Backup/Imaging/disk organisation

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: Feb 5 2005

Have browsed through the forum regarding the above topic. I noted the threads from last year regarding Ghost / Drive Image etc. And would like to hear the experts of their opinion regarding the following:

You previously mentioned problems with a previous version of Ghost.
1) Anyone tried Ghost 9 and the imaging tools therein?
2) Does the imaging tool require identical disk setup (partition size, block size) or can you image a 20 GB 5.3 MB/block and install that image on a 160 GB 36.4 MB/block disk?
3) As I read on Symantecs webpage you can restore only part of an image file. How does this work?
4) Is there really no backup program that will assure a full system backup file per file for reinstallation? I have downloaded "Backup MyPC" and this reports files which could not be locked. Is this not good enough?
4) What is the difference between the following 3: a) system disaster recovery set and b) full backup or c) system disk image ?

5) I have used a couple of weeks searching for the perfect backup tool (both full/incremental data and full system backup/restore to empty disk) and have yet to find one that seems to do all you need. (preferably with system recovery directly from a bootable CD-R/DVD). Would be great to hear your opinions as of february 2005.



harlequin's picture
Joined: Aug 16 2000

1. no ... only used ghost up to version 2003
2. no ... only that restore area is big enough to accept the data that you want to restore to it.
3. pass ... never used it to do that , BUT , there has been a program called ghost-explorer which can allow you to extract particular files from a ghost image.
3.a. you can always think of a drive image as a massive zip or rar file , therefore it should in theory be easy to recover only the files you want.
4.a .... restores system to a specific point (usually supplied by the pc supplier and may still need you to re-validate serial etc for o/s )
b restores everything to the machine as of a particular backup point.
c. an image of only the o/s partition/disk
5. there are many out there.
different people prefer different ones.
i've always used ghost , though i also have driveimage and acronis software that i've installed but not used.

I make ghost images on a second partiton and then copy the image files to dvd-r.

I make an image of the basic o/s and essential software installed , that way i have a minimum fallback position.

I have yet to make a complete image of my system on any of my pc's.

the smallest setup would require backing up over 150GB , the largest would require backing up over 1/2 terrabyte. (500GB+)

Gary MacKenzie ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

ivor sax
Joined: Mar 28 2003

I use Norton Ghosty 2003 and I am not sure what you require but after much trouble with CD write I now back up the image of my whole hard drive image to another I use Win XP and a Sata hard drive and disconnect connect it after I have backed up to the ordinal drive, do you wish to image your hard drive if so there is a tutorial on Ghost 2003 it take 10 min to restore to C: drive I only have 9 Gb. ivor sax

Alan Craven
Joined: Jan 26 2001

I have just built a new system, switching from an Asus P4PE motherboard and Windows 2000 to an ASUS P4C800 and Windows XP2. I always use Ghost 2003 from floppy disk, and an external firewire hard disk was always recogised on the old system on any of the firewire ports - DV500, motherboard, Audigy. With the new system it is only seen reliably on a Matrox RT100 port. The various drivers appear to be the same manufacrurer, Texas, Via, etc, but the version numbers are different. The old motherboard etc has gone into another box, with Windows XP2, and Ghost 2003 works fine from floppy disk as before.

I have just bought the download version of Ghost 9, and used it once. you have to use it via Windows, but the operation is far less clunky.

When copying Ghost images to a new larger hard drive, the various partitions are increased in size proprtionately to occupy the entire larger disk. With Ghost 2003, this works flawlessly.

Joined: Mar 31 1999
4) Is there really no backup program that will assure a full system backup file per file for reinstallation?

Yes, the cheapest of all (provided you can temporarily install the drive to be backed up and the drive that is to hold the backup in another computer). It's called copy and paste. The backup is an identical clone of the original.

Ray Liffen

Joined: Aug 27 1999

Have to disagree with you on that one Ray - as you say, it needs two computers, so as long as you have £500 worth of spare hardware around, it's the cheapest solution! Also, it doesn't help laptop owners much, as removing laptop HDDs is a fiddly business, let alone slotting them into another machine.

It also means you have to physically remove your system disk every time you want to back up (and who wants to do that) - AND Cut and Paste will only pick up 'unhidden' files, so you must show hidden AND system files, which is just asking for an accident.

Software backup has to be the way to go - I use Acronis True Image 8 which I'm very happy with: it can create a system image without having to quit windows - it just works away in the background.

For non-system disks it can restore within windows, for the system disk you create a bootable CD or floppy and restore from there. Very easy.

My system disk image is about 1.3 gigs in size, and takes about eight minutes to restore. The images are compressed, and I keep a whole host of them on a back up HDD withing the computer. I've got it set so that the Program Files and My Documents get backed up incrementally at the end of the day.

John Farrar
Joined: Sep 13 2000
I use Acronis True Image 8 which I'm very happy with: it can create a system image without having to quit windows - it just works away in the background.

I concur with the above comment. TrueImage is an excellent backup tool. Download trial. The image can be written to CDs and DVDs as well as hardrives (internal and external).

Joined: Mar 7 1999

Since the subject of Acronis True Image 8 has been raised, I think I ought to comment on my experiences.

At first, my initial impression was hugely favourable.

Trouble arises though if the installation doesn't work properly and you attempt to uninstall it.

The uninstaller doesn't - uninstall, that is - and, if you are foolish enough to attempt to unpick the registry (something that I've done successfully with LOADS of programs) you can come a serious cropper, as I know to my own cost.

The PC I did this with stopped working and in the end I had to remove the boot hard disk, bung it in an external drive bay, copy off the critical data and then blat it and do a clean install.

If I thought I was alone in having problems, I wouldn't mention it, but Acronis's support forums have been alive with comments about such problems, and bemoaning the fact that the installer doesn't do a decent job.

I also discovered another foible the other day, when using the boot-up CD in an attempt to back up a new Dell PC - the program simply didn't see any system drive on the PC, possibly, I think, because the program may not properly support SATA hard drives.

Checking out the drive using PowerQuest's Parition Magic 8, it was clear that Dell had partioned it in three, but True Image was unable to even realise that there was a working drive in the system.

I would agree that when Acronis's program works, it is actually, rather fine, but personally, I'd not install the current version on another PC unless I already had a known good image of the system drive.

And that, of course, is a bit of a weird situation to put yourself in - installing a back up program on a PC only if you already have a known good back up of the PC.

Of course, the question then arises, as to what software to use, and I have to say I don't have a simple answer.

Six months ago, I'd have said PowerQuest Drive Image 7, but that's no longer available (post PowerQuest's take over by Symantec).

So the obvious program would be the latest version of Symantec's Norton Ghost (V9), which in theory combines technology from PowerQuest's DriveImage and the previous version of Ghost.

Trouble is, so much of Symantec's software seems to cause more problems than it cures that I haven't the courage now to try out the latest version of Ghost because I haven't got a spare sacrificial PC and would have to use it on something important.

Oh, and I was scared off Ghost by the fact that when I used the previous version, it killed the boot loader on a PC, at which point I found dozens of page on Symantec's site explaining in massive detail various possible cures for this problem and that itself scared the hell out of me, even ignoring the fact that none of them worked for me.

I can't remember precisely how I got out of jail that time, but I'm 95% sure it involved using the boot floppies from PowerQuest's Partition Magic 8 - which, as I recall, automagically sorted it out without me having to apply any brain power.

Bob C