Skip to main content

Using Ghost 2003 with Windows Vista

UPDATE:  This also works with Windows 7

If you do a few google searches for "ghost" and "vista" you will find a ton of posts.  What I have found frustrating is the lack of clarity on one particular issue:

"If you back up a windows vista partition using ghost 2003 (dos based) to another drive or partition, can you restore it and have a bootable vista OS ?"

Answer: YES it works -- see below for how to do this.

There are many people who say if you clone a disk (i.e. you have two hard drives, clone A to B), that ghost 2003 works fine with vista, but nobody has clearly stated how and if it works on a partition to partition basis.
Here is how we setup all our computers:  The primary drive is split into 2 partitions, C: is for the OS, and D: is for files and backups.  In this scenario, the OS drive can be backed up to the D: drive using ghost.
This works great for any windows until Vista came around.  Now all of a sudden, changes to the boot sector make it more difficult.
So here is how to do it:
  1. Make sure your system is installed so that you have a C: and a D: partition
    • Note, we set this up so that all your "work files" are on D, so that if you restore a different OS, you can still access all your files.  This way you can have multiple configurations for your computer, one for work, one for games, one for fooling around, etc. and never lose any data.
  2. Make a "Bootable ghost CD" (or floppy disk, but our computers don't have disk drives anymore).
    • Here is some info on how to create a bootable ghost cd.
    • FYI you will need the bootable ghost CD because windows vista HATES ghost 2003, so its not easy to install it.  If you have a bootable CD, you have no worries, and just boot from the CD any time you want to backup or restore your system.
    • If you really have a hard time making a bootable ghost cd, email me, and I can help you out (for a small paypal donation).
  3. Backup your OS (all windows):
    • Boot up with your "Bootable Ghost CD"
    • Select "Local Partition to Image"
    • Pick your source drive and partition, destination drive and filename.
    • Get coffee.
  4. Restore your OS:
    • Windows 9x, 2000, ME, XP, 2003, linux, others:
      • Boot up with your "Bootable Ghost CD"
      • Select "Local Partition From Image"
      • Browse to and pick your ghost disk image
      • Pick the destination drive and partition
      • Get more coffee
      • When done, select "Reset computer"
    • Windows Vista
      • Boot up with your "Bootable Ghost CD" 
      • Quit ghost (should leave you at an A: prompt)
      • Type in "ghost -fdsp" (will re-launch ghost with alternate settings)
      • Select "Local Partition From Image"
      • Browse to and pick your vista ghost disk image
      • Pick the destination drive and partition
      • Get more coffee
      • When done, select to "Reset Computer"
And thats it.  I have found that this works very well with all modern windows versions, and with the few small differences, works great with vista too.  Since we can boot into ghost from a CD, we don't have to install it anymore either.  Now we can all have 10 OS's on our laptops and switch at will.

Popular posts from this blog

Making Macbook Air with 128GB SSD usable with Bootcamp

I recently got a new Macbook Air 11" (the 2012 version) and loaded it with goodies like 8GB ram and 2GHz Core i7.  What I DIDN'T upgrade was the internal SSD.  My config came with 128GB SSD and I refused to pay $300+ to upgrade it to 256GB.  Yeah I know, some call me cheap, but SSds cost $75-$150 for 240GB, so adding another 128GB for $300 seemed way too steep for me.  I figured "ok, I'm going to make 128G work!"

Here is the story of how that went...

Installing python 3.4.x on OSX El Capitan

I love "brew" package manager, but sometimes being too progressive breaks things.  I have several python apps that I maintain that get deployed to AWS using Elastic Beanstalk.  AWS eb can deploy with python 2.7 or 3.4.  Any recent 'brew install python3" will get 3.5.1. #annoying

Dell XPS M1330 + Snow Leopard Hackintosh

I have been working with a Dell XPS M1330 laptop for a few years now.  It doesn't quite match up to the newest notebooks in terms of performance, but it certainly still has some life in it.  I had previously installed OSX 10.5.x on it as an experiment, and had moderate success.  I decided to revisit this idea again to install Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6) on the Dell M1330, and keep some notes for those of you brave enough to Hackintosh your own machine...