Alternatives to Norton Ghost
This might be a good place to mention alternatives to Norton Ghost: other imaging software. In fact, this section could probably be its own web page (uh, now it is .. 08.apr.2007).
I'm not dogmatic about using Ghost. It's merely what I choose to protect myself from hardware or software disasters. I encourage you to use *some* imaging software .. to protect yourself in the case of hard drive failure or system malfunction.
[I still prefer & use the last original version of Ghost (developed by Binary Reseach) .. for reasons detailed here.]
For a long time, Drive Image (made by Powerquest, who also made Partition Magic) was Ghost's main competitor. But Symantec bought-out Powerquest (in December 2003) and repackaged Drive Image as Ghost v9.0. Since then, other products have become their main competitor.
- True Image by Acronis (US$50). View what users are saying about TI HERE. People either love it or hate it. Seems to be no middle ground. I've heard some call it "hardware-specific," which usually means it'll work right only if you have the right hardware. I also heard TI has problems imaging dynamic disks.
True Image was only released on April 4th, 2002. Ghost had already released version 6.5 prior to Acronis releasing v1.0. So Ghost has a several-year head-start over True Image. This guide had been published online a couple of years prior to the initial Acronis release.
PCMag reviewed True Image on 17.August.2005, rating it 3.5/5.0. See here.
Their BOTTOM LINE opinion:
The product feels a lot like Norton Ghost with a slightly more difficult user interface. The products we had with single file restores makes it difficult to recommend as a data protection product.
We were surprised to find a serious bug in single file restore, but it has since been fixed. No native DVD support.
- BootIt NG by Terabyte is
a set of tools for partitioning, imaging & multi-booting. It's like Partition Magic & Ghost combined. (US$35)
Brian in the Rad forums has experience with this program (along with several others).
- Image for Windows by Terabyte is similar to Ghost 9:
Windows-based backup & restore utility. (US$27)
- Image for DOS by Terabyte is similar to the DOS version of Ghost (US$19)
- Device Image is a freebie (GNU GPL) that runs under Linux.
- Partition Imager by 7Tools. Features listed here. (US$25)
- Disk Image DOS-based solution
by Active@ (US$40)
- Drive Backup by Paragon - Windows-based solution like Ghost v9.0 (US$50)
- Exact Image - Also by Paragon. Seems rather sophisticated. Features listed here. ($40)
- Drive Snapshot - Windows-based. From Germany. (EUR 39)
- Automated System Recovery (ASR) is not quite an imaging program, but has similar features. It comes with Windows XP Professional version, but not the Home edition. It doesn't back-up (or restore) data files. You would need to use a separate program for that. But ASR is better than System Restore.
- Here's another freebie, called Partition Saving, which runs under DOS, from Damien Guibouret (France). Always good to have freeware options. Thanks to H. Bauernfeind for the link. He says:
"It works fine under DOS for six years now, with continuous development. A disadvantage: the program cannot create image files on NTFS drives itself. You first have to create files with appropriate names on the NTFS partition, then the program can overwrite these dummy files with image files. According to the FAQ, there are other limitations compared to Ghost."
- DriveImage XML - Free for home users. (Thanks, Brian.)
There is a plugin for BartPE so that you can restore the system partition or do everything from BartPE. For more info, see this thread.
Our position is that the ability to restore your system comes with such grave consequences that co$t should not form much of an issue in deciding which application to use. Yet, everyone agrees that *any* imaging solution (no matter how rudimentary) is far better then no imaging solution.
- Casper XP - by Future Systems. For Windows XP & 2000 only. Recomended by Richard. He says, "It has worked perfect for over 2 years." (US$50)
- Drive2Drive - also by Future Systems. For Windows 95, 98 & ME. Richard said D2D worked great for him before he got Windows XP. (US$25)
The following four Ghost-alternatives come endorsed by Jonathon (Tampa, Florida). All four are FREE.
- Clonezilla » Open Source (free). Similar to the corporate edition of Norton Ghost. Clonezilla supports multicasting to duplicate a partition/disk to computers on a network.
Update » July 2007, Clonezilla and GParted now come on a multi-boot LiveCD, which means you
don't need to know how to use Linux in order to use them. See this thread for more » Clonezilla Live CD
For user insights, see this thread (from John Roberts, who wrote this how-to guide. Also see HERE). Download here.
"Clonezilla may lack fancy GUI, direct on-the-fly optical disk burning and spanning media support like Ghost 2003 (that I like and use as well...), BUT:
1. Unlike Ghost, it has a much broader filesystem support
2. It has broad support for external media (aka USB2.0 external disks, flash sticks), no need for temperamental drivers."
- Partition Image for Linux (Partimage) -
Another Linux utility, this creates partition images but will only work with its supported filesystems.
- Ghost for Linux (G4L) -
Available as a bootable CD, G4L creates images by copying a disk bit-by-bit so that it is compatible with any filesystem/OS.
- Ghost for Unix (G4U) -
Available as a bootable CD or two floppy disks, this is similar to G4L in that it copies each bit on a drive making it suitable for backing up any filesystem/OS.
- ShadowProtect from StorageCraft. Looks like it retails for US$70. Supports online back-ups (also known as hot-imaging). This program was recommended by Odin, from Brisbane, Australia.
He says, "It comes in a couple of flavours, workstation, server and IT edition. Get a trial and evaluate it - I would be interested to hear what you think."
- imageIT from Synergix - Says "Fast backup and restore using differential mode" (anybody know what differential mode is?) I like that it supports DOS & WinPE / BartPE. Offers both a free (Standard) version, and a Pro version for US$195 (for a 10-pack). For more about this prgm, see this thread, titled: Yet Another backup Box
- DRBL-Live - See this how-to guide by John Roberts and this thread in the Rad forums.
- O&O DiskImage. Made in Germany. O&O makes good stuff (such as their defragger). I've never used their DiskImage however ($45). Windows-based. Looks nice, but seems to be a brand-new product (contains no version number). Anybody have any experience with this puppy?
- Paragon Hard Disk Manager. Currently at version 8.0, which would suggest much and ongoing development. Four versions available: Personal ($80), Professional ($180), Server ($600) & Small Business ($700). Downloadable demos available.
- SyncBackSE by 2BrightSparks. Features listed here. Can do some cool stuff. Elegant. Worth checking out. $30. (Enhanced version of software that used to be freeware.)
If you look closely at the URLs of the ads being hosted here by Google, you'll notice ads for each of these alternative programs I mentioned. (That's how I found them .. or, they found me.)
I have no experience with any imaging software except Ghost, but I have nothing against these other programs. Altho I *do* feel the DOS-based programs are more reliable than the Windows-based ones. My point is that you should use *some* imaging program, which is better than using none. I just happen to use Ghost. If I missed any, let me know.
get ready to create our image.