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WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

  • 1.  WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 07, 2013 01:40 PM

    Hello - I am in the process of trying to image a new set of hardware, for which there are no Vista (WinPE 2.0) drivers. I cannot make the new hardware connect to the GSS server at boot, to poll for an image. Is there a way to upgrade the version of WinPE that ghost uses? I have seen and tried the article on Symantec Connect about using a custom WinPE 3.1 image with GSS 2.5.1 and it just didn't work. Ghost boots and once that custom WinPE is loaded, or attempts to load, Ghost crashes as if it did not understand what the PE image was. I am sure I am not the only one here in this situation.


  • 2.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 07, 2013 03:24 PM

    Hi Jason,

    Please try the article mentioned below,which is pretty much straight forward.

    How to build a customized WinPE 3.0 boot image that contains Ghost32.exe and Network Interface Card (NIC) drivers


  • 3.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

  • 4.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 08, 2013 12:04 PM


    Thanks for the solutions, but neither of them worked. I cannot get WinPE to load from a CD/USB key on any computers. The process errors out around a driver iaStor.sys and will not proceed further from there.

    I've only added drivers for the one model of computer I am using to test.

  • 5.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 08, 2013 12:21 PM

    Having not encountered any issues with building bootable media of any kind with both WinPE2 and WinPE3, I am at a loss as to what you might be doing wrong.  My article on building a WinPE 3.1 boot environment (which does not involve any Ghost components) can be found here:

    If you can get this working on your hardware, you can then test candidate drivers using DRVLOAD from the WinPE command line as described here:

    If your machines' bioses have the option to set the hard disk to "compatibility mode" then try that also. This option allows SATA hard disks to emulate the older PATA technology which all versions of windows support natively. If this action allows boot, then the issue is with the SATA drivers you are adding to WinPE.

  • 6.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 08, 2013 02:10 PM

    EdT - Thanks for your feedback. I'll give those suggestions a try and follow-up.

  • 7.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 08, 2013 03:26 PM

    This is what I came up with for Ghost Console. I've been using this with Windows 8 clients successfully for several weeks.

    This is written for WinPE 5.0 (Windows 8.1). It can be used as a outline for 3.0-4.0 but some of the steps will be a little different.


    1. A technician computer running Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2
    2. Download and install Windows ADK for Windows 8.1
    3. Find the boot.wim for winpe-512 in C:\ProgramData\Symantec\Ghost\Template\common\winpe-512\sources.
    4. Extract the contents of boot.wim using a utility like 7zip.
    5. From the 2 directory of the extracted boot.wim, find the ghost folder and startnet.cmd from the Windows/System32 folder. Save these for use in the next section.

    Build PE

    1. On your technician computer, click Start, and type deployment. Right-click Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment and then select Run as administrator.
    2. At the command prompt run the following commands to copy WinPE (x86, not amd64) and mount the boot image.
      • copype x86 C:\WinPE_x86
      • Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:"C:\WinPE_x86\media\sources\boot.wim" /index:1 /MountDir:"C:\WinPE_x86\mount"
    3. Using the files saved in Prereqs step 5 above, copy the following files and folders:
      1. Copy the ghost folder to C:\WinPE_x86\mount
      2. Copy startnet.cmd to C:\WinPE_x86\mount\Windows\System32, overwriting the previous file
    4. From C:\ProgramData\Symantec\Ghost\Template\common\winpe-512 on your GSS Server, copy the ghost and pxe folders to C:\WinPE_x86\media
    5. Add drivers if needed (not likely if using Windows 8.1)
      • Single Driver (recommended)
      • Dism /Add-Driver /Image:"C:\WinPE_x86\mount" /Driver:"C:\GhostDrivers\driver.inf"
      • Multiple Drivers
      • Dism /Add-Driver /Image:"C:\WinPE_x86\mount" /Driver:"C:\GhostDrivers" /Recurse
    6. Save and unmount the PE boot image
      • Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:"C:\WinPE_x86\mount" /commit

    Copy to GSS

    1. On your GSS server, open Symantec Ghost Boot Wizard
    2. Make a copy of WinPE-512 and name it WinPEv50
    3. Select OK until WinPE is copied and then Cancel out of the Wizard.
    4. Find the folder for WinPEv50. On Vista and Server 2008 or later it will be located in C:\ProgramData\Symantec\Ghost\Template\common
    5. Delete everyhing in C:\ProgramData\Symantec\Ghost\Template\common\WinPEv50 except drivers.manifest.txtmanifest.txt, and pci.manifest.txt
    6. Copy everything from C:\WinPE_x86\media on your technician computer to C:\ProgramData\Symantec\Ghost\Template\common\WinPEv50 on your GSS server
    7. Open mainfest.txt and delete the unattend and checkDrivers steps and save (you have have to copy the file to your desktop, edit, save, then copy back to the WinPEv50 folder). The unattend step is the one that fails on Windows 8 clients and shouldn't be needed if your network is DHCP. GSS can't check the drivers in the PE we are creating so we also need to remove this step or tasks will fail.
    8. Select WinPEv50 as the PreOS on a test machine and test.


    Any changes have to be done manually. They cannot be made using the Ghost Boot Wizard.

    Bonus Extra

    You can use the boot.wim from C:\WinPE_x86\media\sources to create a boot image in WDS.

  • 8.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1
    Best Answer

    Posted Nov 10, 2013 04:20 AM

    @BHays - I noticed that your posting was marked "unpublished" so I have released it for general viewing.

    Thank you for your contribution.



  • 9.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 11, 2013 08:37 AM

    Thanks for publishing the question to the larger community. I'll give this excellent procedure a try as soon as I can get a copy of Windows 8.1.

    Thanks again!

  • 10.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 11, 2013 11:49 AM

    I believe the procedure should the same for Windows 8 if you want to give that a try. I use this PE with my Win7 clients now too since it already has all the drivers I need. The only issue I've had was my machines weren't being added to the domain after cloning so I had to do an additional configuration task. If I remember corrrectly, that only happened when I was using WinPE 3.0 (Win 7) and hasn't been an issue since going to WinPE 5.0 (Win 8.1).

    Also, simply removing the unattend step...

            what = unattend,
            path = "{manifest}\\ghost\\unattend.xml"

    from manifest.txt in the GSS WinPE 2.0 PreOS's you are using for Windows 7 should allow them to work on Windows 8 clients.

  • 11.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 11, 2013 11:51 AM

    Thanks EdT. Long time reader, first time publisher!

  • 12.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 11, 2013 04:25 PM

    Yes, Thanks EdT - and thanks BHays for your contribution!


  • 13.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 15, 2013 12:06 PM

    I was able to get through the procedure without any incident, but am unable to pull an image from my test machine. When copying to virtual partition, it says the volume is full then the task fails. I am trying to pull a Windows 8.1 image from my test machine, a Dell Optiplex 980. "Hot imaging" works, but not the traditional reboot and image. Speeds are also dismal at 27MB.

    Thanks again to everyone for their help!


  • 14.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 15, 2013 01:54 PM

    I think this usually happens when the size of the PE PreOS is larger than specifed in your manifest. Look at the manifest.txt file in the PE you are using and compare it to the size of the folder it's in. My PE folder is 176 MB and my manifest size is set at 200.

        name = "WinPEv50",
        type = PEx86,
        size = 200,
        ram = 440,
        bootonce = 1,
    Also, if there are extra language folders in your PE you can delete those.

  • 15.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 18, 2013 08:41 AM

    Awesome That tip worked! Thanks! I can boot a mchine into WinPE, but it just sits there at the wpeutil prompt. Ghost does not start.

  • 16.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 18, 2013 08:59 AM

    Make sure you did Build PE step 3 correctly, startnet.cmd extracted from boot.wim should look like this:

    echo off
    if exist c:\ghost\unattend.xml (
       wpeinit /unattend=c:\ghost\unattend.xml
    ) else if exist x:\ghost\unattend.xml (
       wpeinit /unattend=x:\ghost\unattend.xml
    ) else (
       set path=%path%;x:\ghost
       cd \ghost
       ghost32.exe /setosdrives /blind >> x:\ghost\startlog.txt
       start ghost32.exe
    You can check by mounting again (Build PE step 2.2) and looking in C:\WinPE_x86\mount\Windows\System32

  • 17.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 18, 2013 09:06 AM

    Sorry. I am a bit confused. Is there a way to just edit the start.cmd file without having to go through the whole tutorial again? If I cope a new PE, it will create a new file, no?

  • 18.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 18, 2013 09:09 AM

    I cannot seem to edit the existing file. The "copype x86 C:\WinPE_x86" command will not run. Says "Destination directory exists".


  • 19.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 18, 2013 09:38 AM

    If you didn't delete C:\WinPE_x86 after doing the tutorial the first time then you don't need to recreate it by doing copype again. Just do the second step to mount. If you keep your C:\WinPE_x86 directory you shouldn't have to do the entire tutorial over agian. When you are finished, just find the new boot.wim file in C:\WinPE_x86\media\sources and put it in C:\ProgramData\Symantec\Ghost\Template\common\WinPEv50\sources on your GSS server.

  • 20.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 18, 2013 09:56 AM


    This is really all we are adding to C:\WinPE_x86


    • ghost folder containing copy.bat, ghreboot.bat, ghvp.bat, start.bat, & unattend.xml


    • ghost folder containing Ghost32.exe and other executables


    • startnet.cmd (copy or edit)


  • 21.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 18, 2013 10:03 AM

    That step worked just fine. The machine is imaging, albeit slowly, but it is imaging. I suspect the slowness comes from my test server being a four year-old Dell Optiplex 760 :)

  • 22.  RE: WinPE 3.0+ on GSS 2.5.1

    Posted Nov 18, 2013 10:55 AM

    Awesome! Good to know it worked for someone else. I get much better speeds and rarely drop a client compared to using the DOS PreOS.

    You could try updating the driver in PE although I'm not sure if it would help. However, I do recall updating the driver on my "server" (even worse, an Optiplex 755) and getting much better speeds.