Restore a Windows system with Norton Ghost from a RAID controller that requires a driver

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One of the frustrating downsides to using third party RAID hardware is the frequent lack of native driver support in the standard OS.  During install, Windows prompts for third party storage drivers from CD or USB so it is straightforward, but it can be problematic if you need to restore a backup that resides on a RAID drive, or the system drive you are restoring to is a RAID drive. In either case, Windows needs the driver to see the drive.

Norton Ghost 14 includes a stock boot recovery CD, based on Windows Vista, and during the process it does not prompt for the admin to load a custom storage driver. You need to create a custom recovery CD with the third party storage driver included.

In this case, I am using a 3ware 4-channel SATA RAID controller. I have the driver on a CD.

Run Norton Ghost:

1) Before you start, if you are running 64-bit Windows, then copy your third party RAID driver from CD to somewhere on the hard drive. You must copy the 32-bit driver for building the boot CD (see explanation in step 4).

2) From Tasks select Create Recovery Disk..

3) Norton will ask for a Source Location, it wants the Symantec Recovery Disk (your Norton Ghost CD).

4) Insert the Norton CD into the drive and browse to the drive letter. Click Next.

5) Drivers to Include: Norton Ghost 14 Recovery Disk is based on 32-bit Windows Vista. If your target system is also 32-bit, then this screen should show the drivers installed on the system.

NOTE FOR 64-BIT USERS: If the target system is a 64-bit OS, it will not list your drivers at this step. You need to click Add and browse to the directory where you copied your third party RAID driver in step 1. Select the 32-bit driver (not the 64-bit). This driver is used for the recovery CD only. It does not matter that you are using a 32-bit recovery CD for a 64-bit OS, since it is only used for the process of recovery of the Ghost backup. My driver was under E:\packages\drivers\windows\9xxxSA\32bit. Click Ok and click Next.

6) Norton begins copying the recovery files to a temporary location. When it is done, it will ask you to select a destination drive to burn the recovery CD to. Insert a writeable CD and select the drive. I found that Ghost 14 did not like my Phillips DVD/RW, it kept complaining that the media was not writeable, but it did accept the CD/RW drive just fine. It can't hurt to have a spare external CD burner around for cases like this.

You should now have a single CD to boot from in order to restore your backup. Test the CD by booting from the CD and verify that the RAID drives are found and that you can see your backups.
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Expert Comment

For a nice open source alternative to Ghost try Clonezilla's LiveCD.  It's Linux based and the Linux kernel includes a lot more drivers stock than Ghost or other Windows PE based solutions. Downside is you can't create the images while the system is running.  Image creation must also be done from boot to the Clonezilla CD.

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