Skip Norton Ghost 2003
At a Glance
Ghost 2003 has some good features. It can make an exact copy (clone) of your hard disk, from data to the state of the OS, so it's a natural tool for system recovery, duplicating your desktop PC on your laptop, or moving everything from an old PC to a new system. It can store drive images on just about any kind of media--including another hard drive in your computer, a network server, an external USB or FireWire hard drive, or various CD-RW and DVD-RW/+RW discs. This version also adds Linux and NTFS support; largely eliminates the need for a boot disk; and lets you join two PCs via a USB, parallel, or network connection and then clone one to the other.
Despite claims to the contrary, however, my tests with a shipping copy of Ghost 2003 clearly showed that inexperienced users should beware. The program is saddled with a confusing manual, lousy Web support, and phone support that costs $30 per incident.
I found its new "intuitive Windows interface" inconsistent. And Ghost 2003 crashed one test PC and refused to clone the drive on another, though it would perform a standard backup. (However, Symantec said it was unable to replicate my experience.)
One other feature allows restoration of specific folders or files. Load an Explorer-like tool, pick a folder/file, select File, Extract, and then point to the destination. Alas, it didn't always work. In one of my tests, Ghost 2003 cloned a PC to an external USB drive, but uninstalled the drive.
In light of these difficulties, I'd say this program should be tried by power users only.