Using Ghost

Although I have used both Drive Image and Ghost, I prefer Ghost. Why? Mostly personal preference, but I also like the amount of control it is possible to have with Ghost. Unfortunately, having that level of control means being willing to use DOS commands (switches) extensively. Drive Image is probably the easier of the two programs to use.

If you have Ghost, and you are interested in the switches, check out the switches.txt. I will only address one of the switches in this article. All the txt files in the Ghost package are good to read, but they can be overwhelming. Here I will try to give you just what you need to know for the user of a PC at home.

Ghost comes in two versions. The Personal Edition and The Corporate Edition. The Corporate Edition has additional features; it supports multicasting (copying to multiple sources), restoring or imaging over a network. Personal Edition does not have the -BATCH and -SURE switches available.

Ghost should be run in pure DOS. I have Ghost on my hard drive, but I also have it on a floppy (yes, Ghost is small). Copy Ghost.exe to a blank, formatted floppy as the first step. Now, use your Windows EBD (Emergency Boot Disk) to boot up (place it in the floppy drive and start or restart your computer). When it has finished booting, you should be at an A:> prompt. Swap the EBD for the Ghost disk and type: Ghost (Ghostpe if using Personal Edition).

Boom! There it is, the Ghost screen. If your EBD loads mouse drivers, you can use your mouse to navigate this screen. If not (like mine), then use the arrow keys. From the bottom up, the menu reads: Quit, Options, NetBios, Multicasting (Corporate Edition), LPT, and Local. I’m going to address the Options and Local areas in this tutorial.

Under Options you will find the following checkboxes (use the tab key to jump from one to the next). They are: Reboot (for auto-reboot at completion), Spanning (to span removable media, or if you set the split switch), Autoname (to name the parts of a spanned image), Allow 64K FAT clusters, Ignore CRC Errors and Override Size Limits. The only ones I suggest you may use are spanning and autoname.

The Local menu divides into 3 sections: Disk, Partition and Check. The Disk menu allows you to “Ghost” to Disk, Image or From Image. This means copying the entire hard drive, including partition tables to a new disk, to an image, or restoring the entire hard drive from an image. If your hard drives are exactly the same size, you may find this a useful procedure. The Partition menu is divided into the same three choices, and works the same way, except it only affects what is inside a partition. It does not copy the partition tables, so it is especially useful when moving to that bigger, faster hard drive that you just set up with FDISK. The Check menu gives you only 2 choices: Image File or Disk. After you have created a copy with Ghost, either an Image or another drive, you can use this menu to double check that everything was copied correctly.


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