Ghost 10 sucks for drive cloning....

Discussion in 'Dell' started by S.Lewis, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Stew, I've read all the dozens of posts in this thread,
    and I see your requirements and possible fixes.


    Casper XP. This is dedicated to just cloning
    Windows NT/2K/XP systems. It can take an
    entire drive or just a partition and put it onto
    another drive as that drive's entire contents
    (as in upgrading to a larger drive) or put a
    single copied partition in with other partitions
    on the destination drive. It copies the MBR
    and the boot sector and marks the clone
    partition "active" automatically. Casper XP
    does this all while Windows XP is running,
    and the clone's file system becomes accessible
    immediately after the cloning. Ghost requires
    a restart after cloning and it requires .NET
    Framework to be installed. Acronis' True Image
    doesn't do single partition cloning, but instead
    does only entire-HD-to-entire-HD cloning..

    Casper XP costs $50, but you can download
    a free 30-day trial copy from Future Systems
    Solutions' website at .


    When starting up a cloned system for the first
    time, the "parent" OS should not be visible to
    the clone. If the clone sees its "parent", random
    entries in its file table will point not to the cloned
    file, but to the original file in the "parent". When
    the "parent" is removed, those pointers (i.e.
    "shortcuts") will point to.... nothing! How this
    mechnism works, I don't know, but it plays havoc.
    If the clone is started for the 1st time in isolation,
    it "comes of age" as an independent system and
    thereafter it can be booted with its "partent" OS
    visible to it with no problem. It will just consider
    the "parent" OS as just another Local Disk with
    a file system that is accessible like any other
    partition in the system.

    The easiest way to make the "parent" OS
    invisible is to merely disconnect the source hard
    drive before the clone is started for the 1st time.
    Another way is to "hide" the "parent's" partition
    using one of many 3rd party utilities such as
    Partition Magic. This is dangerous, though, and
    I don't recommend it.

    When the source OS is disconnected, the clone's
    hard drive will (in most BIOSes) move to the
    head of the hard drive boot order, so its MBR
    will automatically get control at startup. Since
    the clone's partition on the destination hard
    drive will be marked "active", its boot files will
    be handed control by the partition's boot sector.
    Since the clone's boot.ini file will already be set
    up for booting from the hard drive that is at the
    head of the BIOS's hard drive boot order, it will
    boot fine.

    The clone will call itself "Local Disk (C:)", and it
    will assign some other available letter to the
    "parent" OS's partition. When the "parent" is
    running, it will, of course, call itslef "Local Disk (C:)",
    and it will assign some other available letter to the
    clone system.

    You can thereafter make the clone part of a dual-
    boot system merely by adding another entry to
    the "parent's" boot.ini file and by extending the
    decision time for the human operator to choose
    which OS to boot by setting the TIMEOUT value
    to something like "10" to give a 10-second
    timeout. The syntax of the boot.ini file, though,
    is a topic for another thread.


    If the primary hard drive should fail, just swap
    it out for the clone hard drive and reboot.
    You might (with some BIOSes) have to set
    the new hard drive's jumper the same way as
    the failed hard drive, but that's not necessary
    for all BIOSes.

    An even faster swap can be accomplished with
    removeable hard drive trays. I have one in my
    system, and it works very well. The swap can be
    done without even opening the PC's case. Just
    shut down, slide out one tray and slide in the
    replacement, and re-boot.

    A good maker of removeable hard drive trays
    is Kingwin, who calls them "mobile racks".
    See: (whose website is
    temporarily shut down right now), and navigate
    to products/mobile racks. They also make
    "mobile racks" for SATA hard drives. The
    rack/tray pair goes for about $25 online, and
    extray trays go for about $17. Kingwin's trays
    are all-aluminum with locking power switches
    and levers for easy tray insertion/locking.

    I also use "round" IDE cables for less crowding
    inside the PC case, and they work great.
    The ones I use have the aluminum braid around
    it for extra shielding. An online supplier with a
    combination of good selection and price is
    Silicon Valley Compucycle. See:


    The fastest recovery can be made with dual-booting.
    Just keep 2 hard drives in the machine at all times,
    and periodically clone the primary OS's partitions
    to the clone OS's partition on the 2nd hard drive.
    If the primary system gets corrupted (perhaps by a
    virus), just re-boot and choose the other OS from the
    boot menu. This is great for recovery during stock

    If the primary hard drive fails completely, which hard
    drive will be seen as the head of the hard drive boot
    order is uncertain, but if you have identical dual-entry
    boot.ini files in the "active" partitions on both hard
    drives, one of them will get control, and choosing one
    or the other menu option should boot up the clone.

    In my own system, I have 2 fixed hard drives and 1
    hard drive on a removeable tray. The removeable
    hard drive is large enought to hold more than 8
    backup OSes - each archived at various times,
    some on primary partitions, some in an Extended
    partition, and I can boot to any of them with just a
    system restart. It requires a good knowledge of
    the boot.ini syntax, though.

    To make the source hard drive invisible when I
    start a clone for the 1st time, I have the source
    hard drive's power cables on DPST switches,
    so I don't have to open the case. That can get
    tricky, though, as one hard drive doesn't like to
    have the other hard drive on the same cable
    data-connected but not power-connected.


    I think the problem you're currently experiencing
    with Ghost may be due to not copying the MBR,
    not marking the clone's partition "active", or not
    isolating the clone during its 1st bootup. Some
    BIOSes (unlike my Dell Phoenix BIOS) are hard-
    coded to Master/Slave jumpering to determin boot
    order, so that may also have something to do with
    boot confusion (but unlikely).

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 8, 2006
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  2. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    (Tip o' the hat to ya.........)

    I feel your pain.

    S.Lewis, Feb 8, 2006
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  3. Karolinska Sjukhuset?

    Swedish nurses?

    I wish I could feel your "pain". :)

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 8, 2006
  4. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    Thanks, Tim.

    Helpful and interesting read. Not to be rock-headed about the matter, but I
    had to have a solution and quickly. I'll certainly acknowledge most of the
    distinctions and conditions you have pointed out that Ghost (and some other
    imagine/cloning utilities) require. Further, I've posted that my brother had
    success using CasperXP, so I could certainly recommend that others at least
    try it for their specific needs.

    I ended up sticking with CompuApps DriveWizard. Free 30-day trial for those
    who want to see if it works for them before they buy it. I've used it for
    over 2 years on many of my machines here at home with success. It's not
    sexy. My version will not work with network drives, though the Pro version
    allegedly will. It's a great product and for me it's predictable and
    reliable. Not a lot of bells and whistles.

    Even with DW, however, I could create errors on the "new OS" disk when I
    used the DW "mirror" function. I suspect those errors were due to many of
    the same reasons you've listed below. The method I've used with DW that
    works with *NO* subsequent drive disconnection is the "drive upgrade"
    function. I've enclosed a link to a screen shot below. By using this
    method, one is still overwriting all data on the destination disk, but for
    some reason both disks remain bootable when connected individually. I won't
    attempt to speculate as to why this is, but only say that it is a method
    that has worked for me on both Dell and non-Dell systems I have. ( I included my entire desktop as
    ctl/alt/v/print screen wouldn't have captured both DW dialogue boxes, since
    only one was active ).

    Now that I've actually completed the job with the machine in question (a
    Dimension 5150 w/dual SATA 80gb WDs), I'm taking some time to learn what I
    could've done better.

    I have a couple of extra machines with dual disks sitting around. In
    fairness to Ghost 10, I'm going to see if I can figure out (with the help of
    some excellent suggestions in this thread) where I was boinking everything
    up. It's always more fun to crash machines when there's no customer data at

    Thanks again.

    S.Lewis, Feb 8, 2006
  5. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    ^^^^^^^misplet "swedish bikini team".^^^^^^^


    S.Lewis, Feb 8, 2006
  6. S.Lewis

    Markeau Guest

    Interesting. Even though I have been using various versions of the
    older Drive Image for almost a decade, as I recently commented I, too,
    have had intermittent problems of a cloned drive only booting to the
    blue Welcome screen, even if the orig drive was out of the system,
    etc. If a fixmbr did not fix it then I would have to do a windows
    repair. Now hearing the latest Ghost is no better I will probably
    start using Casper.
    Markeau, Feb 9, 2006
  7. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    Odd situation. Thanks for adding your post. Try a trial of CasperXP or
    DriveWiz and see if you have any luck.

    S.Lewis, Feb 9, 2006
  8. S.Lewis

    Brian K Guest

    See Method #3 and the explanation.
    Brian K, Feb 9, 2006
  9. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    BTW, one of the links mentions dual-booting between (2) hard disks. That
    all works great and swell until the boot.ini (which resides on the C:\
    drive) dies. In that case, both disks are unreachable (temporarily).

    Gimme (2) separately bootable disks any day.

    S.Lewis, Feb 9, 2006

  10. Full Drive Upgrade copies the entire contents of one hard drive
    to another. With that goes the boot.ini/ntldr/ trio of
    boot files, the MBR, the boot sector, and the "active" flag. The resulting
    clone is an *exact* and *entire* copy of the source hard drive. Why are
    you surprised that both can boot up individually?

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 9, 2006
  11. S.Lewis

    Brian K Guest

    I don't think so Stew. The way Dan describes "dual" booting implies each OS
    partition is independent and not reliant on the others. For example, if you
    had three WinXP partitions then each would have its own boot.ini. You could
    delete any one or two of these partitions and the others would still boot
    (via pqboot etc). All of the OS partitions, when active, are C drives.

    I think you are describing the "Microsoft" way of dual booting.
    Brian K, Feb 9, 2006

  12. You can just as easily have two hard drives that *both* dual-boot.
    The "active" partitions on both hard drives would each have the
    trio of boot files - boot.ini/ntldr/ Each refers to itself
    in the boot.ini entry with the "rdisk(0)" argument. Each refers to
    the other hard drive as "rdisk(1)". The hard drive at the head
    of the hard drive boot order will always get control and pass it
    to its own ntldr which puts up the menu derived from its boot.ini .
    At that point, you can select "this" hard drive's OS or "that" hard
    drive's OS - regardless of which one is in control at that point.

    This is exactly the situation resulting from cloning - each hard
    drive has the exact copy of boot files that the other hard drive
    has. If each has a 2nd entry in its boot.ini menu, each can boot
    from "itself" (i.e. rdisk(0)) or from the "other" (i.e. rdisk(1)) hard
    drive. At least, that is the behavior that I observe in my own
    Dell Dimension's BIOS - that "rdisk(0)" refers to the head of
    the hard drive boot order, and "rdisk(1)" refers to the next drive
    in the hard drive boot order. If you just reset the hard drive
    boot order in the BIOS, you control which hard drive controls

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 9, 2006
  13. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    I'm not. I thought someone in the thread had posted that leaving both drives
    connected after such a copy was sure to produce errors.

    I don't , however, understand (within DW) the technical distinction between
    "mirror" and "full upgrade".

    Mirroring w/o booting the clone individually does produce errors.

    Perhaps we're beating a dead boot record here.

    S.Lewis, Feb 9, 2006
  14. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    I think you are probably right - which is the manner in which I've set them
    up either on single disk or two disks.

    S.Lewis, Feb 9, 2006
  15. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    Perhaps, either by manipulating the boot device order or disabling either
    given disk. Ah the possibilities are endless......

    S.Lewis, Feb 9, 2006
  16. S.Lewis

    Brian K Guest

    Brian K, Feb 9, 2006

  17. According to the DriveWizard description, ,
    a DriveUpgrade (what it also calls "copying drives") expands
    partitions on the destination drive to have the same proportional
    space as they had on the source drive. DriveMirroring just
    makes a direct copy of whatever is on the source drive onto
    the destination drive. Both should boot up with the same files
    and in the same way.

    But as I've pointed out, starting up the clone for the 1st time
    while it can see the partition of the "parent" OS will lead to
    eventual problems with the clone (and clone only). But
    *after* it has been started up in isolation from the "parent",
    it can subsequently be started with the "parent" visible to it
    and there will be no adverse effects. Just letting the two
    OSes see each other is NOT a problem. It's only a problem
    if the clone sees the "parent" when the clone is started for
    the 1st time. Please let that sink in - the two OSes CAN
    see each other with no problem, as long as... etc. etc.

    Letting the "parent" OS see and access the new clone
    before the clone has booted for the 1st time is NOT a
    problem. For instance, immediately after the cloning has
    completed, while the "parent" OS is still running, I modify
    the boot.ini file in the clone and I place a file on its Desktop
    with a name that idenitfies its hard drive, partition, and
    creation date. At that point, the clone is not running as an
    OS, it's just a file system, and no harm is done. Then I shut
    down and disconnect the source hard drive (by throwing its
    power switch) and re-boot with the clone automatically at
    the head of the hard drive boot order, no fiddling with
    jumpers or going into the BIOS necessary. The clone boots,
    then I shut down, throw the power switch on the source
    hard drive to "on", and re-boot, and the "parent" OS starts up

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 9, 2006

  18. Yes, and confusing due to the dearth of documentation - both
    by Microsoft and by the PC manufacturers about their BIOSes.
    I recently posted in this NG the results of my experiments with
    my Dimension which has a Phoenix Technologies-licensed BIOS.
    The *only* way to find out the exact meaning of the "rdisk()"
    parameter in the boot.ini file was to do brute force experiments
    such as the ones I described. Neither Microsoft, nor Phoenix
    Tech, nor Dell describe the meaning at all. The only definition
    that Microsoft gives is that "rdisk()" corresponds to the IDE
    adapter's hard drive "ordinal" position. "Ordinal position"?
    Where is *that* defined? Nowhere. It's left up, apparently,
    to the PC manufacturer when it diddles with the BIOS code.

    Timothy Daniels, Feb 9, 2006
  19. S.Lewis

    Brian K Guest


    I did some tests today, "cloning" an OS on the first HD to unallocated space
    on the second HD. I was trying to make it fail but I couldn't. I removed the
    first HD immediately after the clone. Next I left the first HD for a few
    boots after the clone. No matter, when the second HD was jumpered as a
    master, it booted. I used Partition Magic, Ghost 9 and CasperXP.

    One thing I couldn't do was boot to the second HD while both HD's were
    present. It always booted to the first HD OS. When the second WinXP was
    chosen from the Microsoft boot menu (reflecting the dual entry boot.ini), it
    still booted to the first HD. pqboot didn't work either. How do you do this?
    I wanted to "corrupt" the MBR so I could try fdisk /mbr.
    Brian K, Feb 9, 2006
  20. S.Lewis

    S.Lewis Guest

    Brian -

    Without a second entry in the boot.ini, the only way you'd have a chance at
    booting to the new OS would be to attempt to disable/turn off the
    original/master disk in BIOS, and even then I'm not sure that it would
    universally work.

    S.Lewis, Feb 9, 2006
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