set of USB drives for each NIC you have. You can just create a master copy on one and reuse 10 or 20 USB drives by just copying the files from the master.

Thanks to the following web sites for helping me figure this out:


Christopher said...

This has been a fantastic help. I had been given the task of using a usb drive to restore Ghost images.

Thanks Chris

Guzzi sager said...

Very informative and well written post! Quite interesting and nice topic chosen for the post.

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