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Q: Restoring Computer to Previous Condition ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Restoring Computer to Previous Condition
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: rainman1-ga
List Price: $22.00
Posted: 13 Apr 2003 03:24 PDT
Expires: 13 May 2003 03:24 PDT
Question ID: 189888
I have Norton (SytemWorks 2000) Ghost. I wish someone to write me an
idiots (step by step) guide on how to back-up my computer to CD, and
then how to use the back-up, so that if anything goes wrong, I can
simply restore it to its former good working order. My understanding
of DOS is extremely limited, so PLEASE make it "totally idiot proof" 

Request for Question Clarification by rmn-ga on 13 Apr 2003 09:24 PDT
Do you to back up the entire computer, or just selected directories? 
Norton Ghost effectively makes a "ghost" or direct copy of a
computer's hard drive.  The problem with this is that most hard drives
are around 10-80 GB in size, while a CD can hold up to 700 MB (7/10 of
a GB).  It is highly unlikely that you will be able to back up your
entire computer (including programs and windows files) to a single CD.
 You could probably back up the computer to multiple CDs, however this
would require far more steps, which you may or may not want to get
involved with.  Otherwise, you could backup just your documents, so
that if and when you ever needed to use the backup, you would still
have everything you saved to your computer.  You would still need to
reinstall your programs from seperate CDs, however these should come
with your computer and be fairly straightfoward.  Please let me know
whether you wish to backup your entire computer, or just selected

Request for Question Clarification by feilong-ga on 13 Apr 2003 09:27 PDT
Norton Ghost 2000 has its own user's manual and other helpful
documents to guide you. You only need to install the software first
before you can access it.

Clarification of Question by rainman1-ga on 13 Apr 2003 10:12 PDT
Sorry, I did warn you I was NOT computer literate!

What I was after was a CD (or multiple CDs') that will OVERWRITE my
operating partiton if it goes pear shaped. My data does not need to be
backed up due to being on another partiton, but it takes me a long
time to install all the critical updates, customise etc.

Something I neglected to mention was I have used Partition Magic to
create 3 paritions; 2 for operating systems and 1 for just data, not
sure if that changes the procedure or not.

Total disk size = 80GB, Windows 2000 partiton = 11.8GB, 3.15GB used.

As for the Norton book, I found it about as clear as pea soup. Why can
these companies not include step by step guides that are of use to
people that are not totally computer literate like me.

Hope that clarifies what I need, if I've missed anything else please
let me know.


Request for Question Clarification by pwizard-ga on 17 Apr 2003 10:54 PDT
Greetings rainman1,

Having been a Ghost user for many years now and doing similiar backups
to what you are wanting to do (and restoring my boot partition on
several occasions) I believe I can help you out. However, it sounds
like you may be using a fairly old copy of Ghost so trying to create
extremely detailed instructions may be difficult as I only have Ghost
2002 and 2003 still installed on my personal system.

One thing I need for you to do is to verify the version of Ghost that
you actually have. You say that you have Ghost that came with
Systemworks 2000. One would assume that this would mean that you have
Ghost 2000, but it might not be the case. You can get the exact
version by loading up Ghost and looking at the bootup screen.

A support document I found on Symantec's website indicates that
"Norton Ghost 2000, and Ghost 6.04 and earlier do not support writing
directly to a CD-ROM". Which means that if you truly do have Ghost
2000, you would not be able to backup your partition directly to a
CDRW drive from within the software. You would have to create the
image onto a separate partition or disk and then burn it to CD from
within Windows. Later versions of Ghost support the burning of the
image directly to supported CDRW drives from within the software.

Another thing you may want to consider is the frequency of your
backups and the time involved to do them. I use Ghost to backup my C:\
partition about once every 2-3 weeks. My partition has about 17GB of
used data (started out with about 3-4GB like you). As my data grew
larger, it didn't make much sense to backup to CD as it took too long
and too many CDs. What I ended up doing was adding a second hard drive
to my system (about 20GB which are dirt cheap these days) and used it
to store my backups on. It allows me to create (and restore) the
images in a matter of minutes instead of hours (no cd switching either
so I can leave it and go) and it also leaves out the possibility of
there being a problem with one of your spanned discs. If you backup to
CD and end up using 5 cds for the backup, if CD #3 ends up with a
scratch or bad data on it, you're pretty much toasted.

Anyways, just something to think about. Regardless of how you decide
to do it, if you'll let me know the details from above, I'll be more
than happy to help you out as I've done it a zillion times.


Clarification of Question by rainman1-ga on 18 Apr 2003 12:27 PDT
Hi PWizard,

Thanks for the reply, I can confirm I do have Ghost 2000, and I can
easily make a partition to put my image onto with PartitionMagic, as
my disk size is 80GB.

I do not have a problem with the operating system partition getting
larger with data, as I have a separate partition just for my data. I
just do not want to spend all day downloading (56K Modem!) all the
critical updates, drivers etc and then spend time customizing the
interface every 5 or 6 months when I re-install Windows.

If necessary I can start from scatch (re-install windows) plus updates
and customising, and then back that up, as it would then take up less


Request for Question Clarification by pwizard-ga on 18 Apr 2003 13:36 PDT
OK, before I work on the step-by-step guide for you, let me understand
exactly how you want to use the software:

You want to erase your system partition every few months and re-load
it with a ghosted image that you have archived. Is this correct? I
thought you were wanting to create a backup of your system partition
like every couple of weeks in case of emergency, but essentially you
just want an easy way of restoring your computer to "freshly installed
and configured" condition whenever necessary. Right?

Just answer that for me so that I know your purpose and then I'll get
to work on those instructions for you. As I mentioned, there may be
some slight differences in the instructions and the actual steps, but
you should be able to follow it without any difficulty. The problem as
I mentioned before is that I'll be using Ghost 2002 to create the
instructions and you have Ghost 2000. I don't think it changed that
much over those two versions, so you should be good to go.


Clarification of Question by rainman1-ga on 19 Apr 2003 02:15 PDT
Hi PWizard,

You've hit the nail right on the head, that is EXACTLY what I wanted. 

Sorry I explained what I wanted so poorly.


Request for Question Clarification by pwizard-ga on 19 Apr 2003 18:14 PDT
After doing more reading on Symantec's website, it looks like versions
earlier than Ghost 2001 didn't include the "Ghost Boot Wizard" program
that is used for creating bootable floppy disks that contain generic
cdrom drivers, etc. If you still plan on placing your spanned backup
images onto CD, you're going to have to have a DOS boot disk that has
the cdrom drivers on it so that Ghost can access the cd drive when
it's run. Do you have such a disk? If you have Windows 98, you may
have a Windows 98 Startup Disk that has the drivers loaded on it or
you may be able to create one.

Now, if you don't plan to archive the images to CD, only to keep them
on a separate partition as I mentioned above, then this is not an
issue. I read also that Ghost 2000 sometimes has trouble reading from
CDs that were created with certain CDR software such as Adaptec's
Direct CD.

The last question I have is: What operating system are you using?
Windows 98SE? Windows ME? Windows XP?


Clarification of Question by rainman1-ga on 20 Apr 2003 02:23 PDT
Hello PWizard,

I have Windows 98, and I have a Windows 98 Startup Disk that has the
drivers loaded on it. However, if I understand you correctly, if I'm
putting the image on another partition, then the boot disk, CD writer
etc will not be needed will it?

In honesty I prefer the partition method you mentioned, as it seems a
LOT simpler. ;-)

Hope that answers your questions.

Subject: Re: Restoring Computer to Previous Condition
Answered By: pwizard-ga on 20 Apr 2003 12:03 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Greetings rainman1,

I'm happy to put together a guide for you on how to use Norton Ghost
to create a backup image of your primary boot partition and also how
to restore that image as necessary. Ghost is the program I have been
using for years to do that very thing and it's saved me on more than
one occasion.

Before I get started on the guide, I want to first recommend that if
you plan to use Norton Ghost on a regular basis, upgrading to the
newest version of the software would probably be a good idea. Going
from Ghost 2000 to Ghost 2003 should give you more options, better
compatibility and will probably result in faster image creation and
restoration. I always upgrade to the newest version each year as this
application has proven to be a true lifesaver for me.

You can buy it online for an average of $62.75 with a $20.00 mail-in
rebate when upgrading from an earlier version. That would get it down
around $42.75. You could also search Google's new product price finder
called "Froogle" ( and probably come up with
significantly lower prices for it.

Here's one store that lists it for $62.75 with the $20.00 mail-in

Now, on with the guide. Please keep in mind that this guide was
written using Ghost 2003 as a reference so some of the exact steps and
wording may be *slightly* different. Having used Ghost 2000 several
years ago, I don't believe the primary portions of the application
have changed in appearance much.

As I mentioned in my clarification requests, instead of backing up
your primary partition to a batch of CDs, I think you'll be better off
backing up to either another partition on the same hard drive, or even
better to another hard drive in the same system. Backing it up to hard
disk is much faster and easier to manage than multiple CDs. You can
create your backup image on ANY partition other than the one you're
backing up, as long as it has enough space to hold the image file(s).
So, you can either use one that you already have, or it might not be a
bad idea to create a new partition just for holding your backup
image(s). Just be sure to create the partition large enough to hold as
many images as you wish to keep at a time. The image files may be as
large as the amount of data you have on your primary partition when
it's backed up. However, they can be compressed when backed up to take
up considerably less space if necessary.

Once you have a space picked out to hold your images, you're ready to
get started. Norton Ghost runs from DOS mode only. You cannot run
Ghost from Windows. So, you'll need to either boot to DOS from a
floppy boot disk, or if you're running Windows 98, you can hit [F8]
when your computer says "Starting Windows 98" to bring up the Startup
Menu, then select "Command Prompt" from the menu.

Besides your floppy boot disk, I recommend that you also put your
Ghost executable file on a separate floppy disk so that it can be run
from a floppy disk as well. You'll just need to use Windows Explorer
to go to the Norton Ghost folder (wherever you installed it) and copy
the file GHOST.EXE (might be GHOSTPE.EXE or some variation) along with
the file GHOST.ENV (if it exists) to a blank floppy disk. These are
the only two files needed to run Ghost from DOS.

2003 NOTE: Versions of Ghost later than 2000 included a new program
called the "Ghost Boot Wizard" that you run from Windows which will
create for you a DOS boot disk with the drivers necessary for backing
up to CDRW, Firewire, etc. It also put's the GHOST executable on the
floppy and boots to it automatically when it's loaded.


STEP 1: Boot to DOS (using either method as mentioned above). Insert
the GHOST floppy disk that you made and type GHOST.EXE (or GHOSTPE.EXE
or whatever the name of your executable was that you copied over --
they used several different ones depending on the bundle). This will
start Norton Ghost.

STEP 2: Once Ghost is running, select OPTIONS. There should be an
option called "AUTONAME" (Auto names the next span file without
prompting). You'll want to check this option. Ghost can only create
2GB files before it has to create a new file. What this option does it
tell it not to stop and prompt you for a filename when this occurs.
This is purely optional for you as you may want to name the files
yourself and/or this option may not be present in Ghost 2000, but I
believe it is. After selecting this option, select SAVE SETTINGS (if
it exists) and then OK to exit back to the main menu. The only other
option you may want to check would the one concerning CRC errors. You
can have it ignore CRC errors if you wish, but it will prompt you
otherwise when it gets one and will ask you if you want to continue. I
would leave it unchecked until it becomes a problem for you.

Select the drive which holds the partition (it may skip this if you
have only 1 drive). Next, select the partition you want to backup by
pressing ENTER to make it highlight, then TAB down to the [OK] button
and press it. Now, select where the image file will be stored. Select
the drive letter and or the folder, then the filename you want to give
it. You don't have to add the .gho to the end, it will do it for you.
I always do something descriptive like "CDRV0420" so that I know
what/when it was created. There's also a description box for you to
use if you want. Next, press [ENTER] to continue on. It will ask you
"Compress Image File?". You have 3 options: No, Fast, High. This is
just your personal preference and/or how much time/space you have on
the destination drive. Use HIGH if space is limited or use NONE if you
want it to go as fast as possible and you have plenty of space. Choose
FAST for an equal balance. Next it will say "Proceed? Yes No". Just
look at the settings towards the bottom of the screen to verify that
they are correct (should say like partition from disk 0 to
D:\backup\cdrv0420.gho or something similar). After that, press YES to
proceed and then sit back and relax as it works. Once it's done, hit
OK, then QUIT back to DOS. You can then reboot back into Windows as


STEP 1: Boot to DOS (using either method as mentioned above). Insert
the GHOST floppy disk that you made and type GHOST.EXE (or GHOSTPE.EXE
or whatever the name of your executable was that you copied over --
they used several different ones depending on the bundle). This will
start Norton Ghost.

Select the image file that you want to use (browse to the drive where
you have it stored) and press [ENTER]. Next, select the drive and
partition that you want to restore the image to. VERY IMPORTANT TO
the partition, then TAB to the [OK] button and [ENTER] again to
continue on. You'll be asked "Are You Sure? YES NO". As you did when
creating the image, verify the settings at the bottom of the screen
(image file to the partition that you chose -- good way to know if
it's correct is by looking at the size of the partition you chose).
Press YES to continue with the restore process. After you're done,
you'll be asked to REBOOT or CONTINUE. You should be able to reboot
and Windows should be back at the way to had it stored on the day of
the backup.

** Remember, your Windows partition contains your system registry,
profiles, etc for the operating system. Anytime you install something
or make cosmetic changes to the system, that information is stored
here. So, even though you may install a program to a different
partition, important information is written to the registry on the
boot partition about the installation. This info is almost ALWAYS
necessary to make the application function properly. My point here is
to make sure that you install all of your necessary
applications/games/etc before creating your backup. Otherwise, you'll
still need to re-install whatever applications were installed after
the backup was created once it's restored. **

That's pretty much all there is to creating and restoring images with
Norton Ghost. It's a pretty easy to use application once you get the
process down. One other thing worth mentioning is a program called
"Ghost Explorer". I believe Ghost 2000 included this program. You can
use Ghost Explorer to open up the images that you've created in
Windows and restore single files and folders at a time if you'd like.
This program can also be used to split the image files into smaller
files that can be burned to a CD (your initial request). This program
is great for retrieving just a few files instead of having to restore
the whole partition if necessary.

If you ever need additional help with the application, while the
included documentation may not have been very helpful, Symantec's
online knowledgebase is actually pretty good and contains several
documents with helpful tips. I'll leave you with a few links to them
at then end of this answer.

I was happy to help you with this question and I hope my guide will
start you on your way to creating and restoring images with ease. If I
wasn't clear enough about anything or you need additional assistance,
please use the "ask for clarification" button and I'll be happy to
assist you further.


Symantec Support Assistant

Ghost 2000 Online Tutorials (demonstrates DRIVE image instead of

Norton Ghost Support Options

How to Split an Image File to Burn to a CDROM
rainman1-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
What can I say, everything I wanted and more.
Thank you.

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