info for Norton Ghost
We're almost ready to create an image. A few tidbits of info that you
might find helpful before we get started:
- • I create all my images on the drive root, never in a folder.
It shouldn't matter, and admittedly, this is merely superstition on
my part, but I've never had a problem doing it this way. I know people
who bury their images several directories deep [e.g. X:\Images\WXP\April\..],
and it works fine for them.
- • I always create images before upgrading DirectX
drivers, cuz they can't be uninstalled (Microsoft says
.. at least not with an official Microsoft uninstaller.
3rd party utilities that might work, but a pre-upgrade image
ensures you won't have to worry about whether or not they will
a link that you'll never need with a pre-upgrade Ghost image.
An image for this purpose might be named 'pre_dx.gho' for example.
- • Create an image before doing anything that might hose your system.
This takes experience before you learn what kinds of things have a
greater likelihood of hosing your system. But you can be assured that
the one time that you don't create an image will be the
time it gets hosed.
- I install no games or multi-CD programs (such as Encarta) to my system partition. This makes images
of my boot partitions smaller and the imaging go faster. Most
games are several hundred megabytes each. Some are almost a gig, and
digital media does not compress very much. Games are relatively easy
to reinstall, if needed.
- Create an image before adding new hardware. If you discover
no problems after a week or two with the new system configuration,
you can safely delete the old/pre-upgrade image. But make sure everything
works correctly before deleting the old image. I once deleted an image
too soon. Painful lesson.
- I have a partition dedicated solely for Ghost images. And
I never defrag this partition, regardless of what percent fragmentation
might be reported. I don't want anything messing with my images.
Again, this is merely superstition on my part, but I've never
been unable to restore an image, and I've restored more than a few.
- Don't use any type of partitioning utilities that install
proprietary driver overlays. Ghost does not like them, and
will give you problems if you use them. I once used one of these utilities
(Ontrack) that came on a floppy with an IBM IDE hard drive. It caused
me major head aches with Ghost. I can verify that you will be fine
if you partition with FDISK,
Magic, or any utilities from Microsoft that comes with
their operating systems. I've never tried System Commander.
- If you're dual-booting, and you image both operating
systems, take care that you correctly label which image
is from which operating system. I've made the mistake of mislabeling
an image once, and it can be a tragedy. Always double check
that file names match operating systems, especially if you image when
you're tired, in the wee morning hours, when your brain isn't working
- I image every two weeks .. more frequently if I make a lot
of changes to my system (less frequently if not). I keep at
least two images on hand at all times. This way, I never lose
more than 2 weeks worth of work, and I can always go back a
month if need be.
I also keep an initial-install image of my system, that I make
right after installing the OS, hardware & basic applications, and after
verifying that everything works right. So that makes (at least) 3
images of each OS (but one is very small).
- I always defrag the source partition before creating an image.
Norton SpeedDisk, which comes with Norton Utilities (which
comes with NSW) is fine. I've used it for years without a problem.
I've since begun using Diskeeper,
which I like a lot.
- Many Ghost users clean out their systems before creating
an image. For example, they'll delete everything in their Recycle
bin (empty the trash). They'll delete everything in their \temp folder.
They'll delete temporary Internet files. They might even uninstall
programs that they no longer use.
- You cannot use Ghost Explorer to "restore" or "copy"
Windows XP encrypted files from an image. You can restore a full Windows
XP partition/disk image that contains encrypted files to the specific
computer the image was made from, and the encrypted files are readable.
- Name all your logical drives with descriptive labels. Do this by right-clicking on the drive(s) in Windows Explorer and selecting 'Properties' from the menu. See that text window near the top? Write something descriptive in there. I use simple labels such as "C_drive" and "D_drive". Some people use names such as "System" and "MP3". Doesn't matter, long as you know what drive the label refers to.
Once you get in DOS, it is not always clear which drive is which unless you have descriptive volume labels.
To clarify once more, an image will restore your system to the exact
state it was in when the image was created. So, you still
need to back-up individual files you're working on (in the interim,
between images). Typically, this will be files in the My Documents
directory, which defaults to your boot drive.
If you work your butt off on a certain project, make sure you save the
associated file(s) somewhere other than on your boot drive. Most folks
already know this (having learned it the hard way), but it bears mentioning.
Kidney writes to say he had a problem with Ghost imaging going very
slowly. He solved the problem by using two switches:
ghost.exe -fna -fnu
The -fna switch turns off Ghost ability to read from the source and
write to the destination at the same time. So Ghost reads and then writes.
The -fnu switch tells Ghost not to read through UDMA and instead will
read through PIO.
Norton Ghost Boot Floppy
Newer versions of Ghost make it easy to create a Ghost boot floppy.
While in Windows, simply launch the Ghost program by going to your Start
button > then "Programs". Then click on "Ghost Utilities",
and then "Norton Ghost Boot Wizard". Follow the on-screen
instructions. The procedure is pretty straight forward. You should see
something that looks like this.
Select the option that applies to you.
If you have problems with the Ghost boot floppy, I have posted alternative
boot files here.
Simply load these files onto a freshly-formatted floppy disk, and copy ghost.exe to the floppy. (Also copy ghost.exe to at least one
location on your hard disk .. just in case).
After booting to DOS with the boot floppy, execute ghost.exe from either
the floppy or the location on your hard disk. Hard disks are more
reliable than floppy disks, so it would be better to execute
Ghost from your hard disk. You will need some rudimentary DOS
skills to navigate around in DOS.
For example, let's say that you copy ghost.exe to a folder named
ghost on your C: drive. To execute Ghost from the folder using
DOS commands, you would type the following bold commands at the
command prompt (A:\>):
the command prompt should change to: C:\>
cd ghost <enter>
the command prompt should change to: C:\ghost>
"cd" is the DOS command for "change
note that some versions of ghost use "ghostpe.exe"
as the executable
Ghost should launch
I suggest making two boot floppies .. in case one has problems
(I actually made 3). If you want to use MS-DOS
[Microsoft's version of DOS] instead of the version that comes with
Ghost: PC-DOS, you'll have to use a W98 boot
disk [floppy]. This info comes from Christer. He says:
For Ghost 2003, MS-DOS must be supplied via a Win98
boot disk. WinME isn't accepted. I'm not sure why, but it refused
my WinME startup disk. Can't recall the exact message, but something
was invalid. I popped in a Win98 startup disk and it was accepted.
This only applies to Ghost 2003. The previous version I used, Ghost
2001, accepted the WinME startup disk without complaint.
Floppy disk are notorious for becoming corrupted. Don't put your floppies
near speakers or magnets (speakers contain magnets), which can erase/corrupt
the data they contain. Label your floppy clearly. Include the date.
When done, store it in a safe place. If you are having trouble with
your boot floppy, you might be able to find help at Bootdisk.com.
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.
Symantec periodically updates
the ghost.exe executable. These updates are downloaded
from the Symantec site using Live Update, and add features
such as support for SATA drives. You need to create a new Ghost
boot floppy after downloading these updates. I recommend creating
a *new* Ghost boot floppy, and not simply overwriting/updating the old
one .. for the rare case when you find that the old one works, but the
new one does not.
Update: 22.march.2008 -
Chris created a Ghost boot floppy designed specifically for Windows XP Pro SP2. I posted this file on my downloads page. It contains everything *except* the Ghost executable, which he removed (just add water). See this thread for more info. If you have trouble booting from these files, see this thread.
Let's make an image! Woohoo!