Best way to Image PC (snapshot)

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Kevin Fosler, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. Kevin Fosler

    Kevin Fosler Guest

    I just did a reinstall of my D505 laptop after I <um... stupidly lol>
    ran a registry cleanup program that I later found out was meant for
    Windows 95,98, MP (I run Windows XP). Oops.

    I spent a whole weekend reinstalling everything and to Dell's credit
    they make it a less painful process by providing the drivers online in
    an easy to find, download, and install format.

    Now, I'd like to save an image at this point in time to come back to
    in case I should corrupt my laptop again. There are many programs out
    there -- I want one that is easy to use and foolproof :) (too much
    to ask?).

    If anyone has had any success I'd like to hear about it. The programs
    I am considering are Symantec Ghost, Drive Image 7 (but is it
    supported now that Symantec bought them out), and Retrospect (came
    with my external hard drive).

    Thanks for any info,
    Kevin Fosler
    Kevin Fosler, Sep 6, 2004
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  2. Edward J. Neth, Sep 6, 2004
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  3. Kevin Fosler

    David Nimon Guest

    As I just mentioned in a previous post, my Maxtor One-Step came with
    Retrospect 6.0. It sucks big time. I made an image of my C: drive on the
    external hard drive and Retrospect created NO catalog information on my hard
    drive! I shall be uninstalling the s/w and buying better stuff.

    FWIW, PC Mag in its Sept 21st issue rated back-up and imaging software.

    It gave Retrospective 6.5 4 1/2 stars but, in a related article on the
    Maxtor, severely criticized 6.0.

    For imaging, it gave Acronis True Image 5 out of 5.
    David Nimon, Sep 6, 2004
  4. Kevin Fosler

    Notan Guest

    I purchased True Image, not too long ago, and recently tried
    to contact Acronis to see if I was eligible for an upgrade.

    After numerous phone calls and e-mails, all with no response,
    I've come to the conclusion that their customer service and/or
    tech support sucks.

    While they got my money the first time, they sure won't get it

    Caveat Emptor!

    Notan, Sep 6, 2004
  5. Kevin Fosler

    Markeau Guest

    I have had excellent results with Drive Image 7. It will image the c:
    drive even while you continue to work within windows, and yes it
    really does work great. I've restored at least 3x so far (from an
    external USB drive) with no problems. And it can write/read to/from
    an external USB or network drive.
    Markeau, Sep 6, 2004
  6. Kevin Fosler

    Adam Frankel Guest

    BootIt NG at

    has never let me down although the interface isn't the most user-friendly.

    I tend to set up any new machine exactly how I like it and then use BootIt
    to image the system. I never need to reformat or use the OS CD again, any
    time I feel like freshening up my pc I just restore the image.

    Done it dozens of times.
    Adam Frankel, Sep 7, 2004
  7. Kevin Fosler

    Hank Arnold Guest

    I've used Ghost and BackupMyPC with success. Ghost is the better of the two,
    but BackupMyPC will do the backup live, while Ghost *requires* a boot to
    "DOS" for the backup. I've used DI in the past, but I like Ghost better.
    I've never liked Retrospect. The interface was always clunky to me and the
    backup speed was slow (this was with an old version, though)....

    My vote would be for Ghost....
    Hank Arnold, Sep 7, 2004
  8. I own both Ghost and Drive Image 7.

    Ghost requires a boot into DOS to work, and you need some quite in-depth
    knowledge of DOS drivers to make any external drive visible to it. It's fine
    if you are ghosting between two drives on the same machine (unlikely on a
    D505), but useless across networks or to USB or Firewire drives.

    I carefully placed my copy of Ghost in the circular filing cabinet, and
    purchased Drive Image 7; perfect. It runs in Windows, and will ghost your
    laptops hard disk to any other disk it can see in My Computer (e.g., USB,
    Firewire, network). Give it plenty of time to do the job, however; I usually
    set mine off overnight.

    I haven't tried any others, just these two...but out of them, Drive Image is
    the daddy :)


    Peter Connolly, Sep 7, 2004
  9. Kevin Fosler

    Ted Zieglar Guest

    No disrespect to Peter, but I'm a great fan of Norton Ghost 2003. Sure, it
    takes more technical knowledge to use it correctly, but I'm OK with that.
    And yes, it reboots your computer into DOS to do its work, but that way
    there is no doubt that you're capturing everything on the disk.

    The 2003 version of Ghost does indeed support operation across networks and
    to USB and firewire drives.

    I previously used Drive Image and did not like it. No amount of begging or
    bribes could persuade DI to image directly to CDs, at least not for me.

    Of course, this is all academic now that Symantec owns Drive Image. In fact,
    the next version of Ghost incorporates some of the more user friendly
    features of Drive Image.

    I find Ghost 2003 to be quick: I can image my entire primary hard disk to my
    second hard disk in just minutes. Imaging directly to DVD takes longer, of
    course, but that's because writing to optical media takes longer than
    writing to an internal hard disk. But overnight? Not with Ghost 2003. My
    reasonably filled 120GB disk images to DVD in about 40 minutes. The
    integrity check takes less time, 'though I can't remember off the top of my
    head how long.

    On those few occasions that I've needed to restore an image, Ghost worked
    flawlessly every time.
    Ted Zieglar, Sep 7, 2004
  10. Kevin Fosler

    Notan Guest

    For whatever it's worth, using Drive Image 7, it takes (me) approximately
    35 to 40 minutes to image a 120 GB drive, including "verification."

    Notan, Sep 7, 2004
  11. Kevin Fosler

    Kevin Fosler Guest

    Thank you all very much for your input. I have decided to do two
    images, one using Drive Image 7, and the other using Ghost 2003. One
    of my drives came with Ghost 2003, so I have that, and will purchase
    Drive Image 7. By doing two images, I should be covered (have a
    backup of a backup, using different software).

    Thanks again,
    Kevin Fosler

    P.S. -- I never want to do a complete reinstall of an existing PC
    again -- took me all weekend!!! Not fun.
    Kevin Fosler, Sep 7, 2004
  12. Kevin Fosler

    S.Lewis Guest


    If the OP is imaging from one HDD to a backup, then he might trial CompuApps
    DriveWizard. Trial it and see if it works for you. Did for me and I bought

    Takes about 12 minutes to mirror my rougly 35gb of space used (2.0AGhz with
    512mb RAM)

    S.Lewis, Sep 7, 2004
  13. Kevin Fosler

    Notan Guest

    Check with some of your local, or online, stores (CompUSA, Best Buy,
    Fry's, etc.)...

    Lately, with rebates, I've seen Drive Image for as low as $9.95!

    Notan, Sep 7, 2004
  14. Kevin Fosler

    Ted Zieglar Guest

    Drive Image 7 is old software - are you aware of that? Symantec bought the
    company that wrote Drive Image 7 (Powerquest) and is about to release a
    product that combines Ghost and Drive Image. Considering that Symantec did
    not write the code for Drive Image, their support for the product will be
    limited. On the other hand, Ghost 2003 is Symantec's product and it's a
    current version (there never was a Ghost 2004).

    Whichever product you purchase, don't pay full price for Symantec software.
    Their products are heavily discounted and rebated, so the full retail price
    is meaningless.
    Ted Zieglar, Sep 7, 2004
  15. Ted,

    No problem with an opposite view - there's room for us all!

    Just a note on the overnight thing; I was imaging across a wireless network!
    I could take the hard disk out and put it in my server, but I don't use the
    machine overnight anyway, so I just let it get on with it.

    It's really a case of try a few, and choose what works for yourself.


    Peter Connolly, Sep 7, 2004
  16. I use Ghost 2003 as well and my experience pretty well mirrors your
    comments. However, I have never been able to make a bootable DVD so as
    not to have to carry the floppy drive on the road in case disaster
    strikes and I need to replace my image while in the hinterlands. Have
    you or anyone else had any success doing this? Ghost sees my USB Sony
    DVD drive as well as my USB/Firewire external hard drives. I have a
    Dell 300m that I have imaged to the Sony drive and did a restore from
    the Dell USB DVD drive but I get error messages if I try to make
    bootable DVD disks. All operations work fine using the USB floppy drive
    with the Ghost bootable floppy.

    Robin Brumfield, Sep 8, 2004
  17. Kevin Fosler

    Ted Zieglar Guest

    I routinely make bootable DVDs with Ghost 2003. Try looking for your error
    messages in Ghost's knowledge base, or ask their tech support what they
    mean. Ghost works with plenty of DVD drives that aren't on their official
    list of supported drives (like mine, for example.)
    Ted Zieglar, Sep 8, 2004
  18. Do you do this with Ghost 2003 installed on the source machine? I did
    not install Ghost on the source machine but made the image using the
    standard boot floppy and then writing directly to the DVD drive. The
    option in the DOS mode to create the bootable DVD was presented prior to
    the image question and I chose it to make the DVD bootable, extracting
    the necessary files from the floppy. The knowledgebase is silent on
    this method. It only addresses making the DVD bootable by checking an
    option in Ghost since 2003 is supposed to have all of the necessary
    drivers contained therein. All of the documentation appears to declare
    that it works but it must be installed on the source machine. I will
    try and install Ghost on the source machine and see if it will create a
    bootable DVD from there.

    Robin Brumfield, Sep 8, 2004
  19. Kevin Fosler

    Ted Zieglar Guest

    Hmmm...never tried it that way. I do have Ghost installed on the source
    computer, but the diskette does all its work from DOS.

    Perhaps it has to do with the identification number that Ghost creates the
    first time you use it on the hard disk. Otherwise I could sell you my
    diskette - for a very reasonable price - and you wouldn't need to buy the

    From the GUI you can create a boot disk that includes a driver for a DVD
    player. Otherwise, you have to add the driver yourself (and modify
    autoexec.bat and config.sys accordingly.)
    Ted Zieglar, Sep 8, 2004
  20. Kevin Fosler

    Sparky Guest

    Huh? I don't think someone has to be a gearhead to check off USB2
    drivers to run Ghost 2003.
    Sparky, Sep 9, 2004
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