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Imaging a Dual Boot setup using Norton Ghost 14

Posted on 2008-06-12
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My primary Hard Drive has 5 Partitions.  The first two partitions are used to Dual Boot between XP & Vista.  I purchased a copy of Ghost 14.  
Here is what I'm trying to accomplish:
I would like to create an image/recovery point of the two OS partitions, or the entire Hard Drive (if necessary).  This will be a one-time backup following a clean install (after I install and configure my essential Apps and Utilities).  The idea is that if the HD dies, or if corruption occurs, I would be able to replace the hard drive, boot into a recovery CD and restore the OS partitions (or the entire hard drive) to the way it was the day I created the backup (i.e. not only bootable, but also retaining the boot loader settings for my dual boot configuration).
I have an external USB drive to store the images on.  Do I want to create recovery points for just the two partitions in question, for all of the partitions on the hard disk, or do I need to copy the entire disk, using the 'Copy my Hard Drive' function?  The 'Copy my Hard drive' function confuses me, because it only allows me to select one partition at a time as opposed to an entire Hard Disk (which consists of 5 partitions in my case).
If the entire hard drive has to be backed up/restored, I'm not concerned with the other 3 partitions as I have daily backups of those in another location, and they are relatively small.  I do, however, need the other 3 partitions to exist and be the same size after the restore.
Any help is appreciated.
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Question by:AdamKarp
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>> The 'Copy my Hard drive' function confuses me,

The "copy my hard drive" function is normally used when someone is running out of space and is planning on IMMEDIATELY replacing the hard drive with a new one.  The problem with it (as you pointed out) is that it only copies one partition at a time.  If it worked and was called "copy my entire hard drive" it would be a lot better.  DON'T use it in your situation.

The function you want is to create backup-image-files (called recovery points in Ghost language).  In case of a total hard drive failure, you buy new hard drive, replace the drive with your new/blank/unformatted drive, boot from Ghost cd, point to your external usb2 hard drive, and restore the computer.

If you want to have a complete backup image, create a definition of My Computer, which will create images of all partitions.  I have one of those stored in a folder on my usb2 drive.

Thereafter, create another backup definition of just the partition you want to backup.  Create another for the other partition you want to backup.
When/if you need to restore individual partitions, you won't need to worry about the boot loader.  I think the mbr is saved for all backup recovery points taken.  You would restore it (it's an option) if replacing a drive with a new/blank/unformatted drive.

Since you have a dual-boot configuration, it would be good to test your backup to confirm everything.  Take a complete recovery point backup of My Computer, then get a new/blank/unformatted hard drive (or zero out a space one, so it is blank).  Carefully disconnect your hard drive, cable in the new one, and try to boot from cd and recover everything.  Double check everything, be careful when swapping drives, cables, etc.  Don't restore the wrong one.  
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Look at this extensive guide for dual boot considerations:

Separating Vista and XP when using Vista's Boot Manager
http://www.themudcrab.com/separatevistaxp.php
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by:AdamKarp
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Thanks for the info. I will run a test backup/restore over the weekend.  If it works, I will be doing a clean install (hopefully for the last time until Windows 7), and creating fresh recovery points.  I'll let you know how I make out.  Thanks again.
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Another advantage of creating backup image files (Recovery Points) is that they are compressed and contain only the amount of data USED in the partition.  So it is very easy to create multiple backup generations weekly or montlhy and store them on a 500GB external hard drive.  You can even tell Ghost 14 to break them into (for example) 4 or 8 gb chunks so that you can later burn the chunks to a single/double layer DVDs for offsite storage.  
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Thanks for the info.  I ran a test backup and then restored to a spare hard drive.  The machine wouldn't boot.  But it only took a few minutes to repair the boot sector.
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Thanks for getting me on track.
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>> Thanks for the info.  I ran a test backup and then restored to a spare hard drive.  The machine wouldn't boot.

Glad you have it working now.  Ghost works best when restoring to a new/blank/unformatted drive.  If you use a "spare" hard drive, if you wipe the drive first or zero it with utility, usually works fine.  I suspect in your case Ghost did not restore the master boot record or option wasn't selected.

Good luck.
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