Ghost – Drive Copying

So I said to Joe:

“I can’t face another Windoze install, Joe. Things ARE better with the full copy CD I bought – at least no more updates from Win98 to Win98 SE and it’s much faster.

But I still have to install my drivers, optimize Windoze, download the updates, install my utilities, install my programs and games (actually only one-Unreal Tournament), check for errors, adjust my fonts, set my Windoze colors, put up my desktop art, reinstall my favorites from my Zip drive and start collecting my e-mail addresses all over again.

I tell ya Joe, I just can’t face it again! I’m going out to do something desperate: I’m broke but I’m going to buy a…a…a CDR…W…and…..and burn my own copy of my Hard Drive!”

I thought I’d done a pretty good job of keeping the strained tones of desperation out of my voice, but Joe’s cautious, quiet, calming voice told me I had failed.

“Calm me down Joe”, I said.

“Alright Dan, what are you going to use the CDR for?”

“Jeeze Joe, I thought I just told you that.”

“No”, said Joe. “I mean what else are you going to use it for?” Joe asked.

“Oh, nothing,” said I, I replied. “I don’t record music, I don’t… whatever everyone else uses CDR for, I don’t.”

“Well,” said Joe, “do you have an extra hard drive?”

“EXTRA HARD DRIVE! JOE!” I plaintively exclaimed! “Joe, I can’t stand to install Windoze on the drives I’m using. Why would I want to install on another dr…”


The very patience in Joe’s voice brought me up short.

“Yes Joe?”

“If you’re not going to use a CDR for anything else and you have a spare hard drive – any old drive will do – why not use Norton GHOST to back-up and then restore your current drive when things go wrong?”

GHOST?“, I asked.

“Sure. It came with those Soyo boards you bought…have you still got a copy?”

“I’ve got about three of ’em, Joe.”

“Well just go into ‘My Computer’ and stick a floppy in your drive. Use FORMAT to erase and install a copy of Windows System Files. Then put the Norton CD in your ROM drive. Now just drag-n-drop the GHOST icon onto your A: drive floppy.”

“I’m done, Joe.”

“OK,” Joe continued, “just shut down and pull the ribbon cable from the IDE channel to your CD-ROM, hook it to you spare hard drive and power it up. You have two systems you want to back up, so make two partitions on your spare HD. Then call me back.”

“Thanks Joe.”

I took a 5400 RPM Western Digital hard drive and hooked it up. Then I set my system to accept its presence and boot to it. I set up two equal partitions – a DOS Partition and an Extended DOS Partition.

I rebooted and used FDISK to FORMAT the DOS Partition (now drive E:), and the Extended DOS Partition (now Drive D:).

“Hello Joe. I’m ready.”

“OK. Now just boot to the GHOST floppy you made.”

“I’m at the A: prompt, Joe” said I.

“Type ‘GHOST.EXE’. ” said Joe.

Tick tick tick – A GHOST window appeared, (all in gray and white, spooky).

“Theyyyyy’re Baaaaack! I mean, the window’s up, Joe.”

“Alright, click on the ‘OK’ button. Now click on ‘Local’, then click ‘Partition’. Then, ‘To Partition’.” Joe explained that if I had only one partition on each drive I would use disk to disk instead.

“Now select your Source Drive. Do you know which one it is?”

“Yeah Joe it’s the big one” said I.

“Then select it using the ‘arrow keys’, and press ‘Enter’.”

A new window appeared, asking for the ‘Source Partition’. As there was only one partition, I just clicked ‘OK’. The next window asked for the ‘Destination Drive’. I choose the smaller drive. Then ‘Source Partition’ appeared. I chose the first one, as either would do.

“Now just click OK”, said Joe.

Joe and I talked for a few minutes – really, just a few. When I hung up the phone and looked at my monitor, Norton Ghost had completed! I now had an exact copy as a backup; if something blows up, I “Ghost” the backup drive onto the main drive and I’m back as of my last update.

“Never again,” I muttered, “never again.”

Alright…..if I switch motherboards, I’ll probably have to do a Windoze reinstall as the GHOST Drive restores ALL your settings, right down to the font you use. But the feeling swelled within me:


Ghost is a Norton (Symantec) product – if you don’t have a motherboard freebie, it is available in computer stores.

Email Dan

9/27/00 – More great GHOST Tips:

From Jim Springer:

“I’ve got another very useful tip using Ghost: If you format a drive (in fat 32), make an image of the formatted drive. This Ghost image will be incredibly small and fit on a floppy along with Ghost.exe. Next time you need to format that 40 gig drive, Ghost it using that image – you’ll format a 40 gig drive in under 10 seconds. :)”


From Joe:

“I threw together a little ghost how-to myself, after writing email after email to friends. You can get it HERE.

Joe aka ‘Radboy’

From Bob Croninger:

“On deleting the ENUM key in the registry: I would caution some users in doing this. It may work for some, or even most, but in other cases not all devices will be detected properly by simply removing this key – especially those with proprietary hardware. Another way to update your hardware in Windows was built-in by Microsoft (one of the few things they’ve done that’s actually helpful). You can try deleting the ENUM key first, but if that gives you problems, you can try this:

  1. Boot into Safe Mode Command Prompt Only (CTRL-F5 from the “Starting Windows 9x” message).
  2. From the root of C:, remove the file attributes from the SYSTEM.1ST file located there:
    attrib -r -s -h system.1st

  3. Then change to the C:WINDOWS folder and remove the file attributes from the SYSTEM.DAT file:
    attrib -r -s -h system.dat

  4. Rename the SYSTEM.DAT file to SYSTEM.OLD or something similar.
  5. Copy the SYSTEM.1ST to the C:WINDOWS folder and rename it SYSTEM.DAT.
  6. Re-apply the attributes to the SYSTEM.1ST file in the root directory:
    attrib +r +s +h system.1st

  7. 6. Reboot


  • It is not necessary to re-apply the attributes to the SYSTEM.DAT file because Windows will do this when it updates your hardware configuration.
  • Do not MOVE the SYSTEM.1ST file into your WINDOWS folder, just copy it. This way, you will always have that file if you need to do this again.

This is a procedure Microsoft has set in place for all versions of Windows 9x. I realize that this is more complex than just deleting the ENUM key, but it’s also easily reversed if you screw up. You can always just restore the SYSTEM.OLD to SYSTEM.DAT and continue as if nothing had happened.

As was mentioned, you will need every driver for your hardware, so have them handy. Just wanted to throw some other possibilities out there, rather than just deleting registry keys.”


Bob Croninger

8/25/00 – Two of our readers sent in additional GHOST Tips:

From David Glover:

“You mentioned that if you GHOST your HD copy back to your hard drive on a different mobo you’d have to re-install Windoze. Maybe not…


After you have restored your HD backup, reboot your PC into SAFEMODE. Once in Windows click on START then RUN and type in REGEDIT. On the left hand side of the screen click on the ‘+’ sign beside HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Then highlight the ‘Enum” key and press the ‘Delete’ button to remove this key.

This in effect removes all devices (modem, hd controllers, video, sound cards, etc…) from the Device Manager.

To prove it, exit out of REGEDIT and do a right click on My Computer and go down to Properties. Click on the tab labeled Device Manager. All you should see is a computer icon. After this, reboot the unit and let Windoze redetect all of your devices.”

David Glover

NOTE: This is also the easiest way to reinstall your system to a new motherboard. Remove ENUM, then shut down BUT DO NOT REBOOT. Move the drive to the new board and Windows will install all the devices.

From Charlie Kang

“I use Ghost practically everyday, and it works awesome; drive to drive, LPT port to LPT port for like laptops. Then use GHOST Explorer and remove stuff you wish to remove. Or add stuff. Its faster than Partition Magics Drive Image.

This is what I do for all the systems we build here:

Make a ghost image of any system, then burn it to CD. Ghost Explorer can regenerate the image if its bigger than 650MB to 650MB so it can fit on a CD and span the images. Put ghost.exe on the CD. Make a Win98 bootdisk.

So basically whenever your systems crashes or you want to go back, put in your boot disk, load up the CD-ROM drivers, start GHOST from the cd-rom and there you go – system back to normal.

Man, if you have a CD-RW, you can always ghost your drive and re-write the image, so you always have a current one. Hell, if you get good enough, you can have GHOST with it’s switches do it all

Charlie Kang

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