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Ghost & Drive Image : Backup & Partition Strategy

- for maximum safety and speed

See the forum at Radified :

Both programs can burn directly to CDs, in the latest versions (DriveImage 2002 and Ghost 2007).

However, since burning may fail - e.g. after having done 3 CDRs -  it is better to image into multiple files to a hard disk and THEN burn them with e.g. the Nero program.

Norton Ghost 10
or PowerQuest DriveImage 2002 are the best programs for the beginner.
They make imaging easier, since everything can be done from the Windows interface (the computer then reboots automatically into DOS, does the job and reboots). You don't have to watch the computer and manually instruct it every time you exceed for instance 640 Mb image. This goes for both backup and restore operations. It also has a nice option that allows you to divide the image into CD sized files: Under "options", simply hook off "divide image into multiple files" and specify the CDR size you want to use.

Besides, after Norton acquired PowerQuest, Ghost has a new great function that makes full backup unnecessary. Piecemeal backups also in the background are possible - in other words when working in Windows.

However, and this is why I prefer using Ghost 2003 (eventually on a floppy disk):
Used in DOS mode, Ghost is rock stable, and much faster than Ghost in Windows mode and faster than Drive Image even in DOS mode - and more flexible than most other options in some ways, because you can do multiple jobs without having to boot after each job. Also, DOS mode
is MUCH faster to work with, once you get used to it. It also boots MUCH faster (when the program is placed on the harddisk. Note: You cannot use the mouse in DOS mode and have to use the keyboard i.e. tab, shift, arrows)


 Use Ghost more efficiently in this way:

Copy the file ghost.exe to a harddisk, and preferably the FAT32 formatted partition where you want to store the ghost file e.g. in my case J:/ (Before the arrival of Ghost 2003, the file was named ghostpe.exe )

Start the computer in MS-DOS with e.g. a Windows 95 boot diskette (fastest booting).

Use a Windows 98 or ME boot disk if you need to access a DVD or CD (e.g. for restoring from DVDs or CDs)

Go to a partition (in my case J) and the program by typing:

J: ghost

(ghostpe on older pre 2003 versions)

The program will start.

- Or create a boot floppy in win95 (spare computer) with the system files and then add ghost.exe 
(ghostpe on older versions)

When selecting which partition to write an image TO...

 - Use the ‘enter’ key to activate the image option. Then use the 'tab' key as usual to jump between options.


This is excellent if you want to burn the image to CDs, and the image is too large. You then need to split the file in this way:
To activate spanning at 645 Mb and auto-naming, type :

ghost '-split=640/auto'

(ghostpe.exe/split=640/auto" on older versions)

- Write ‘690’ for 700 MB CDRs or 795 for 800 MB CDRs (ditto if you care to do the same for DVDs)

When burning on DVDs, the above splitting is less interesting, Ghost splits files automatically on FAT32 partitions into 2 GB parts which will fit relatively well on DVDs (2 files per DVD)

Partition strategy:

I am very satisfied with my own arrangement, 'learned' after many crashes:

NB: The smaller the map or partition with My Documents is, with less documents, the faster your PC will work. And in general of course the less files the faster your PC. Maps with huge amounts of files, which you use seldom, should therefore be compressed into archives with e.g. WinRar

I use:

1+ 3 disks: (one WD Raptor36 + one WD 120 Gb x 3)
ONE 120 Gb disk in the XP computer
TWO in a fireproof garage basement.
For backup only ONE is taken into the house at the time - so I always have one backup in a safe place.
The whole disk in the PC is backed up with Ghost each time (1/2 - 1 hour depending on how many ghost images I have on the disk).

On the disk there are images of the partitions with operating system as well as a zip of all email files (Outlook Express)

In order to achieve this arrangement, the folder location options of the free program Xteq -
A marvellous tweak program - simply the BEST with new add-ons coming in a continuous stream.

The partitions are as follows:

The Raptor disk carries the OS and programs but the Encyclopaedias are installed on a separate partition on the same HD.

Disk 1 (36 GB):
C - Master- 23 Gb: XP + programs
D - Enc - 13 Gb: Encyclopaedias (Britannica, Encarta, etc)

Disk 2
(120 Gb):
E; F; G to T, etc  are separate partitions for email, docs, books, websites, photo, audio, video. setup programs, 'locate' files etc

Disk 3, 4 etc...

X and Y are CDRWs

"Master" may be formatted in NTFS, but  I'd rather stick with FAT32 for all partitions for the following reasons:

NTFS has a  "flushing problem" that makes it crash. If you ghost the 'master' partition regularly, it will not be a great problem. But, for security, stick to FAT32 even if it takes a bit more space and lacks some security services which home offices normally do not use. The other partitions ought to be in FAT32 in any case, in order to be readable by DOS (if you boot from a floppy), by other computers and in order to be able to store Ghosted images there (does not read  NFTS since it works in DOS).

Update, clean and backup your 'master' partition:
Always keep a record of GOOD changes to the architecture, and after a crash, use the latest good image and make the changes that were recorded as 'good'. 

Then use cleanup programs (System Mechanic or V-com System Suite for cleaning redundant files, and then registry programs, such as the mentioned + Registry First Aid and Registry Tuneup, NOTE: Very few work well with XP 64).

Then defragment with System Mechanic or V-com System Suite  or Norton SpeedDisk.

However really superb all in one programs can be found with Iolo : System Mechanic, or with , such as Fixit Utilities, SystemSuite or for recovery of files and harddisks: Ontrack Easy Recovery Professional (who originally built the v-com programs)

And finally ghost the new set-up of 'Master' under a new name (e.g. GHOST-09 ) to the Ghost partition preferably on another disk for faster speed. If the set-up proves to be a good idea, the older images (e.g. GHOST-06) may be deleted. The best thing is to save them of course, by using the switch mentioned above:

The Encyclopaedia partition does not need to be be imaged anew often, since it is only changed about once per year with the yearly new versions.

Occasionally burn the images to DVDs, since the Ghost files occasionally get corrupted. Always write a name and the date on the DVDs.


BTW: The Handy Backup program (by Novosoft in Novosibirsk, Russia) is the best non-imaging backup tool I have seen so far. It compresses even folder structures into zips, making ‘Word-folders’ 1/3 of the original. Using this option, it also preserves long file names (unlike normal zipping).
It also has LAN, FTP, CDRW and DVDRW functions:

However, for compression and backup (+CDR backup) of email I use a one-file compression done by Second Copy 7 because it compresses better :

- My 3 year old Tape streamer (4 Gb) is simply too slow and awkward to be of much use compared with using harddisks.


How to save email filter settings in Outlook Express

I use Outlook Express because it is the fastest and has more flexibility than any other except larger Office programs, but these are much slower, especially when the mail files start to grow. Microsoft Office Outlook behaves like a turtle if the file grows large. However saving the mail filtering is a bit awkward in Outlook Express, so:

For advanced users. Always save registry settings before changing them!
Click start (low left button), click run, write regedit.
To save registry settings, click "File", then click Export. Write a name for the registry backup and choose where to save it. (Preferably on another partition than the windows partition.)
A restore is done later simply by clicking the saved backup registry file. The same goes for the file with the mail settings.

So, to the main job:
Find the mail registry key to save. In my case it is:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{6172D04A-992B-46A5-8506-890E719559E3}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0\Rules\Mail
In your case the Identity number will be different from {6172D04A-992B-46A5-8506-890E719559E3}
If you have trouble finding it, identify the location by making one rule first in Outlook Express (Tools / Message Rules / Mail  etc...)
When you find it, mark it and: Click "File", then click Export. Write a name for the registry backup and choose where to save it. (Preferably on another partition than the windows partition.)

Whenever you set up the computer anew, your identity will change and the backup cannot be used again directly.
The thing to do is written nowhere as far as I know. But here is a way to do it:
Make one new rule and save the new mail registry key as told above.
Open the new saved key with the notepad program. Copy the identity. (mark the identity between the brackets { } and click Cntrl + C )
Open the old (larger) saved key with the notepad program. In this file, you use the "search and replace" function in notepad (shortcut = Cntrl + H) to replace the old identity { } with the new one { } .
Click "Replace all".
Close the window with the new file.
Save and replace the old file as the new file.
Thereby you will have two large files with the same rules but different identities.
Mission accomplished.


Make Internet Explorer faster:

In regedit (start/run/regedit), go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/

2. Delete these 2 subkeys:





Good luck all!
Comments are very welcome!
Best wishes!
Vennlig hilsen!  
Arno Mong Daastøl (Daastoel),
Utsiktsveien 34, NO-1410 Kolbotn, Norway, Email: arno ( at )
Ph: (prefix 47) 6680 6373, Mobile: 9002 4956, Fax: 6699 5325
Web: , , InnoTrans.Net