Cloning Drives with Norton Ghost
Let me preface this section by saying I have never cloned anything.
I've only created & restored images. If I was going to clone either a disk or partition, I'd first want to talk to someone who has
Cloning is like copying. No image file is created during the
cloning process. During cloning, Ghost copies files from the source
partition (or disk) to the destination (target). The thing that
makes Ghost's cloning features so powerful is that ALL the files are
Many people ask why they can't simply use Windows to copy files
from one drive to another. Try it, you'll discover why: Windows file-copy
won't copy the FAT (File Allocation Table), partition table,
or boot files .. all of which you need.
You may hear about a utility called Xcopy. I've never used it,
but have heard it mentioned & debated many times. Some insist that
it works fine; others claim it's flawed. Here's a link called Xcopy
Xposed that says it's flawed, and gives reasons why.
Another utility called xxcopy
(no, not porn) supposedly works like xcopy, but without its (alleged)
problems. I've never used it. You might also find helpful these links
to disk utilities from several major hard drive manufacturers, including
Digital. These utilities do essentially the same thing that Ghost's
cloning feature does.
Ghost's cloning feature is typically used to copy the contents of
one disk/partition (usually older/smaller) to another (usually newer/larger).
Users have reported success with this method. Some caution that, if
a boot drive is involved, you must set a partition on the new drive
as the ACTIVE partition. You can do this with FDISK.
I was under the impression that the destination drive must be at least
as big as the source, but Dharma Singh writes to say this is not true.
He says that you can clone a larger drive (36GB, for example) to a smaller
one (18GB, for example) as long as the *contents* (data) of the source
drive do not exceed the capacity of the destination (target). He says
he has actually done this.
He also notes that disk performance drops significantly after a disk
is ~85% full, especially with NTFS. For this reason, he says
it's best to buy a new drive with at least double the capacity
Say, for example, you have an older/smaller drive that contains 3 partitions. If you clone one partition at a time, you'll first have
the partitions on the new drive (destination/target). You'll have
to repeat the cloning process for each partition. Doing each partition
individually gives you more control over the cloning process. If you
clone an entire physical hard disk, I don't think you have to partition
it first .. but not sure.
Before we begin, you should be aware that the destination (target) partitions
will be overwritten! [screen
shot] If you make a mistake, and select the wrong disk/partition,
you will lose valuable data. All
the caveats from the
preceding page on Image Restoration apply to cloning. If you have
not yet read the preceding page, go there now and read about
the hazards associated with overwriting either a partition or
To clone an entire (physical) DISK, select: Local ->
Disk -> To Disk [screen
To clone an individual PARTITION, select Local -> Partition
-> To Partition [screen
Notice that you cannot clone Partition -> To Disk, nor can
you clone Disk -> To Partition. I don't have all the other
steps listed here because I've never done this, and I don't want to
give you the illusion that I have. But you will go through the steps
or selecting the source and destination/target, just like you do with
creating and restoring images. Les Burns writes to
Your section on Cloning makes no mention of
removing the newly created drive from the system. Failure to
do so before rebooting will annihilate your registry.
We were moving an OS to a second drive. When cloning, you must remove
the cloned drive before rebooting into Windows. Windows will
look at the system, scan the registry, realizes its duplicated and
deems it's corrupt. Then it creates a new, blank registry, and carries
on with that. I tried restoring the registry from the command prompt,
but alas nothing. Live and learn.
In response to Les' comment above, Bob Davis writes to say:
This is true only with the NT-based OS's, not Win98SE
and presumably similar OS's (Win95, Win98, ME). I always have a fully
cloned drive in my system (D:), running Win98SE, and have never experienced
adverse effects from doing so in about two years using Ghost.
To supplement my weekly ghosting of three rotated HD's mounted in
mobil racks, I run a daily batch file with Windows Task Scheduler
that updates important files to D:. This includes business databases,
OE DBX's, WAB, etc. This system has been the best backup method I've
found in 20 years of computing, and has bailed my butt out of trouble
more than once.
Another bit of info you might find helpful when cloning. See Christer's note in this thread (5th post):
Was the cloning done (1) from within Windows or (2) from Ghost Boot Disks?
If (1), then computer B was automatically restarted with two identical hard disks (after cloning one to the other) installed. Windows reassigns a different volume identification to one of the hard disks and that hard disk will not boot.
If (2) and the computer B was "reset" after completion, then the same applies as above.
Use method (2) but when completed, do not let Ghost "reset" the computer but turn it off on the power switch and remove the "temporary" hard disks. When installed separately in different computers, they should boot.
Here's a quote from one of the forum's moderators, Christer (from Sweden). You might find it helpful:
As I understand this issue, Windows XP "knows" which hardware was installed when it is shut down. XP has attached a volume identifier to each volume. When XP is restarted, it redetects the hardware and if the same, all is well.
When a disk is cloned, disk-to-disk, there will be two volumes with the same volume identifier. If the computer is restarted with both harddisks (the "source" and the "clone") installed, XP will start from the "source", detect the "clone" as new hardware and change the volume identifier since there can not be two volumes with the same volume identifier.
Nothing will be detected by the user until he/she takes out the "source" and makes the "clone" the boot drive. Now, XP can not boot because of the changed volume identifier.
The solution is simple when Ghost 2003 is used to do the disk-to-disk cloning. You don't let Ghost reset the computer and restart Windows but turn off the computer and remove the "clone" before restarting. How this is done using Ghost 9 I don't know.
Cloning Partitions/Drives with Ghost9
For those of you using Ghost 9, Brian (our resident Rad Ghost 9 guru) thru together a little ditty on how to CLONE partitions using Ghost 9. See here: Cloning Partitions with Ghost 9.