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PC Reviews: Norton Ghost 2003

Norton Ghost 2003 isnít always a home userís first choice of product, always on the look out for a more cost effective and mainly cheaper product that does the same exact thing.  However the new interface would have to be the easiest interface I have ever used, unlike the last ghost program I used (2000) the DOS portion of the program didnít leave me guessing whether or not I was going to format drives that were still operational.  The new interface gives you both the option to restore while in an operating system as well as in a disaster situation / hard drive failure. 

The procedure of backing up entire drives including boot sectors and also those most precious files can be a bit hairy for some people.  Not knowing what you're actually doing and letting the program take over.  But as you will find with Norton Ghost 2003 it lets you in on every little move it makes.  The tutorials that are supplied canít be any easier to under stand it goes through an intense step by step procedure.  The best thing is you donít have to sit through 2 hours of tutorials or 5 hours of reading to get to the bit you're after:  from the menu you can select the type of backup procedure you're trying to accomplish.

Though I didnít find much of information in the manual (hard copy) that was in the tutorials, Norton Ghost did continually remind me in the manual that when creating a disaster CD/DVD back up that there was no need to create a boot disk.  Small things like this make it a good reason to always read manuals as there are just those little things that can trip you up. 

So, when restoring drives all you need to do is boot the machine and change the boot sequence to start on your CD/DVD drive and the 1st CD/DVD will install standard drivers for the CD/DVD rom and run ghost.exe

 Creating the backup ready for the worst is a simple matter of deciding exactly what type of backup YOU want to create be it peer to peer, clone or to a CD/DVD simply choose the drive you want saved and the media you want it written to (CD/DVD etc) and the ghost will take you through your options creating names for your backups, dates and of course advising you exactly what if anything you may need to utilize them.  When youíre at the end, click run and it will do the rest.  Taking you into the DOS based backup system.

A procedure that took me a good 6-7 hours either way to complete as the small manual states ghost can restore a system in less than a minute when restoring a system with not much on it.  In my experience unless youíve got a good book to read, a TV in the room, burning and restoring can take up large amounts of your time, actual time taken to backup/restore was approximately 4 hours of burn time both ways the extra time is in between each CD change over, not everybody is prepared to sit on front a PC doing its own thing for 4 hours + straight with no other form of entertainment.  I even resorted to reading my fridge manual. USED ON P3 933, 512MB, 7200 RPM DRIVE, 24X SONY, 17.5GIG OF INFORMATION 

Taking a larger hard drive I backed up a total of 17.5 Gig onto a mere 22 CDís which is a 22% compression rate. Other options available are Clone coping on hard drive to another while in windows, and Peer to Peer the creation of a backup and then restoring over a network Norton Ghost will create its own boot disk (1.44 Floppy) to set up all your network settings and again just run the dos based ghost.exe tool to restore.

While in dos the Ghost program is a basic version of the windows interface the backup you have made basically already knows what youíre trying to accomplish, you just need to confirm its movements.  This portion of the program is where it gets serious just so you donít scrap a drive, therefore you need choose your drives carefully.

With the ease of Nortonís tutorials and wizards I wouldnít choose any other backup program on the market, the only downfall would have to be the time factor for home users 6-7 hours is a lot of time to find after a hard days work, but if it needs to be done Norton Ghost is the weapon of choice for this cat.

- Dean Malandrini

The Final Say!


Norton Ghost 2003 reviewed by Dean Malandrini
Review Date: 18 February 2003
Review Score: 9.0/10 
Distributor: Symantec

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