Novell is now a part of Micro Focus

Ghostbusters Part 5

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Gov Maharaj

Digg This - Slashdot This

Posted: 18 Aug 1999

Current version: ZENworks 2

Here's another idea about machine re-imaging from a cool reader. Gov Maharaj, a network consultant in Alberta, Canada, sends this very creative solution for people who have a computer lab where they need to Ghost multiple machines, and don't want to rework the machine-specific information after every Ghosting. This is the fifth Ghostbusting solution we've received so far. Check them all out...

Additional Questions

Check to see if you might know the answer, or have a suggestion for these.

Ok, here's a tip that may help those of you in a lab situation where you need to Ghost multiple machines, but don't want to change machine specific info after every Ghosting.

This is an alternative to using Flashclone (a very expensive product).

Here's my situation. I have a lab of 30 machines all needing to be identical in every way yet still be unique.

They are all running Win95 with MSTCP/IP enabled, DNS enabled, and different machine and host names. After you Ghost a machine, it has the wrong information for the machine's host name, machine name, and DNS settings. For example, let's say machine "N1" has to be ghosted. The new target machine is called "Ghost," not the name you want. I have come up with a way to help fix this problem.

First of all create a perfect machine with all of the applications on it. Name it "Ghost" for all machine specific names like machine name, DNS name, etc. Then, ghost this image to an image file or another HD. If you do it to an image file, then you could record it on CD and make it bootable (for those systems that can handle it).

Now with the original HD, rename the settings to what you want and connect to the network. On my network, I have DHCP with dynamic addresses, but I have a 10000-day lease on it, therefore a machine will always pick up the same address without having one actually assigned as static.

Now, apply the image file to all of your workstations one at a time and configure the settings as above (don't worry, this will be the only time you have to do this). This is so that the DHCP server can write the MAC address into its tables. Now that the server knows your workstations, here comes the fun part.

Create a user Ghost (or whatever) in order to do the imaging process. Now go into the registry and export the key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Vxd\MSTCP and use that to configure your DNS, nameserver, and hostname for each individual machine. Therefore, you now have 30 different reg files. But wait there's more.

Also export the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\VNETSUP and edit the fields that you want there. So in total you have 60 reg files.

You can combine the two reg files into one per station to make life easier.

Remember that "Ghost" user you set up before? Well here's where he comes in handy.

Create a login script that has a drive mapped to the network location where the reg files are stored. Also, have a copy of regedit on that drive. Make sure that the user has rights there.

Now previously with the DHCP stuff you should have recorded the MAC addresses of each machine. If not, do so now.

Create a script that basically says:

if P_STATION = "1234567890" then

#X:\regedit.exe /s 1234567890.reg

if P_STATION = "1234567891" then

#X:\regedit.exe /s 1234567891.reg

if P_STATION = "1234567892" then

#X:\regedit.exe /s 1234567892.reg




(Use the # instead of the @ symbol to pause the login script while the import takes place).

This way, it goes through all of the MAC addresses and checks to see which one the machine has and applies the correct reg file.

Then you simply reboot and login (as another user) and continue as usual. In the beginning it can be slow, but you have to visit each workstation anyway.

And, if you add a new station, you simply update the reg files and login script.

This has saved a ton of work where you have people who are not very technical, but still have classes in the lab. All they have to do is pop in a CD (that is bootable), wait for the reboot, log in as Ghost, then reboot and all is well.

With a fast CDROM, the whole process takes under 5 minutes, and you have a fully working machine again.

I hope this helps others and thank God for Novell.

About the Author

I live up in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, and I am a self-taught network consultant. I've worked with Novell for about 5 years right from Personal NetWare 1.0 to NetWare 5 and everything in between. I have also worked with UNIX for a cumulative time of about 2 years (10 years off and on). I also unfortunately have to work with NT (yuck) but I deal with it by using NDS for NT :) I've never taken a course in my life, but I've challenged the exams and I am equivalent to an MCNE and CNI. I know that many companies are going to NT, especially new ones, but whenever I am called in on a job I always highly recommend Novell, for its ease of management and lower TCO, and just plain better performance on a lower end machine (better bang for your buck). I am currently working for a school district here in Sherwood Park, basically redesigning their tree (30+ servers) and designing ZEN for the admin side and student side. However, this is only part time work. I am also in university studying for my medical doctorate in pediatrics.

I don't think I can ever convey my deep appreciation for the hard work Novell puts into its products, because there are hardly any serious problems from the package version. Your service packs are real, not just patched code you missed in the shipping version. You guys actually listen to your customers and quickly fix or put in the features requested.


This is the fifth in a series of outstanding Community contributions about machine re-imaging. Here they all are, in case you missed them.

#1 -- Using an Application Object to Re-image a PC. From Henry Snyder, (Germany). This is the one that started the whole discussion.

#2 -- Ghostbusters Part 2 From Ben C.,(Australia). He suggests you store the ghost image on a local hard drive, which you've cleverly partitioned for this purpose.

#3 -- Ghostbusters Part III From Joop and Remon, (Netherlands). They like to use Symantec's Ghost Multicast Server, and tell you how it works like a charm for them.

#4 -- Ghostbusters Part 4. From Doug B.,(USA). He creates several different baseline ghost images, and lets people mix and match his baseline images and snAppShots to get the combination they need.

#5 -- Ghostbusters Part 5. Gov Maharaj (Canada), shows you how to set things up so all your users have to do is pop in a CD (that is bootable), wait for the reboot, log in as Ghost, then reboot, to get their machine re-imaged.

Additional Questions

If you have any ideas, fire away.

  • Q: Robert Nelson wrote: I am deploying workstations in clean rooms and do not wish to get gowned up every time the users change settings and mess up the systems. All the systems in these areas are exactly the same type and model of machine. I have loaded NT 4.0 on these systems and used ZEN 1.1 to lock down the stations. I also changed the rights to the directories so that only the administrator has FULL rights and the Everyone group has only RX. I had to change rights on specific files and directories to make all our applications work correctly, but that is not my issue.

    My goal is to use Ghost's ability to distribute a new image of this setup to the workstations in the clean areas if they somehow get messed up. I tell Ghost to run the Ghostwalker program to change the SID and computer name using an option to generate an new name. When the user logs in, it requires him to go to the Windows NT tab in the Novell 4.71 client and change to the new computer name. Since this user has restricted rights, the name is not changed in the registry in two places and each time the user tries to login, he is requested to select the new computer name. (Error is a domain controller cannot be found. We do not use NT servers; this is a MS generic error message).

    I am wondering what rights the user has to have to change these two registry entries so the computer name reflects the new name. The new name is listed in other places in the registry but not these two. They are: HKLM\Software\Novell\Location Profiles\{1E6CCEEA-EB73-11CF-....\Default\Tab3\DefaultDomainName and HKLM\Software\Novell\Workstation Manager\Identification\RegistrationObject

    Hope someone can help.

    Novell Cool Solutions (corporate web communities) are produced by WebWise Solutions.

  • © Copyright Micro Focus or one of its affiliates