Making a ghost image for backup and disaster preparedness... This
is an IT Best Practice.
previous page I
told you why making a ghost image of your hard drive is
important. Here I will show you
how to do the deed!
Note: From questions and comments on the old Q and A forum I will tell you that you can use this program to do your
partition backup of a SSD - Solid State Drive. There are no special switches
or options to set.
Before you start you will need a few things:
A bootable device
(such as a custom Emergency Repair Disk (ERD)
for Windows 7 /8 -
Check this out.) Or a multi boot system.
A place to
store your image, it should be 10 gig or larger
The imaging software, in this example
If you build a DOS boot device or if you use a windows boot device such as ERD
or Bart's PE. You have two choices when you use Ghost (also known as a Norton Ghost). One is called a DOS
command line program - Ghost.exe (is a 16 bit program)
and the other is a Windows program called Ghost32.exe (is a 32 bit
program). The advantage of
ERD is that this is a 32 bit Preinstalled Environment bootable windows CD or
DVD, you will have a Windows type interface for making a ghost image.
Be aware that neither of these programs will run if you use a Windows 7/8
64 Bit ERD, unless you can find Symantec Ghostcast,
it has a 64 bit version of Ghost.
Symantec Ghost at one time was just "Ghost", then
it was Norton Ghost,
Microsoft bought the company an changed the name of the product.
You could use a custom Emergency Repair Disk (ERD)
for making a Symantec Ghost image -
Check this out.
This is where having a computer that has a
Dual Boot capability comes in very handily. You could boot from the
other Operating System and use a 32/64 bit imaging program to make or restore your
image, this would save you some time and you would not have to worry about using
an external boot device or disk to do the work. However this would not be a
viable solution if you had a hard drive failure and were replacing the hard
drive the boot Operating Systems were on, another option.
Note: For the command line options (switches) all you have to do is type
at the command prompt the name of the program followed by a /? such as:
E:\ghost.exe /? this will give you a list of options that will allow you
to do other things with the program besides just create you image.
Making a ghost image:
Once you have your tools, start the system with the bootable
device. Then start the Ghost32 / 64 program, this is version 8 you may have a newer
version, when it is running the interface is the same,
the difference comes with the options. Ghost being a 16 bit DOS program has to
conform to DOS constraints. That being the naming convention: 8.3 which means
the name can only be eight characters and the extension can only be three
characters. Where as Ghost32 is a 32 bit program and the naming convention is
the same as any Windows name, 256 characters and any extension you want.
stress that if you do not use .GHO for the extension the program will not
restore the image when you need to use it!
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My version of Symantec
software is about six revisions old so the interface will look a little
different but the functions are the same.
Making a Symantec Ghost
Start splash screen, this is Ghost32, behind the splash
screen is the DOS command line box, If you close the DOS box it will close
out the program, leave it open. Click Ok.
The next screen is the main menu screen. I have opened the
menu down to create an image of a partition.
Note: You can select "Clone Drive" but there is a problem with the
option: You have to have the exact same make and model drive to restore
the clone image, thus the partition image is the best choice. (If you were
doing a batch of new computers clone would be the best choice because
doing partition the raw drive would have to have the partition created
before the image was written to the drive, with clone the partitions are
part of the image.
Once you select your image type the program will open up to
your hard drives. Be sure to select the correct drive. If you don't know
which drive or are unsure use the
Storage manager to get the properties of the
drive you want to image. Select your drive
you will see all the partitions on
the drive, select your partition you are making the image of, here I have
selected the C: drive
Select your storage drive and then name your image. If you are going to make an image of
more than one partition name them by the drive letter. I try to use the date
of the image, once you have more than two images it is hard to keep track of
the latest one.
Next you need to select how you want the image created,
use High compression because of space constraints, you may have very large
storage space and want to create the image in the least amount of time,
select Fast. No will not compress the img at all.
Note: If you plan on putting your image on
optical media consider the size of the image files and the actual media
capacity. Most images will be two or more files of 2 GB you may wind up with
ten files if you use low or medium compression when you make your image.
Select yes, the image process will start. The completion
time will depended on a couple of things: The size of the data on the
fragmentation of the partition, and the device you are using
to store the image.
Creating the image, the top bar is an estimate of
completion. The menu will show you amount of data copied and the time
Continue or Restart (Select Continue to do the next step.)
When you complete your image you would do well to check the image by verifying
the image. To do this from the menu go to local / check / Image file. This will
insure that when you go to restore the image it will restore for you.
Select check / image,
Select the drive where the image is stored,
Select the image.
Confirm you want to check the image. This is a
non-destructive check of the data and file structure.
Progress while the check is under way.
Check complete. If there was a problem with the image an
error would be displayed and text file written to the A: drive (you can
change the path) Read the text file it will tell you why the image is bad.
Fix the problem and create a new image.
Now store the image in a safe place, I suggest you put a copy on a cd if small
enough; if is to big then a DVD.
use a Windows 7 / 8 / 10 32 or 64 bit Emergency Repair Disk to make your ghost
image, the problem is you have to have the Ghost32.exe or Ghost64.exe program stored on
separate disk or media, you can not add the program to a ERD that you made with
the Windows 7 / 8 / 10 Backup system.
Now if you
need to restore the
ghost image you have a backup of the drive/partition.
You could use this Making a Ghost Image tutorial until you don't need
any assistance with creating your images.
Making a ghost image as a backup only when you
have made major changes to your Operating System or installed new files, if you
do it too much you will have a drive full of backups (I currently have over 300
GB of backups of the computers on my network...).
If you get
stuck or need to make a ghost.env file to set your special parameters do so
before you put the ghost program on a CD because the env file can not be
changed once it is on a CD. Use the Help function for the switches
(options) you want to use when you are making your images.
Now the bad news: MS has discontinue the program
for normal everyday computer owners. You may find a copy on some web sites that
sell computer software. However if you are in the corporate environment and can
afford it the programs (Ghost 32 bit and Ghost 64 bit) comes with the program
Ghostcast, be aware that this is an expensive program for making/deploying
multiple images across a network to multiple computers at one time.
Or you could
use another imaging program.