Symantec Norton Ghost
Symantec's Norton Utilities are likely familiar to most computer users,
as versions of them have been around as long as the IBM-style PC
has been around. The Norton Ghost utility is a hard disk cloning program that
has seen many refinements over its history. It now sports a full Windows interface,
where older versions were DOS only, and includes many useful features such as the
ability to clone hard disks across IP and USB connections.
Aside from these handy tools, Ghost's major advantage over the freeware
utilities we feature here is one little feature that makes a big difference.
When you copy a partition (like your C: drive) from an old hard
disk to a newer, bigger hard disk, Ghost automatically adds the extra space on
the new disk into the partition. This means you are saved from having to
either create another partition to use the extra space, or using a third party
utility like partition magic to do the job. Very convenient.
decided to use Norton Ghost for
the 'commercial utility' portion of this tutorial as many users will already
have it available to them. Ghost is included in Symantec's popular 'Norton
Systemworks' software package.
several other excellent commercial disk cloning packages available, like Acronis Disk
What about Freeware disk cloning?
Are there freeware disk
cloning packages out there? The answer is yes, with some
qualifications. Like data restoration, disk cloning is an application
which business users will pay serious money for, so free disk-cloning software
is rare. That said, we have managed to locate a few applications that will
do the job and do it well, with a few limitations.
freeware cloning app we will look at is Miray's
Hdclone . The free version of this application is limited compared
to the professional version that they offer, but it's still very useful for the
purposes of this article.
What Hdclone does is to create
a bootable disk or CD which scans the drives on the system, prompts the user for
a source drive and a target drive, then copies the source data over the target
data. That's it. Fortunately that's all we need...
The one major limitation of
the free version of this application is that it can only copy to a target drive
that is larger than the source drive. Not smaller, not the same
size. This limits its value for business backup operations, but that's not
the point of this article. Helping you upgrade your hard disk and keep
your OS is the point of this article, so let's continue.
A second, lesser
limitation is the fact that cloning your smaller hard disk to a larger one with
Hdclone will leave you with a partition on the new hard disk the exact size of
your old hard drive, with the rest of the drive left as unpartitioned
space. This space can either be converted into a new partition for storage
or merged with the system partition using a program like Partition
Ranish partition manager
second freeware program we look at is Ranish partition
, which has been around for a while and serves as a more functional
alternative to the FDISK program included with Windows. Considerably
more functional, since it also includes disk cloning abilities.
Like Hdclone, these are more limited than Norton Ghost, in that they
will not automatically resize your partitions to take advantage of available
space when you clone a drive to a bigger drive.
major hard disk manufacturing companies offer free software on their websites
which can be used to analyse, partition and clone that company's products.
Examples of this include Maxtor's Maxblast 3 software
Digital's Data Lifeguard . While we will not go into detail about using these
utilities in this guide, online manuals are available from the manufacturer's websites
if you would like to test them out
Cloning Procedure; Part 1 and Part 2
We've separated this PCstats
Beginners Guide into two parts. The first part deals with the necessary
procedures that need to be carried out before and after the cloning process,
depending on whether you are moving to a new computer or just moving WindowsXP
onto a newer drive on the same computer.
Part 2. deals with the
specifics of using Norton Ghost, Hdclone and Ranish Partition Manager to do
the actual cloning process. During the course of following the
instructions in the first part, you will be instructed to see the specific
directions for the cloning program you are using, which are in the second part
of this section.
important to stay awake and alert while you are performing the disk cloning
procedures we detail below. Even though modern disk cloning programs are
significantly more user friendly than they used to be, it is still quite possible to
accidentally erase your data while attempting to copy a drive.
Generally, this occurs when the user chooses the wrong source and target drives,
and accidentally copies an image of the blank, new drive over the old drive
containing his or her data. While you still may be able to get your data
back in this instance (see PCstats' Data Recovery Guide for help), it's better
to avoid mishaps altogether by paying attention throughout the procedure.
!! IMPORTANT NOTE
!! Before you attempt to try any of the procedures outlined in this
informational guide, please backup your critical data. If you skip a step
and something bad happens during the procedure that results in a corrupted
image of your drive, the data may not be retrievable. So, please make sure you a
backup all your data before you begin.