Bootable Ghost CD/DVDs
A CD or DVD containing your Ghost image will also solve the dead drive problem. Recent versions of Ghost make it easy to burn your images to disc and create bootable CDs/DVDs.
The Ghost 2003 Retail CD is itself bootable, along with the Ghost v9.0 Restore CD. With v2003, using the -ghostoncd switch copies the executable (ghost.exe) to the root of the CD. The -bootcd switch bypasses it asking for a floppy and just copies it directly from the CD boot image. See this thread for more.
But you won't be using the latest version of Ghost with the bootable CD, since the ghost executable (ghost.exe) is updated via the Symantec Live Update feature (online), and you (almost) always want to use the latest version, which implements bug-fixes and adds features (such as support for Serial ATA drives).
Back in the day, you used to have to do it this way (<my buddy Sid, aka "SatCP", from Belgium). I normally don't burn my images to CD-R, but I burned one, just so I could capture the screen shots to include in this guide.
I'm reluctant to discuss things for which I have little practical experience,
but many Ghost users have assured me that a bootable Ghost CD is reliable
.. or, as one reader from Argentina puts it, "No problemo, Señior."
Symantec posted a long list of supported
burners here (scroll down).
Some users report success with burners that aren't even included
on the official Symantec list. Even if your burner is not included
on the official Symantec 'approved' list, you can always create your
images using the switch 'ghost.exe -split=640 -auto' to dump
your images to your hard drive in a size that is small enough to fit
on a CD-R.
You can later burn these images to CD-R using your favorite burning
program (from Windows). If you receive the error: "Image file not created with Norton Ghost" while restoring or checking your image, see J Houston's post here (scroll down to the 7th one) and NightOwl's post here.
You can even use SatCP's guide to make your CD(s) bootable, or find some more help at bootdisk.com.
After you tell Ghost that you want to create an image [screen
shot], you select your burner as the destination for the image [screen
shot]. After you select compression [screen
shot], Ghost will ask if you want to copy a bootable
floppy to the CD-R [screen
shot]. Then it will ask if the floppy disk is in the floppy
drive, so you need to have your bootable floppy disk handy. Then it
will ask if you want to proceed with the backup to CD-R [screen
Lewis Crowley from Long Island writes to say:
I use Ghost to create images of my system to CD for
backup. It works well. Some observations. You need two different
boot floppies: one to write the image (without the DOS
CD drivers; I guess it works by 'magic') and another with the drivers,
which are used to restore the image.
At first, I went crazy trying to use the same floppy for both. I found
that Ghost won't grab the MS-DOS files from my floppy unless I use
the DOS format command a: /s (if I use the control panel, it
won't work). Either I'm crazy or the DOS command puts the files in
a particular sector on the floppy.
Creating a boot CD is easy. When you create the CD, tell Ghost you
want it to be bootable, put your boot floppy in the A drive and Ghost
does all the work. The only thing you have to do is change your BIOS
configuration (or use a function key, depending on your particular
motherboard) so you boot from the CD. Your computer will boot with
mouse support and the standard Ghost program appears.
Jason Silver from Nokia says Ghost detects the CD-R's media's size/capacity
and adjusts automatically. When he changed from 650MB media to 700MB
media, Ghost automatically used the extra 50MB.
I read that Symantec instructs you not to use the -span or -split
switches when imaging directly to a CD burner. The appropriate switch(es)
will be used automatically.
If you have a lot of data on your boot drive (more than 7 or
8 gigs worth), burning your images to CD-R or CDR/W discs may take significantly longer than writing them directly to a hard disk, depending
on the speed of your burner, of course.
If you have trouble writing your CDs, I have three links that
you might find helpful: Link
#1 (which boot discs) Link
#2 (how to replace DOS files), and Link
#3 (cannot see burner in Ghost).
If you are trying to make a bootable Ghost CD/DVD with a 3rd party burning program such as Nero, you may find THIS thread helpful.
If you have a laptop with no floppy drive, you might run into problems creating a bootable CD, because Ghost will ask "Do you want to make this CD bootable". Then it will ask you to put a bootable floppy disk in your floppy drive.
If you run into this problem, NightOwl has a solution posted here: Guide to Creating Bootable CD/DVDs without A:\ Floppy Drive. He's a moderator at the forums and you can find him there.
You might also want to check out Bart's Bootable Ghost Restore CD-ROM: "ELGHOST" (link compliments of Matt Reason), but that page is no longer being maintained.
Along the same lines as ELGHOST is Bart's PE (Preinstalled Environment). RAD forum member Brian kindly thru together a page on how to get BartPE to work with Ghost9. See this thread: Using Bart's PE Bootable CD/DVD with Ghost9.
This link might also help: Ultimate Boot CD. Update: check out this thread, too. See HERE for another possible solution.
Update 05feb2004: I'm hearing reports that Ghost is *automatically* making CDs bootable if your laptop does not have a floppy disk drive. I suggest you try creating/burning an image to CD and see if the first disc will boot, before jumping through any digital hoops.
Also, if you have SCSI optical drives [like me, I have a Plextor CD-ROM & burner], you will need to create a special boot diskette to be able to use your optical drives with Ghost. This is weird, because I have no problems using Ghost with my SCSI hard drives. It's only the SCSI optical drives that I need the special boot diskette for.
If you have a Tekram DC-390U2W or a DC-390U3W SCSI adapter, I have files that will work for you. I posted them on my Downloadable Files page. [Special thanks to Stan the Man for whipping those up.]
Update (April 2005): I burned an image using Ghost 2003 with a double-density DVD burner & DVD disc, which supports a capacity of 8.5-GB. The image was nearly 7-GB and the whole thing fit on *one* DVD disc. Pretty impressive.
The disc contained eight separate files, named CDR00001.gho, CDR00002.gho, etc. The size of each file was nearly 1-GB (986,576-KB), except for the last (CDR00008.gho), which was ~half that size. Seven gigs on one disc. Ghost handled it fine. I even verified the image and it passed the integrity check. Took about 45 minutes to create (and another 45 to verify). Phillips-based DVD burner. See this blog-entry for details:> Norton Ghost 2003 Supports Dual-Layer DVD discs (8.5-GB).
CDR/W Discs Less Reliable?
I've heard that the media used in CD-R/W discs (crystals) is
less reliable than that used in CD-Rs (dye). I have no hard
evidence to support this, but if you have the option to use either,
I suggest using CD-R discs. CD discs are so
cheap these days that cost should not be an issue.
For me, image integrity is the single most important
consideration. I don't want anything to compromise the integrity
of my images. Next in importance for me is the time it takes
to create an image. Since I multi-boot, and have two PCs to image, I've
become sensitive to how long it takes. Now that burners are so fast,
this is probably less of an issue for most of you. Still, imaging to
a (physically) separate hard drive goes faster than to a burner.
If you're dual-
or multi-booting different operating systems, you may also become
sensitive to the time factor, cuz you'll probably be creating more than
one image each imaging session.
Realize too, that larger images require more discs, and the more discs
your image requires means you have a greater chance of losing your image
due to disc corruption .. because you need *all* discs to restore an
image. An image that needs 8 CDs [like mine] has an 8-times greater chance
of going bad than an image that merely requires one disc. It only takes
one bad apple [disc] to ruin your image. Still, I haven't heard of any
problems with this.
Next, let's take a look at using Ghost with External drives, such as USB & Firewire.