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How to setup automated weekly ghost of running os (Read 31220 times)
Peach
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How to setup automated weekly ghost of running os
Aug 22nd, 2006 at 11:17am
 
I have been a longtime radster (although I just signed up today).  It is rare for me to post as I almost always answer my own questions through research, but alas to find this more than likely simple answer is taking to long and I am chickening out.  Please help.

I run a dozen computers at my office.  As I own them I have absolute authority and can pretty much set policy at will.  I have been ghosting to dvd's for years for backup, but generally when problem arises, the ghost I have is old.  I have nightly automated backup of files (task manager + robocopy = divine) of each computer to a robust server, and the idea was even a 2 mos old ghost saved a day of loading software, should something fail.

Well I am tiring even of that.  I want there to be a weekly ghost of everyone’s computer in the middle of the night.  All computers are always left running with all apps closed anyway (company policy Smiley) and pretty much I'd like it to be they don't even know anything happened as screen saver logs them out anyway.

I figured a batch file run from task manager was simplest way to do this.  Right now I backup across the network, but it appears that may be a bit challenging via batch file (all the network settings to map the drive etc.)  so I am thinking of adding a hard drive to each computer with ghost.exe on it and where the .gho files will reside, only to be "backed up" to the server the next day through another automated task.

Okay, so how do run a dos command that tells windows xp to reboot and run program on a particular partition?  Or is there an easier way to accomplish my end goal?

Thanks!
 

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Re: Hlp2 setup automated weekly ghost of running o
Reply #1 - Aug 22nd, 2006 at 3:28pm
 
hi scott. let's see what you have here. have to run out but will be back.

i will move you over to the other forum. more traffic (eyes) there.

why is that the best illusion ever?

we are talking about ghost v2003?
 
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Peach
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Re: Hlp2 setup automated weekly ghost of running o
Reply #2 - Aug 22nd, 2006 at 3:52pm
 
Thanks for the move (and bump).

Why is it the best?  Go to http://www.architectsassociates.net/scottpeach/miscpics/illusion4.jpg and study hard.  My brain is convinced the claim is wrong.  (until I use paint shop to provie myself wrong: http://www.architectsassociates.net/scottpeach/miscpics/illusionproof.jpg .

Yes I am using ghost 2003 (never saw a good reason to use anything else).

Really what I need is some program that can be started/switched on the command line that reboots to dos and initatiates a given batch file.
 

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Pleonasm
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Re: Hlp2 setup automated weekly ghost of running o
Reply #3 - Aug 22nd, 2006 at 5:47pm
 
Peach, you may wish to investigate the use of Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery which is based on the newer "Ghost 10" technology.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Re: Hlp2 setup automated weekly ghost of running o
Reply #4 - Aug 22nd, 2006 at 11:16pm
 
okay, i see what you are trying to do.

first, that optical illusion is .. like you say, unbelievable, until you sample the colors (i used photoshop). still hard to believe (my mind says "no way, can't be").

regarding your endeavor, yeah, (like pleo says) ghost 10 is certainly gonna be easier, since that's what's it made to do.

i have no experience w/ ghost 10, but many here do.

but, come to think of it, it sounds like something that shouldn't be very uncommon.

if you drop in a 2nd hard drive into each machine, that removes the network config from the equation, and will make things easier.

i have already shot an email to dan goodall, to see if he has experience in this area, and will do the same the same with nightowl. magoo might also have some insight, or someone who does.

i'm sure someone has been down this road before. we just need to find who.

sounds like something that would go good in the guide.

my batch file page is here:

http://ghost.radified.com/automated_batch.htm

altho this is not my area of expertise. others provided all info.

how's things down in mobile? just saw spike lee's hbo documentary on katrina this eve (1st part). amazing devastation. more this year?

http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=bondsNews&storyID=2006-...

you are right there:

http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/state/alabama.html

zelda & aidan? happy & healthy?
 
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Brian
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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #5 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 12:07am
 
Pleonasm, I had a look at that website.

Quote:
Dissimilar Hardware Restoration combines hot imaging with the ability to restore to different hardware platforms including different storage controllers and hardware abstraction layers on the fly. Dissimilar hardware restoration reduces recovery times and saves significant hardware investments by eliminating the need to recover systems to the identical hardware platform where recovery points were created.


At $69 it looks better value than Ghost 10. I tried to download a Trialware program but Symantec wanted more personal information than I was prepared to give.
 
 
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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #6 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 3:11am
 
Hmmm, my experience is mostly Linux lately, and I could tell you how to get it done, but you already said they are XP machines...

There are programs that I have used that can shutdown and reboot a computer.  Getting the computer to run a Ghost batch on the way back up is the trickiest part.  I'm not the expert, but I think the batch file itself is doable.

You could use a bootloader, like GRUB, to manage booting the computer from Windows and the Ghost environment.  You would just have to figure out how to pass an option to GRUB.

Ahh, it just came to me.  There is an option in the GRUB conifguration file that sets which option it should boot by default.  You could set up a batch file that runs in Windows to change the GRUB configuration to default to your Ghost boot and then reboot the computer.  On reboot, the computer would boot to the Ghost environment and run your batch file.  Then, you just change the default back and reboot the computer when your Ghost batch is finished, causing the computer to boot back into Windows.

I've left you with a lot of details to fill in, but that should get you started.

Here is one of the shutdown programs:
http://www.drivermagician.com/autoshutdown/

And GRUB:
http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/
 
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Dan Goodell
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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #7 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 4:42am
 
Unattended ghosting is not something I've had any interest in, so it's not something I've tried before.  First, I concur with the earlier suggestion that this kind of task is probably something Ghost 10 is better suited for--if nothing else, for the likelihood of better error recovery in the event the process fails somewhere.

But if I were to try to do this with Ghost 2003, I would create a small DOS partition and dualboot.  To illustrate:

Partition-1:  boots DOS; autoexec.bat launches Ghost with all command-line parameters to create the image unattended; autoexec.bat ends with a call to "pqboot /p:2" to reboot into partition-2 when Ghost finishes.

Partition-2:  boots XP; add a scheduled task to call "pqboot32 /p:1" at the appointed time, which will reboot into partition-1.

Pqboot/pqboot32 are utilities that come with Partition Magic.  They are command-line programs (DOS and Win32, respectively) that simply change the active partition and reboot--dualbooting with no boot manager required.

You could script Ghost to image onto a local partition for later transfer, or design it to image straight to a network share.  The fancier you get, the more risk there will be of random failures.

One drawback with these multiple reboot schemes is that there really is no graceful error recovery if something hangs up somewhere.  We're all familiar with that as a weak point when Ghost 2003 is installed in Windows and run from there.  OTOH, the dualboot approach is probably more stable than the Windows-Ghost "virtual partition" trickery.


p.s.: re: illusion . . . okay, I'm impressed!
 
 
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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #8 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 7:17am
 
Brian, concerning Reply #5, I believe that you can't purchase less than 10 licenses for Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop Edition (formerly known as LiveState Recovery), so your cost is $69 x 10 = $690, unfortunately.

Symantec is targeting the product to both the small and medium/large corporate environments (which matches the circumstance of Peach).
 

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Brian
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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #9 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 7:48am
 
Pleonasm, are you sure? You can buy single licenses in Australia.

I did download the trial. I used your name. Well, sort of…

Apparently it won’t work on WinXP Home. The initial GUI resembles Ghost 9 but sub menus are just like Ghost 10 and it uses Ghost 10 terminology. There is no mention of Restore Anywhere in the Help file. I imagine that functionality is on the Recovery CD but I was surprised that there was no documentation.

Overall, it’s almost identical to Ghost 10 without the Files and Folders backup.

 
 
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Peach
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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #10 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 9:24am
 
MrMagoo wrote on Aug 23rd, 2006 at 3:11am:
Ahh, it just came to me.  There is an option in the GRUB conifguration file that sets which option it should boot by default.  You could set up a batch file that runs in Windows to change the GRUB configuration to default to your Ghost boot and then reboot the computer.  On reboot, the computer would boot to the Ghost environment and run your batch file.  Then, you just change the default back and reboot the computer when your Ghost batch is finished, causing the computer to boot back into Windows.

I've left you with a lot of details to fill in, but that should get you started.

Here is one of the shutdown programs:
http://www.drivermagician.com/autoshutdown/

And GRUB:
http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/


Brilliant.  I like this option, and will work on it (hopefully I'll get some time to day).

Three comments I would be interested in everybodys feedback on:

1) I don't trust windows, nor any software that runs in it to the degree I have confidence in Ghost 2003 (running in DOS).  As much as Ghost 10 sounds like it does and is meant to do what I am looking for, it *seems* from the posts and reviews I have read thus far it is at best almost as reliable as ghost 2003.  Pardon the analogy, that's like trading up a race car for a slower one because it has a bigger engine.  I use ghost for reliability

2) Given 1, I wanted to go the route as discussed in this thread, and with GRUB I might be able to, but I am not one for re-inventing the wheel.  If there is another way to do this as reliably I am game.

3) The one gripe I have about Ghost is when I upgrade computers, I am basically sunk.  I used tot upgrade a lot, and I solved this frequent problem by creating a slipstreamed automated windows install.  Does anyone have any experience with the Dissimilar Hardware Restoration feature of Symantecs backup exec?   Although I might not generally back up this way, this has obvious benefits during upgrades.


Quote:
first, that optical illusion is .. like you say, unbelievable, until you sample the colors (i used photoshop). still hard to believe (my mind says "no way, can't be").

regarding your endeavor, yeah, (like pleo says) ghost 10 is certainly gonna be easier, since that's what's it made to do.

i have no experience w/ ghost 10, but many here do.

but, come to think of it, it sounds like something that shouldn't be very uncommon. 

if you drop in a 2nd hard drive into each machine, that removes the network config from the equation, and will make things easier. 

i have already shot an email to dan goodall, to see if he has experience in this area, and will do the same the same with nightowl. magoo might also have some insight, or someone who does.

i'm sure someone has been down this road before. we just need to find who.

sounds like something that would go good in the guide.

my batch file page is here:

http://ghost.radified.com/automated_batch.htm

altho this is not my area of expertise. others provided all info.

how's things down in mobile? just saw spike lee's hbo documentary on katrina this eve (1st part). amazing devastation. more this year? 

http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=bondsNews&s toryID=2006-08-22T120043Z_01_N18410596_RTRIDST_0_WEATHER-HURRICANES-NIGHTMARE-GE
NERAL-FEATURE.XML

you are right there:

http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/state/alabama.html

zelda & aidan? happy & healthy?

(about the illusion) yes - my father (generally considered quite intelligent) nearly got to blows with me arguing that it was wrong.  When I toggle the pages, I swear the B spot changes color.  Freaky.  Here's another great illusion - stare at the dot and move your head towards and away from the screen.  I like it because I can envision building a tunnel with the bricks set up like that at the top.  It would freak everyone out driving in the tunnel - The Bricks are moving!! http://architectsassociates.net/scottpeach/miscpics/moving%20rings.jpg

several illusions: http://architectsassociates.net/scottpeach/miscpics/

(about family/kids) We are doing great.  We just bought a new house in a great subdivision with lots of kids and neighborhood facilities like pool, tennis etc.  We are very content here.  My Daughter started school this week, as in started for the first time in her life.  My wife (who stayed at home with her thus far) misses her terribly.  I'm loving that my family is actually moving to a daily schedule similar to mine!

(about Katrina/docs etc.)  I actually don't have my sat up yet so instead of TV I have been playing a lot of Xbox.  I am not a fan of Lee's politics, and given the ilk who was at least promoted during commercials I'd suggest we should be careful to recognize this as using history to provide entertainment, and not an historical account.

To make an analogy: (and for the purposes of it you will have to place yourself in pre xp sp2 days) Imagine someone who has never had their computer crash, never had a virus, never been given spam even.  Ok, so how up are they on ant--spamming software? (none) Do they keep their AV software up to date?  Do they even have it? (probably not) What kind of back up do they have? (none)  Can we say Carrie's notebook from Sex and the City?  Suddenly they're spammed with a virus that crashed their computer and wiped the hard drive.  This person is blaming anyone and everyone for everything.

[rant]Look shit happens. As much as prudent intelligent people tried to prepare, it did not save the wrecking of Pass Christian, Bayou la Batre (Forrest Gump anyone), Biloxi, Gulfport, or Ocean Springs.  For example: do not have a home below the flood plane (which below sea level is obviously well below).  Remove all tall pine trees (the ones most likely to fall and cause damage) from near the home.  Have plywood prepared to cover the windows. Leave when a cat 3 or stronger is potentially going to hit in a less than 40 hours.

Most of those houses (not sure if this is well publicized or not) were built above the flood plane, and most all of those communities did evacuate.  These fairly understood and normal practices cannot be said of New Orleans.

Do I think the overall the people who were in NO the day of the Hurricane are pretty dumb, Yes.  Do I think that's to be expected and the LOCAL government should have been instrumental in preventing that catastrophe.  Yes.  Given the importance of this task, should have the STATE government taken steps to ensure the blind were not leading the blind into certain death. Yes.

Please understand, it is the coastal consensus that NO and Louisiana have the two most corrupt and inept governments of any we know, and that was a common belief before the Hurricane.  How is it that it is just understood and accepted that you can walk down a street (Bourbon obviously) and anything goes as long as you don't hurt someone else doing it, and you walk one block off that street it is just accepted that you will likely be mugged, raped and or killed.

As far as the federal government?  Sure they screwed up, but it is like the computer analogy.  They just never really thought it would happen to them, and even as it was happening it was like, "What, I'm supposed to have predicted this??"

And the answer is yes.  When you have a significant portion of your population, police, and government that is blatantly corrupt, it is fore gone conclusion that should a disaster occur, they won't know their ass from their elbows.  [/rant]
 

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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #11 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 9:58am
 
Peach wrote on Aug 23rd, 2006 at 9:24am:
"... Do I think the overall the people who were in NO the day of the Hurricane are pretty dumb, Yes..."

Many issues pertaining to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath will never see the "light-of-day" in the MainStreamMedia.  One such issue is the significant number of people in the City of New Orleans (but not necessarily the surrounding communities) who had the means to evacuate and yet still refused to do. Their motive was knowing with absolute certainty that stay-behind looters would have them cleaned out before the storm ever made landfall.  Evacuation was tantamount to a total forfeit of personal possessions even if the storm passed by and left the Big Easy untouched.

EP
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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #12 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 10:01am
 
Brian, concerning Reply #9, I stand corrected:  you are right – Symantec’s ordering system does now seem to accept a single unit purchase, much to my surprise.  Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I tried to do exactly the same thing a few weeks and every time I entered a quantity of “1” it would automatically be changed to “10”.

Peach, for information on restoring an image to dissimilar hardware, please see this thread.
 

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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #13 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 11:14am
 
El_Pescador wrote on Aug 23rd, 2006 at 9:58am:
Evacuation was tantamount to a total forfeit of personal possessions even if the storm passed by and left the Big Easy untouched.

EP
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Fair statement.  Their are more perspectives to be listened to.  That was a very civil reponse, and I imagine anyone in that situation would be very pressed.  I'm interested in your experience.

While that fact remains, I ponder the questions Why take residence where there is so little trust in the police and community? and If it is so unsafe that your belongings are in peril, what about your person?


Obviosuly easy to say, but there's elements of logic in these qeustions that are difficult for me to ignore.

When I left for Katrina, I was mentally prepared to come home to a slab to either my house here or my condo in Biloxi.  Mostly we took pictures, computers and my fire safe.  I must say, there wasn't much left in Biloxi.

On a last note, I have been through many huriccanes when I was younger and in my early 20's.  They were VERY unpleasant experiences.  At this point with children, just the experience *cough* torture isn't what I like to subject us.  Should there be looters out there?  All the more reason I'd rather be some where else.

It was wrong to generalize that those who were there the day before were dumb, but I do believe they were ignorant about Hurricanes.  (this is not an insult, we are all ignorant of most everything)

Of course, many wouldn't have perceived them as having any other options.  As a city, this is a case where after the fact is not the time to be thinking of how to respond.  The plans and drills should be well rehearsed and pragmatic.


p.s.  Rad - see why I originally posted in High Rad?  lol
 

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Peach
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Re: How to setup automated weekly ghost of running
Reply #14 - Aug 23rd, 2006 at 11:25am
 
Pleonasm wrote on Aug 23rd, 2006 at 10:01am:
Peach, for information on restoring an image to dissimilar hardware, please see this thread.


Back on topic!
thanks for the thread, although I think it was the wrong link.  I read the htread, and it more or less affirmed my xperience so far with ghost.

I'll research the dissimilar stuff later, though.  Thanks again.
 

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