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Symantec Ghost, PXE, TFTP and wasting my time  February 10th, 2009

So it finally came time to get my system imaging environment up and running at my Portland office as I have a new Dell Latitude E6400 to deploy. I figured I would need to do a little set up to get this going but I didn’t plan on it taking so much time.

Initially, I was going to use the simple method of booting clients with BartPE then use Ghost to read the image off an external USB hard disk. This option ran aground when, for some reason, I could get BartPE to see the internal disk but not the external disk. After a few hours, I decided that instead of beating my head against that wall any longer and I would move on with trying to use BartPE to boot the system and retrieve the image via GhostCast. I’ll re-visit the USB option later.

While I’m fairly confident the BartPE/network option would have worked, I goofed my first attempt and burned the mistake onto my last CD-R. Sigh. This is taking *way too long*. OK, fine, I’ll move onto the fancy PXE/TFTP/GhostCast option even though it seems like overkill for the amount of imaging I’ll need to deal with.

And we’re off! I deployed a Windows Server 2003 VM, installed Symantec Ghost Solution Suite 2.5, installed the 3Com Boot Services and began learning how to use these pieces. After fumbling for a little bit I found some nicely laid out instructions from Symantec that got me going pretty well. They are located here:…

That document laid all the pieces out in order and I thought I was home free but I continued to have problems with the client not downloading the boot image. Patience is inversely related to frustration.

I proceeded to ask co-workers for help and dig around the internet and was making baby steps in the right direction when I finally came across this article:…

In short, it states that the 3Com TFTP server that is included as part of the Symantec Ghost Solutions Suite has some known problem when working with the 3Com PXE server also included with the Ghost Suite. What is Symantec’s workaround? Why, use someone else’s free TFTP server, of course! AARRGGHH!!!

Off to SolarWinds I went to get the TFTP server which did, in fact, remedy the problem. From there it was just a matter of updating the WinPE images with the necessary network driver and now I’m happy to report that I have successfully applied the image and am working on final deployment steps.

Repairing a corrupt WMI repository  February 10th, 2009

I ran across a broken SMS client today and when trying to run the client cleaner and client installer I received an error suggesting there was an invalid WMI namespace. After a little research I located <a href=””>an article</a> which described my problem pretty well and also linked to a Microsoft KB article with additional description of the problem. Both articles gave instructions for checking the WMI consistency and repairing it. In my case, I was working with a Windows XP Pro SP2 system so I simply needed to run the following command:

rundll32 wbemupgd, UpgradeRepository

This command is a one-step operation for detecting and repairing WMI problems. The Windows 2003 steps are a little different.