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How to Create an Image of Windows Server 2008 using Norton Ghost

Ever since the introduction of WDS services in Windows Server 2003 R2 SP1, creating images for deployment on the Windows platform is extremely easy and straightforward. In the past, I have managed to create clusters of machines (about 52) in one afternoon by automating the whole process with a single WDS server (without multicast, mind you). We can all agree that WDS is amazing – but what about those ocasions when you want to image something and you do not want to sysprep the source computer?

In case you are not familiar with the process syspreping a machine: sysprepping a machine is the procedure in which you convert a source machine into a generic one, stripping away all SSIDs so that on next boot, it will have a new ‘soul’, so to speak. This is a must if you plan to deploy images that will be used in an active directory environment, else you are in for a treat when your DC starts seeing all these machines that have the same properties.

Anyhow, in order to use WDS to create an image, the source machine needs to be syspreped – period, there is (AFAIK) no way around this. So if you have a perfect demo and you want to have an image in case you need to restore – what can you do? You obviously do not want to sysprep a demo machine, who knows what might happen.

You can always use Ghost, like I did. You create the image, restore the image and…

The selected entry point could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

Whoa…not quite what you were expecting, huh? The problem is that (I think) some of the boot partition is lost during the restore. Repairing with Windows Server 2008 will take you nowhere, trust me.

After looking all over, I decided to give the Windows Vista Repair Disk a try. After booting from the DVD, Vista said that something was wrong with the disk. It then asked me if I wanted to repair, which I said “Yes. Please. Thank You”. After rebooting the machine, I saw the Windows loading green progress bar and everything was back to normal.

Where do you get this magical Windows Vista Repair Disk, you ask? I found them posted on the Neosmart Files web page, it’s a legit torrent download. AFAIK, the download is legit and does not break copyright laws, please let me know if I am wrong.

Let me know if this works for you, I have searched all over and never found a site that documented how to get this working.

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22 Responses to “How to Create an Image of Windows Server 2008 using Norton Ghost”

  1. Mahmoud Says:

    It’s legit :)

  2. csaborio Says:

    Thanks Mahmoud! ;)

  3. DS Says:

    I had the same problem. Windows Vista or Server 2008 install CD’s wouldn’t do anything useful and didn’t have the Vista Repair Disk.

    I deleted the existing partition with gdisk, created a new NTFS partition with vista 1MB spacing, then overwrote the whole thing with the (previously failing) Ghost 11.0.2 image. My impression is that something in the MBR or MFT was not clearing properly, but after these other measures (probably not all necessary) the image copy completed.

  4. duderde Says:

    Hi,
    I got a short question about this. I tried installing Norton Ghost 14 on my Server 2008 system and it tells me my OS is not supported.
    Which version of ghost are you using with Server 2008?
    THX

  5. csaborio Says:

    Duderde:

    I used Ghost with BartPe to create the images. It’s the old old Ghost version 7.5 (http://www.systematic.com.hk/images/bar/course/hardware/rj_symantec_ghost_7_5.png)

  6. Rick Franz Says:

    I found this site researching ghost options before trying to do same with W2K8 and came accross this site. You can image any Windows system as long as you change the SID on the target machine (use NewSID to change the PC name and SID before you join the domain with your copy PC). The ERROR you’re getting looks like the same one you get when you try to use Ghost on Vista. you can make the image – you can put the image on a new idenical hardware PC – but when you try to boot the PC, the o/s recognizes what you’re doing and crashes with the above error. You can of course fix it using Windows Repair but that takes so much time – might as well have installed the o/s normally then. BUT THERE IS A FIX – for VISTA – seeing you got exactly the same error VISTA gives on first boot of your imaged PC, I feel confident my fix for VISTA will work on W2K8. you MUST run a little script on the ‘master’ machine *before* you make your image file. then make your ghost image. that image file will now work as you expect with ghost. as the first post here noted you must of course change the PC name and SID. NewSID does this perfectly. Put the following lines into a text file called Fix4Ghosting.cmd (whatever -as long as it’s a cmd file) then run the script. you can now make and use a ghost image from this build!!! I’ll test this on W2k8 and post again.

    REM – THIS IS NEEDED TO GHOST VISTA (and W2k8?)
    BCDEDIT /set {bootmgr} device boot
    BCDEDIT /set {default} device boot
    BCDEDIT /set {default} osdevice boot
    pause

  7. csaborio Says:

    @Rick:

    Thanks for your post, I will try it out and see how it goes.

    I really hope this works, it really would be a breeze compared to the repair approach – will give it a shot with 2008.

    Cheers!

  8. kd Says:

    Tried Rick’s script with Windows Server 2008 R2 and didn’t work.. :(
    I got the same error while booting after image restore.

  9. csaborio Says:

    @kd:

    Sorry to hear that. I wanted to test it on a VM using Hyper-V, but I only have a remote connection to the machine and when I RDC I can’t use the mouse/keyboard in Bart PE.

    I’ll have to test it on another machine, will let you know how it goes…

  10. csaborio Says:

    @kd:

    Quick question – did you change the PC name and generate a new SID before creating the image?

  11. kd Says:

    @csaborio:

    No, I didn’t. I thought I should do that after doing the image..

    During the week I’ll try ghosting Windows Server 2008.

  12. JW Says:

    I ran the 64 bit vista repair disc on a server that we were trying to image…fixed it right up…

  13. Steve Says:

    I am unable to install GPMC in order to affect the SID. Do you have any ideas on how to trouble shoot this issue? Thanks.

  14. csaborio Says:

    @Steve:

    Try this one to regenerate the SIDs:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897418.aspx

  15. Steve Says:

    I tried what Rick suggested and to no avail.

    “you MUST run a little script on the ‘master’ machine *before* you make your image file. then make your ghost image. that image file will now work as you expect with ghost. as the first post here noted you must of course change the PC name and SID. NewSID does this perfectly. Put the following lines into a text file called Fix4Ghosting.cmd (whatever -as long as it’s a cmd file) then run the script. you can now make and use a ghost image from this build!!! I’ll test this on W2k8 and post again”.

  16. lynskyrd Says:

    saved my ass- thank you

  17. csaborio Says:

    Awesome! Comments like this make it worthwhile, and I am not joking. Cheers!

  18. Jim Says:

    The problem is the BCD. go to this site and follow the instructions:
    http://windowsboot.technolords.com/2010/01/windows-72008vista-windows-boot-failed.html

  19. csaborio Says:

    Thanks Jim!

  20. sternac58 Says:

    Got the exact same problem after ghosting a Server 2008 x64 SP2 image using Ghost 11.5.

    Has anyone been able to find the tool elswhere? We can’t find it anywhere and we can’t use torrent.

  21. Yusuf Says:

    Found a better solution
    Pop the win 2008 cd in
    boot up. Select repair.
    goto commend prompt.
    there should be a source files/repair folder

    Run the StartRep.exe command in the list.

    That should do a basic repair to the OS.

  22. BumbelBee Says:

    I just cloned my win server 2008 with Norton Ghost v11.0.0.1502, in a real “clumsy” way really.. took the hdd out, put it in a hdd case and hooked it up too a winxp comp.. cloned the hdd, then putted a new hdd in the case and sent the image til the new hdd in the case.. then I just put the new hdd with the cloned image on, in the server and booted.. worked like a charm to my supprise.. no errors or nothing yet.. :)

    sorry for my bad english..