Norton Ghost Program Introduction
Let's get busy. Like Napoleon, Symantec's Norton Ghost is also small yet mighty. Weighing in at less than 1MB, the pint-sized executable [ghost.exe] fits easily on a floppy disk containing bootable system files. Norton Ghost works its seemingly supernatural mojo by creating what's called an image.
An image is nothing more than a techie term for a special type of file .. usually a large file .. depending on how much data is contained on your system drive/partition (where Windows resides) .. or whatever drive/partition you select as the source for your image [screen shot].
NOTE: There is no reason to create an image of a drive/partition/disk other than the one containing your operating system. Data residing on non-system disks or partitions can be backed-up like nomal data .. to CD/DVD, another hard drive, or even a tape drive.
Don't confuse a Norton Ghost image with a jpeg, gif, or other conventional type of graphic image file. The so-called 'image' that Ghost creates is similar to a 'snapshot' taken of the contents of either your entire hard drive, or an individual partition (you decide which) [screen shot].
The combination of the small program file (ghost.exe, which can be stored on a bootable floppy, or on a bootable CD/DVD) .. and the large image file [file_name.gho, stored on a drive/partition other than the one you plan to restore, or on a CD, or on a series of multiple "spanned" CDs if your image is larger than 650MB, or on a DVD] .. gives you the ability to restore your system to an earlier, working configuration .. in minutes! .. no matter how badly you screw things up. Sound rad? It is!
If for some reason (any reason), your system won't boot, and you can't figure out what in tarnation went wrong .. simply pop in a bootable floppy diskette [or bootable CD/DVD] and hit the reset button .. boot to Ghost [screen shot] .. and tell Ghost (navigate to) where your back-up image is stored [screen shot] .. then tell it which drive/partition you want to restore [screen shot] (this is colloquially referred to as point-n-shoot).
Then answer 'Yes' to the overwrite question [screen shot] that asks if you really know what the heck you're doing. About 10 minutes later, your system is returned to normal working order. Works like magic.
The more things you do with your PC .. the more new things you try .. and the longer it takes to reinstall your operating system & programs (every last one) .. digging up & re-entering all those lengthy serial numbers .. finding & updating patch versions .. loading device drivers .. reconfiguring system settings .. (makes my head hurt just thinking about all this) .. the more you'll appreciate the industrial-strength back-up protection Ghost offers.
It takes me the better part of a week to install my operating system, all my software programs, and configure system settings .. if I hustle. I don't have that kind of time to waste .. cuz something in Windows krapped out .. which is why I appreciate the nuclear-grade back-up protection Ghost provides.
It gives you the ability to 'undo' (so to speak) any mistake/glitch/conflict .. no matter how nasty or gnarly .. even if you don't know what caused the problem. It's better than Windows System Restore, which can't help you if your hard drive dies. And it's better than Windows Automated System Recovery (included with WXP Pro only), which won't back-up or restore your data files.
The ability to restore my system .. no matter what went wrong .. gave me the moxie to try things I'd previously found intimidating. Ghost neutralizes any trepidation you might encounter when experimenting with new software or hardware .. or from attempting anything that might generate quirky conflicts .. or hose your system outright.
If you'd like to build your repertoire of digital skills, Ghost is your best friend. It should be the first tool included in your expanding bag of digital tricks .. cuz it provides a safety net as you scale the steeper slopes of the digital learning curve .. to new heights .. previously attained by only the most determined & resilient technophiles.
Since learning what I share here, Ghost has never let me down. Once I learned how to create & restore an image of my system drive/partition, I quickly came to the point where there's nothing I wouldn't try .. cuz I knew, if need be, I could always restore my image, and return to an earlier, working configuration .. and try again .. with the knowledge of what *doesn't* work .. of what not to do. I became fearless.
Given enough chances, anyone can get it right. Ghost gives you as many chances as you need. There's no limit to the number of times you can restore a particular image. Sometimes it can take a while to figure out what you're doing wrong, or find what's causing the problem.
Norton Ghost has made a monster difference in what I've been able to accomplish with my PC. It provides an option in otherwise hopeless situations. I wouldn't have taken the time to write this guide if it wasn't so rad. Want to know more about this pint-sized savior?