How to Ghost a Hard Drive

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.

Hard drive
Make a copy of your entire drive.
credit: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Step

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

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

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

Step

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

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

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

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