How to Restore a Norton Ghost Image
Here is where you don't want to be. It usually means something has gone awry with your system. But let me assure you, having a back-up Ghost image on hand will take the sting out of your predicament, no matter how gnarly it might appear now.
When restoring an image, you will only lose whatever work you failed to back-up since the last
image you created. This is why it's a good idea to image frequently. The norm seems to be every one to six weeks. Monthly is the average.
But it depends on how much your system is changing. with regular back-ups of any work files between
each new image. Always back-up to separate physical hard drive or CD
.. in case your boot/system drive dies.
Note that you can do much more damage by restoring images, than by creating them .. if you make
a mistake, that is. This is because restoring an image overwrites the data currently residing on your drive.
If you overwrite the wrong
drive, you're screwed. You won't be able to recover data stored on that drive.
Overwriting has the same effect as reformatting a partition, except
it leaves your drive with the data that is contained in the image [reformatting
leaves you with a blank drive]. So pay close attention whenever restoring an image to target partitions/disks.
It's not difficult to screw up, especially if you're tired or in a hurry. This is not the
place to be in a hurry. If you're tired, go to bed and do it tomorrow,
when you're fresh. Put the beer away.
To restore an image, [usually because Windows wont
boot, or because your system drive died, or for one of a million other
possible reasons] reset your computer and boot to (true) DOS with your
boot floppy. If Ghost doesn't launch automatically [screen
shot], you'll have to launch the program manually. The bottom of
gives instructions for those of you who are DOS-illiterate.
If you're using Ghost 2002, you will need to enter the License Number
to restore your image [stupid requirement, only for v2002]. If you don't
have mouse support, you can navigate around by using the tab
& arrow keys.
- Select (carefully) Local -> Partition -> From Image
shot]. If you were going to restore an entire physical hard disk,
you would replace 'Partition' with 'Disk'.
- Navigate to the drive where your image file (*.gho) is stored [screen
- Select the image file you want to restore [screen
shot; Obviously, you can't restore an image if you haven't created
one.] It should have a .gho file extension. Soon as you select
the image file, a dialogue box will pop up and asking for your license
shot]. If you enter the wrong License Number, you will
screen that looks like this. Again, this requirement is only for
- Select the partition you want to restore [destination/target, screen
shot]. This will most likely be your boot partition [C drive],
because thats typically what gets screwed up & requires
you to restore your image.
- After selecting the target partition, Ghost will ask, Proceed
with partition load? Destination will be overwritten. [screen
shot] This is it, hoss. Right here is where you can make the biggest
mistake with Ghost. Carefully review the info listed under both Source
Partition and Target Partition. Triple check everything
before pressing the 'Yes' button.
A mistake here can mean the loss
of valuable data .. with no chance of recovery. If something doesn't
look right, or if you have a question, quit
out of Ghost & get an answer before restoring the image. I
am jumping up and down, shouting warnings at you!
I know people who have blown it right here. They were in a hurry,
or not paying attention. I have seen grown men cry. You need to be
absolutely certain the partition you think you restoring
is the one, in fact, you are restoring.
If you blow it anyway, despite my all my frantic warnings, some folks
have reported success with programs listed under the heading: Data
Recovery. You will find them about halfway down the page [scroll
My PC is currently running a system based on a restored Ghost
image .. that came from a system based upon a restored Ghost image ..
which was itself restored .. ad infinitum.
I've restored my system from back-up Ghost images ~20 or 25
times. Since learning how to put the Ghost mojo to work for me [as presented
in this guide], I've never had a problem with the program not being
able to do its job .. either creating or restoring an image.
Ghost will assume the file system of the source image. In other
words, if your image is from a FAT32 partition, and you restore
this image to an NTFS partition, the destination partition will
become FAT32 [from the source]. I have never done this myself
[restore an image to a different file system], but Symantec says thats
Again, your system will be restored to the exact state as when you created the image.
Norton Ghost Explorer
Ghost Explorer is a separate program that comes with Norton Ghost which lets you retrieve & restore individual files from your stored image. I don't use it myself, but others have. Most claim it works fine, but some have reported it could not access certain files, claiming some type of 'corruption', even tho their image passed its integrity check.
No reason has ever determined, but one possible work-around is to restore the image to a spare drive/disk/partition (whatever the case might be), and retrieve your individual files from there.
There are better programs than Ghost & Ghost Explorer for backing-up and restoring individual files. Ghost is designed primarily as an imaging/cloning product. That's what it does best.
Restoring Image to/from different PC
Suppose you get a new PC. You might want to avoid the the time it takes to re-install all your software programs and re-configure system settings by restoring the image of your old system to your new one.
Caution: unless both PC contain *identical* hardware, restoring an image from one PC to another is not a good idea. I have talked to only a handful of people who claim to have done this successfully. Those who have, said they first deleted the registry key(s) that contains information for their hardware. (Can't recall the exact key. Something "ENUM" sounds familiar, but I could be wrong.)
Then they created the image of the old system, which (theoretically) contains no hardware information, and restored this image to their new PC. Upon initial boot, their new PC (they claim) identified all the new hardware and installed the appropriate drivers.
If both PCs contain the same *chipset*, you have a much greater chance of this making this work. Indeed, the more similar both PCs are (with regard to hardware) the greater your chance of this working.
But I suggest you bite the bullet and install Windows from scratch (do a clean install), along with all your programs. This is the right way to set up a new machine. If you ask this question around the 'Net, you will get the same advice from everyone, almost universally. Even those who claim to have made this work say they experience quirky stability issues with the new machine.
Update (29.july.2006) - There's new info on this topic of restoring an image to a different computer, and it seems you might not actually have to do a clean install after all. For details, see this thread, titled:>
Restoring an image to a different computer (started by Mr. Brian, from Australia).
Here's another thread, titled:
Ghost image and STOLEN computer - please CLARIFY, which contains much good information along these lines that you might helpful.
Now let's take a look at Cloning.