How to Ghost a Hard Drive

By Ezmeralda Lee

While you can easily re-install software after a catastrophic failure, your data is equally, if not more, precious. Duplicating your hard disk, whether for a backup or to move it, ensures you protect your data. Making a ghost of your hard drive provides you with a stored mirror image that can be installed with the click of the mouse. When disaster strikes and your computer collapses, ghost your drive back and your computer is as good as new.

Step 1

Select a ghosting software. PCMag.com notes that the Norton Ghost (full link in Resources) utility not only copies healthy drives, but also copies failing disks. Other ghost utilities exist, but copy drivers or track key strokes. Ensure your software ghosts your hard drive, including the data on the drive.

Step 2

Insert the Norton Ghost CD into your optical drive. Click "Install Norton Ghost" and agree to the licensing terms. You must have an administrator account to install the software.

Step 3

Run the setup wizard to install the software on your machine. Click "Install Now."

Step 4

Choose your installation parameters. Select "Backup andRecovery Service" to enable ghosting of your drive. Adding "Recovery Point Browse" enables you to find where you'd like re-installation to begin after a failure. Selecting "User Interface" enables the user interface for the software. If you choose "Agent Deployment," the utility can complete remote recovery. Choose "CD/DVD Support" to enable backing up to optical discs, and "LiveUpdate" ensures the utility automatically checks for software updates.

Step 5

Select "Finish" to complete the installation, and then remove the CD from your optical drive. Click "Yes" to exit the wizard and restart your machine.

Step 6

When your computer restarts, click "Next" from the Welcome panel, and then select either "I've already purchased the product and have a license key" or "Activate later." Click "Next" a second time.

Step 7

Select "Run or Manage Backups" to begin the backup process. Choose "Run backup now," and then select the "OK" button.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't select the "Run Easy Setup" when you install the software, it will appear when you open the Run or Manage Backup window for the first time.
  • Be very careful when you are choosing the source and destination drives. The source is the drive you are copying; the destination drive is where you will copy it. If you were to choose the wrong sequence, everything in your computer could be wiped off with the click of a mouse.