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Review of Norton Ghost 14.0

Norton Ghost 14.0 (March 2008)
A Backup Software Review
by Terje Ronneberg

From the hundreds of backup software programs available. I chose Norton Ghost 14.0 to be one of the top 7 choices to consider based on a few simple deductions as outlined at: Best backup software for Windows PC.

On this page I will share my thoughts and experiences with Norton Ghost 14.0.


Computer setup used for this review:

Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition 5.01.2600 Service Pack 2
Manufacturer Dell Dimension DV051
Mainboard Dell 0JC474
Processor Intel Pentium 4 640 @ 3200 MHz
Physical Memory 1024 MB (2 x 512 DDR2-SDRAM )
Video Card Nvidia Corp GeForce FX 5200 [NV34.3]
Hard Disk WDC (160 GB)
Hard Disk (Secondary Internal) WDC (80 GB)
DVD-Rom Drive _NEC DVD+-RW ND-3530A
Monitor Type Dell Computer DELL 2407WFP - 24 inches

I also have a 750GB Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus external hard disk attached via a USB port.


Downloading/Buying:
A few years ago, I bought Norton Ghost 2003, and I have been using it since, and I have been happy with it. It has been my main backup software. I have used it to create backups of my main hard disk onto a secondary internal hard disk. And I have also used it to create backups of my main hard disk onto DVD's.

Ghost 2003 does not allow you to backup individual files and folders, it is only able to create whole hard disk backup images. However, the latest version (Norton Ghost 14.0) offers the ability to backup only selected files and folders, as well as other features, such as automated backup scheduling.

So, I decided to upgrade to the latest version of Ghost. I went to the Symantec website and purchased the upgrade, and downloaded the required files. Link for purchasing: Norton Ghost 14.0

If downloading the files is not an option, you can also order the software to be sent to you on CD.

There were two large files to download:
1) The .Exe installation file size: 89.2 MB
2) Symantec Recovery Disk ISO file: 167 MB


Creating Recovery Disk:
After downloading them, it was required that the ISO file be burned on to CD, burning an ISO file onto a disk is not the same as burning other data on a CD.

The burning software I have on my computer does not allow me to burn ISO files onto CDs. So I downloaded ISO Recorder from http://www.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm and used that to create the Recovery Disk.
 


Installation:

  • Double-clicked the downloaded exe file, followed the prompts. Installation went smoothly. It did not removed or require me to remove the old version (Ghost 2003), I can still use either one.

Creating Backup:

  • Started the program by clicking the icon on the system tray (the area next to the clock in the right bottom corner of windows XP)
     
  • Clicked "Run or Manage Backups":
    http://backup.info/pics/album/ghost/picture001.jpg
     
  • On the next page ticked "Backup My Computer" (This is a full image backup of my whole hard disk including my documents, and system files), and I also chose to "Back up My Documents" and chose the destination as my external drive at F:
    http://backup.info/pics/album/ghost/picture002.jpg
     
  • I followed the prompts. I chose to "Run first backup now"
    http://backup.info/pics/album/ghost/picture005.jpg
     
  • The software began the backup
    http://backup.info/pics/album/ghost/picture006.jpg
     
  • The full backup of the hard disk took 38 minutes. The size of the backup was was 49.5 GB It contains all the data on my hard disk. That is over 150,000 files. Uncompressed they take up 53.6 GB
  • It then begun a separate backup of "My Documents" this took several hours, and created a collection of about 77,000 files, and this backup took up 85.4
    My documents contained on C: 6.11 GB of data on 38,228 files in 2,818 folders.
    The backup of My documents on F: 85.4GB of data on 77,157 *.fbf files, in 304 folders.

    I am very curious as to why the backup of My documents is so much larger than the original data, I will look into that later.
  • Important Note: If you plan to burn the backup onto DVD's or CD's as well as your hard disk, I did not fine a setting to change the maximum archive image file size in the settings. So it will create one large file, which may not fit on 1 DVD, so if you plan to create a backup onto DVD, you would have to create the backup directly onto the DVD.

Validating/Verifying the Backup

  • I couldn't find a function or option to verify/validate the backup. Perhaps this is done automatically.

Exploring the Backup Archive and Restoring Files from the Backup

  • I could explore the files within the archive file by simply clicking on it. This opened the Symantec browser.
  • I was able to recover files from the backup archive file, by selecting them with the mouse and right-clicking and choosing "recover" and then I could choose where the file would be recovered to.

Summary
Norton Ghost 14.0 is a great improvement to Norton Ghost 2003. It is a sophisticated piece of software with good features. However the ease of use may not be for the regular home user. Being a feature-full software package it is slower to load than other packages.

I would recommend this software to the more professional computer user, but for the regular home user I would recommend the
Acronis True Image 11 because it is more user friendly.

You can buy Norton Ghost 14.0 from their website, just click here.