How to Ghost an Image

By Techwalla Culture & Society Editor

Ghosting an image is a means of cloning certain files for use on other hard drives. It's easier to ghost an image that it is to reinstall tons of software or a new operating system on a new computer. One of the best known types of ghosting software is Norton Ghost from Symantec, but others with similar functions exist and you can use any of them to ghost an image.

Things You'll Need

  • Two hard drives
  • Ghosting software

Step 1

Connect the two hard drives that you need to use. The first contains the image of the files you want to ghost and the second is the destination drive, where the clone of those files will be placed. They need to be able to see each other across a network or other connection for the ghosting software to work.

Step 2

Turn the hard drives on and make sure that they are both running as they should.

Step 3

Install the software you will need to ghost the image. Symantec's Norton Ghost is a popular brand, while freeware like DriveImage XML and Carbon Copy Cloner are available online (see Resources below).

Step 4

Open the ghosting software and select the local drive. On Symantec's Ghost, it will prompt you to select a partition as well, and the option "From Image" will appear when you do. Click on it, and maneuver to the place where your files are stored.

Step 5

Pick where you want the image of the files to go, which is usually the second hard drive. The specifics for doing this will depend on the software you are using, but the program should provide prompts that will let you navigate to the hard drive where you want to ghost the image.

Step 6

Click "Proceed" or otherwise enable the computer to begin ghosting the image. Wait until it is completed, then check to ensure that the operation was completed successfully and the ghosted image appears where it should.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may need to vary any steps you take depending on the software you are using. Each has different particulars on how it runs, which will require a slightly different approach.
  • Note that the hard drives you use should be compatible with the same overall operating system, and that you cannot typically ghost an image between a Mac and a PC hard drive.