cloning a hard disk with Ghost 10 and a USB external disk

Here are some notes on cloning a hard disk with Ghost 10 and an external USB disk.

Cloning a hard disk means copying the contents of one physical hard disk to another physical hard disk while keeping all the disk structure intact so the disk is an exact working copy, in particular is bootable.

You may need to do this if you need to replace a failing hard disk, you wish to replace a hard disk with a larger hard disk (upgrade) or to have a hot spare replacement disk for disaster recovery.

By using an external USB drive we don’t have to worry about physically putting a second hard disk into the computer case, which in itself can be a chore (1). It also gives us a complete backup of the disk. And backups are good.

Get your pieces and tools together: New hard disk, external USB hard disk (with spare space at least as much as the disk we are cloning), Norton Ghost 10 CD, tools to open the computer case and replace the disk.

One serious drawback to using Ghost 10 is choosing source and destination locations on the menus. It can be unobvious which disk is which, especialy if the disks are similar. What may help is to make some notes about your disks (existing, new and USB) including size, cylinders, heads, sectors. This info can usually be found on the disk itself or on the data sheet. You can find data sheets and specs at the manufacturer’s web site. Another trick is to label your disk partitions with useful names, for example label your USB disk partition “USB-NTFS”.

Let’s clone:

1. Attach the external USB hard disk.

2. Boot from the Ghost CD. This will take some time. You’ll see Starting Symantec Recovery Disk, progress bar, Please wait …, cursor arrow, GUI window: Please wait, the End User License Agreement, Accept. Eventually you’ll see the Symantec Recovery Disk screen.

2. Click Recover

3. Recover using a legacy Ghost image, (you may see a message box CD/DVD writing functionality is currently unavailable, dismiss it).

4. You’ll get a menu box in the lower left corner –

5. Go Local, Disk, To Image.

6. When selecting source disk you will be presented with a chart that shows:

Drive, size, type, cylinders, heads, sectors

Here select your source drive using the clues size, cyl/heads/sectors

7. The next screen is the destination for the image file. If things are going smoothly, you will see the folders on your USB external disk. Select (or create a new) folder to store your image file, give it a File Name and click Save.

If you do not see your destination USB external disk, click the drop down box Look in: and look for your USB external disk. If you still don’t see it, you may have selected the wrong disk to clone. Quit and try again (back to step 4), select the other disk.

8. On the next screens you will be asked if you want compression, click no and Proceed? click yes. Watch the progress bar. When it is done, exit out and press the power switch.

9. Replace your hard disk.

10. GOTO step 1. (programmers hate GOTO statements so I had to tweak them) At step 5 we will be restoring Local > Disk > From Image. Source will be the image file we created. Destination is our new installed hard disk. If the choices are not there, try selecting the other disk to restore from.

Selecting the incorrect source-destination may give you an error screen:

Click yes to proceed, watch the progress bar, shut down, reboot.

11. You have replaced your hard disk.

Using Ghost 10 to clone a disk:

The Good

  • will make a clone disk
  • can make and restore disk images to files and other backup task
  • USB support
  • Ghost is an industry standard tool

The Bad

  • slow boot
  • menus not intuitive for cloning disks
  • things seem to go wrong – drives don’t show up, locking source and destination errors. nerve wracking things when you’re performing critical disk operations.

The Ugly

  • source and destination drive selection can be confusing and you can instantly loose your data with the wrong choices

Radified site talks Ghost

Symantec Ghost site;=ghost10

Ghost at CNET


  1. When installing a second hard disk into a computer case you may need to deal with the IDE Master/Slave/Cable Select jumpers. And some cases just don’t have data or power capabilities for 2 hard disks. For real, my MCE case.
  2. Error. The destination disk could not be locked (643). I got this message when trying to clone a disk to a hard disk that had an old Windows Vista OS that I wanted to overwrite. I used a Vista boot DVD to remove all partitions from the destination disk, then the clone succeeded.
  3. Error: A source volume could not be locked (640).
  4. You can get Ghost for free with rebates sometime (Fry’s Internet Security + Partition Magic + Ghost free with rebates)

One Reply to “cloning a hard disk with Ghost 10 and a USB external disk”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *