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Radified Guide to Norton Ghost - A Tutorial on How to Create & Restore Ghost Images

22 pages
Radified Guide to Norton Ghost - A Tutorial on How to Create & Restore Ghost ImagesRadified Guide to Norton GhostA Tutorial on How to Create & Restore ImagesThis guide presents what many consider the ultimate back-up strategy. It is based on features found in Norton Ghost, a hard drive imaging/cloning software program developed by Symantec. Altho designed around Norton Ghost (considered the most reliable application of its kind), the strategies presented here can be applied to *any* disk cloning program.Here is the *original* Radified guide. After more than 5 years on the 'Net, and countless revisions, it is still the site's most requested feature. Users of Ghost from all over the world contribute regularly to the insights it contains, which might be why its popularity continues to grow.When you realize how much time & misery Ghost's supernatural disaster recovery features can save you, you'll understand why you shouldn't be without a cloning program. Discover for yourself why so many people include Ghost on their list when asked: "If you could only have 10 programs...?" Note: If you download the PDF version, which contains all 15 web-pages, yet none of the ads coded into the online version, I encourage you to consider making a small contribution, since you obviously can't click ads you don't see. (These clicks help pay our hosting bill.) Many sites which offer a PDF version charge a nominal fee for the download. If the spirit moves you, a small Donate ...
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This guide presents what many consider the ultimate back-up strategy . It is based on features found in Norton Ghost , a hard drive imaging/cloning software program developed by Symantec . Altho designed around Norton Ghost (considered the most reliable application of its kind), the strategies presented here can be applied to *any* disk cloning program. Here is the *original* Radified guide . After more than 5 years on the 'Net, and countless revisions, it is still the site's most requested feature. Users of Ghost from all over the world contribute regularly to the insights it contains, which might be why its popularity continues to grow .
When you realize how much time & misery Ghost's supernatural disaster recovery features can save you, you'll understand why you shouldn't be without a cloning program. Discover for yourself why so many people include Ghost on their list when asked: " If you could only have 10 programs...?"
I also encourage you share the guide with any friend you feel might find it helpful. Word-of-mouth is still the most effective form of advertising, and helps multiply our digital karma. Lastly, I want to extend an invitation .. to stop by the site every few days and see what's happening here in Rad-land . I promise, you'll find the content (if nothing else) original . Enough entreaty. Let's get busy.
Note: If you download the PDF version, which contains all 15 web-pages, yet none of the ads coded into the online version, I encourage you to consider making a small contribution, since you obviously can't click ads you don't see. (These clicks help pay our hosting bill.) Many sites which offer a PDF version charge a nominal fee for the download. If the spirit moves you, a small Donate button can be found on the Home page .
The good thing is that Symantec includes a copy of Ghost 2003 in the Ghost 10 retail box. And I *know* Ghost 2003 is reliable, because I've used it to restores dozens of images. All the caveats about Ghost 9 & hot-imaging still apply to version 10, since they are basically the same program. So I suggest to familiarize yourself with the way Ghost 9 works. See here:> Ghost 9 & hot-imaging .
New version : 13.sept.2005 -Symantec announces the release of Ghost v10.0. The short version: Ghost 10 = Ghost 9 + encryption (ability to encrypt your back-up images). With version 10 , Symantec continues to make Ghost easier to use, automating still more decisions you previously had to make yourself. Their aim is to bring the power of back-up imaging to the masses. While applauding their efforts, I feel the need to caution users that each additional feature tends to sacrifice RELIABILITY. For example, if you encrypt  your image file, you will, at some point, need to de-crypt it, before it can be restored .. which is one more place where something can go wrong. For me, RELIABILITY is my #1 priority. I need to feel confident I can restore my back-up image should anything go wrong with my operating system or hard drive .
New version : 02.august.2004 -Symantec announces the release of Ghost v9.0 . Ghost 9 is controversial , because it's not really Ghost. It's actually Drive Image , a similar imaging/cloning product originally developed by PowerQuest , a company Symantec purchased on 05.dec.2003.
There is an on-going thread is the forums about Ghost 10. See here:> Symantec Norton Ghost 10 , where I share my share my thoughts on version 10 . There's also a blog entry posted here: Symantec Releases Version 10 of Norton Ghost .
A Tutorial on How to Create & Restore Images
The reason Ghost 9 ( Drive Image in disguise) is controversial is because it supports a feature Symantec calls ' Hot Imaging ', which allows you to to create images of/from a 'LIVE' operating system, while files are able to change. Hot imaging might sound attractive to the casual user, but it comes with hidden risks that concern many veterans of the program. NOTE : For version 10 , Symantec removed the words "hot-imaging" from its list of features , and replaced them with the words: Makes backups on the fly, without restarting your system .. which is the same thing. It does this from Windows . Note: If you have no idea what an imaging/cloning program does or how it works, you should first read the section below labeled Program Introduction . Then come back here & read the ditty on Ghost 9 and Hot-imaging. Like Ghost 9 , Ghost 2003 the most recent version of ( real Ghost) also offers a Windows-based interface, but automatically reboots (" drops down ") to DOS before creating or restoring the image. Ghost 9 however, doesn't do this. It images Windows *from* Windows, while the operating system is "live". This is similar to an active sports model taking pictures of herself.
Norton Ghost v10.0
Norton Ghost v9.0
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Another concern is that Symantec is unable to update the version of Ghost contained on the Restore CD (the ghost.exe executable). What happens if a bug is discovered? Prior to v9.0, the ghost.exe executable was updated periodically via Symantec's Live Update feature. But this is not possible with the Restore CD (because the disc is closed).
Update 29.august.2005 - Learned that you can use a BartPE bootable CD/DVD to *create* and restore images with Ghost9. See this thread titled:> Ghost and BartPE (2002 or 9) . For info on how to create and use a BartPE CD/DVD, see this thread (compliments of Brian), titled:> Using Bart's PE Bootable CD/DVD with Ghost9 .
Unlike Ghost 2003, you have to *install* Drive Image , uh, I mean Ghost 9 (to Windows) in order to use the program .. which (not surprisingly) precipitates problems like this . (As a side note, notice how the fix Symantec specifies involves modifying a system file from a DOS prompt.) Also unlike Ghost 2003, Ghost 9 requires product activation (within 30 days, or the program quits working), just like Windows XP .
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In other words, the environment in which you *create* the image is different from the one used to restore it. Anybody see an opportunity for a problem here? It would be like a football team practicing all year on real grass, then playing the SuperBowl on artificial turf. The change in environment can precipitate unexpected problems. When it really counts (when you need to restore an image ), you don't want to encounter any unexpected problems.
And Symantec designed Ghost 9 so it doesn't allow you to *create* images with/from the Recovery CD , which contains a stripped-down version of Windows, similar to operating in Safe mode , which would offer less chance of conflicting with other programs running concurrently. The Recovery CD only allows you to *restore* images (rendering a copied CD useless, so you can't "share" it with your friends ).
Rather, I feel it's because forums are public, public. They create a fishbowl effect. Everybody can see the problems others are having. It's true that misery loves company , but corporations would rather be able to claim your problem is an isolated case. And they can't do that when 50 other people are posting complaints about the same problem. Anybody who has ever dealt with tech support knows how they rarely admit your problem is their fault. It's always due to some "other" factor. They play the blame game on a professional level. You don't stand a chance. (I admit that some tech sppt people are
This might be a good place to mention that it doesn't surprise me Symantec shut down their forums prior to releasing Ghost9. The reason can't be financial, because it doesn't cost much to host a forum , and Symantec certainly has the financial wherewithal .
It is more difficult to troubleshoot problems with Ghost9, because imaging from Windows involves so many more variables . Imaging from DOS (with v2003) eliminates all the variables associated with Windows . For an idea of what I'm talking about, head over to the Wilder Security forums , which host a bulletin board dedicated for True Image , a similar Windows-based imaging product . Read some of the posts there and you'll see what I mean. (I mention alternatives to Norton Ghost later in this guide.)
Ghost 9 may be easier to use, which might be why Symantec went that route. Or maybe the bean-counters just needed a new version to sell . I don't know. But I know I'm unwilling to sacrifice reliability for anything, even ease-of-use. Ghost 9 also supports incremental and scheduled back-ups. Perhaps these new features appeal to you, but they do nothing for me. I'm interested primarily in reliability . I need to know I can restore my image & recover my system should the need arise.
Back before Symantec bought PowerQuest, when Drive Image was still called Drive Image , I received many letters from people who had unexplainable problems with it.They were looking for help. Some even asked me to write a Radified guide for it. Unfortunately, I've never used Drive Image . But I know people who have .
I feel Ghost v2003 is more reliable than Ghost 9. Some disagree . I admit I'm superstitious when it comes to ( creating & restoring ) images, because I know how distressing it can be to lose everything on your hard drive, and have to start over from scratch . But I've never had a problem with Ghost, either. Not one. And I've created hundreds of images, and restored dozens . Hot imaging also runs the risk of conflicting with other programs running concurrently in Windows, something Ghost 2003 can never do, since it runs from DOS.
If you think about imaging the same way a photographer does, you'll realize the clearest pictures result when everything remains still . That's why pro's  use a tripod . It holds the camera steady, so the picture comes out sharp & clear. DOS is our tripod to keep Windows stationary so we can take a sharp picture of our sexy operating system with our Ghost camera.
Life can become unpleasant if you're unable to restore an image . All my trust has been built in Ghost, not Drive Image . From past experience, I know Ghost works for me. I don't have this same confidence with Drive Image (Ghost 9), which requires you to install Microsoft's .Net bloatware, uh, I mean software.
Admittedly, the risk is small. But if you have a problem with the restore , the results can be tragic. Personally, I prefer to avoid * any * unnecessary risk, which is why I still use Ghost v2003: the latest version of "true" Ghost (originally developed by Binary Research ), which operates from DOS.
I'm sure Symantec has their reasons, but many (including myself) feel that imaging a live operating system (*from* a live operating system) introduces risks that are better avoided by using the original Ghost product (v2003), which works from DOS, when Windows is shut down, when it's unable to modify any of its files (such as the registry hive ).
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Many others are posted. NOTE : We also have plenty of forums members who use, like and recommend Ghost 9 . For a perspective from the other side (Pro-Ghost9), see the thread, from the ever-eloquent Mr. Pleonasm, who has responded the points I made here. You deserve to hear both sides, as I have never used Ghost 9. He makes valid points. His (well-written) thread is titled:
1. • Topic: Ghost 9 2. • Topic: NSW 2005 Premier / Ghost 9.0 / Ghost2003 3. • Topic: Ghost 9.0 rescue disk 4. • Topic: Ghost 9 - BSOD! 5. • Topic: Ghost 9.0 gives an error for undocumented PQI file
See here for Dan's commentary on > Norton Ghost 9.0: Reliability of Hot-imaging . If you're having trouble with Ghost 9, or simply have a question, head over to the Rad forums , where you'll find helpful folk that have experience with this version. You might begin by skimming these 4 threads:
For more depth on the topic of Ghost 9.0 & the reliability of hot-imaging, see the following letter (posted with permission) from Dan Goodell , who has been using imaging/cloning products since they first came out. He uses them frequently (professionally), and has much experience with DriveImage , upon which Ghost 9 is based. His letter begins like this:
I'm not ready to accept hot-imaging as reliable, but I also think it's too early to judge Ghost 9 until it builds more of a track record. Yet, since it's based on the clearly inadequate Drive Image 7, I'm not holding my breath. I do take issue, though, with readers who argue Ghost version 9 is a mature product, just because the name has a good reputation. Ghost 9 is a rebranding of a PowerQuest product and bears no resemblance to Ghost 2003 other than the name on the box. It would be more appropriately called "Windows Ghost version 1".
l      Ghost 9.0 Reliability: A Discussion
This is my advice I'd give to other people having problems: Forget about Ghost 9 and ANY other software that does ANYTHING from Windows ... NOTHING from Windows would work. Not Ghost 9, Ghost 2003, True Image 8... NOTHING would get past the Blue Screen with the Windows logo. No matter how sexy the GUIs may be, and how cool it is to do a drive copy while in Windows... forget it!! Make a boot disk, run Ghost 2003 from there, and that's it!!!!!!! I wasted 14 hours trying every other way!
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Norton Ghost v2003
The guide contains 15 pages, organized like so (all contained in this single PDF):
l      [ Page 1 ] -Orientation : you be here. l      [ Page 2 ] -Ghost 9 & Hot imaging. l      [ Page 3 ] -Norton Ghost 2003. l      [ Page 4 ] -Program  Introduction l      [ Page 5 ] -Quick start : for the ready-fire-aim type, who wants to jump right in & begin imaging right away. Plus an important limitation. l      [ Page 6 ] -Caveat : Need a second hard drive to be safe, Test restore. l      [ Page 7 ] -Bootable Ghost CD/DVDs . l      [ Page 8 ] - Imaging to NTFS drives, USB/ External drives , Dead drives, Data integrity. l      [ Page 9 ] -Get your copy , Ghost alternatives, Running Ghost from DOS, RAID arrays, Knowledge base, Switches & Error codes. l      [ Page 10 ] -Pre-imaging info, Norton Ghost boot floppy. l      [ Page 11 ] -Create a Ghost image. l      [ Page 12 ] -Restore a Ghost image, Ghost Explorer. l      [ Page 13 ] - Hard disk drive & partition cloning . l      [ Page 14 ] - Automated batch files.
New version : 26.august.2002 - Symantec releases Ghost 2003 . This version offers a Windows-based interface. Prior to v2003, you needed to boot to DOS in order to create or restore an image. Being able to configure Ghost from Windows makes the program more user-friendly. The official Symantec press release is posted here . PCWorld reviews Ghost 2003 here . They still claim it's " for PC pros only " tho. See here . In particular, notice where they say, " The program is saddled with a confusing manual, lousy Web support, and phone support that costs $30 per incident. " That's why this guide has become so popular . It teaches you everything you need to know .. with language that's easy to understand. That's because it was written by someone who knows how confusing Ghost can be. With v2003, Ghost adds support for DVD burners . It also supports both USB 2.0 & Firewire drives (external drives). Best of all, Ghost now allows you to save/write images directly to NTFS partitions. See here . This guide was designed for Ghost v2002, which is configured from DOS (the most reliable way to use Ghost). The concepts presented here still apply for v2003, which can also be configured from Windows, making the program easier to use. If you know how to use v2002 [DOS-based only], you'll know how to use v2003 [supports both Windows & DOS-based interfaces]]. The main difference between v2003 and earlier versions is that now you don't need a Ghost boot floppy in order to CREATE the image . You only need the Ghost boot floppy to RESTORE an image .. if your system won't boot, that is .. which is usually why you restore an image (disaster recovery) .. or if your system drive dies. As mentioned earlier, you can also write images directly to NTFS partitions. Previous versions of Ghost would only write images to FAT32 partitions. This is because Ghost works from DOS, and DOS does not support the NT file system [NTFS]. For this reason, users of Ghost [prior to v2003] used to keep at least one FAT32 partition on their system, in order to store/receive their images. With v2003, this is no longer necessary. Yet I still recommend you dedicate at least one FAT32 partition to store/receive your Ghost images, since FAT32 is *natively* supported by DOS, and Ghost works from DOS. After you configure Ghost 2003 in Windows, it will automatically reboot (" drop down ") to DOS for you, and create or restore your image. Symantec somehow designed Ghost so it can now write images to NTFS partitions from DOS [even tho DOS does not support the NT file system]. I have used Ghost 2003 with NTFS drives and it really works .. just like they said it would .. both writing images to, and restoring them from. For your hypertext  convenience, this guide can be found at any of these fine Radified URLs:
l      [ http://ghost.radified.com/ ] l      [ http://ghost.radified.com/ghost_1.htm ] l      [ http://radified.com/Ghost/ghost_1.htm ]
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