Symantec Norton Ghost 15.0


Product Description
Product InformationNorton Ghost 15.0 protects your applications settings folders files and everything else on your PC with professional grade backup and recovery. So you can quickly restore your PC and recover lost or damaged files.Norton Ghost 15.0 lets you decide what gets backed up (full system or specific files and folders) and when (scheduled and event-based backups). Enhanced compression and incremental backups help minimize the amount of storage space needed…. More >>

Symantec Norton Ghost 15.0


  1. I don’t usually post product reviews. I am just too busy and it is rare that a product impresses me enough to do so, but Ghost 15 warrants my time. This is hands down the best version of Ghost yet. It even bests Ghost 2003, which was my previous tool of choice simply for its flexibility. I have used the following versions of Ghost over the years: 2003, 9, 10, 12, and 14. I have imaged the following windows versions with various versions of Ghost: 2000, XP, Vista (x86 and x64), 7 (x64), Server 2000, 2003, 2003 R2 (x64), 2008 (x64).

    Built-in windows utilities do some backup and restore functions, but they pale in comparison to the power, ease of use, flexibility, compression options, etc to Ghost 15. It is well worth $50!!! The ability to create images from the Recovery CD is ALONE worth the price to upgrade from version 14. You are also able to create customized recovery CDs. The recovery CD creation wizard automatically slipstreams any storage drivers you provide that are unique to your hardware. The ability to create VMware ESX and Hyper-V images is also a promising feature I am eager to test. Scheduling backups is nice to have (not new, version 14 had this), but not something I utilize much. I mostly do manual backups of baseline and incremental development images in a test environment.

    Recovery CD image creation returns with Ghost 15, and is better than ever! For reasons I don’t pretend to understand (probably in the interest of software sales), Symantec removed the capability to create images from the Recovery CD after Ghost 2003. This, for my uses, seriously limited the software’s overall utility. If I wanted to make images of Microsoft Server products (other than purchasing Symantec’s more complicated and expensive enterprise oriented Ghost Solution Suite), I was stuck either installing Ghost 2003 (which does install and function on Server 2003 and 2008), using the 2003 version 3.5 inch floppy boot disk to make images or creating a separate dual-booted XP maintenance partition to install and run later versions of Ghost on. Now granted, Norton Ghost is only intended to be a client solution, but these methods do work for the MS server OSs. Thankfully, Ghost 15 brings back recovery CD image creation. It has been sorely missed since Ghost 2003. BTW, this “maintenance partition” works well and continues to provide great utility for many reasons besides just imaging. XP’s relatively small footprint and continued wide ranging compatibility makes it very useful in this role. The built in Windows Vista/7 and 2008 boot managers handle everything well.

    To address the issue of having to upgrade with each new Windows version, well, that’s the nature of the business for this type of software. Besides normal API changes, there are disk, partition, and file system structure changes from one version of OS to the next. These types of changes greatly affect software’s ability to accomplish low level tasks, like disk imaging. As an example, Ghost 14 would install and run in Windows 7, but after testing I found that images were corrupt and unusable. I had to use Ghost 14 from the “maintenance partition” I mentioned above, and even then it would only work with default options. Antivirus software is another example of software being affected in this way. So with the next version of Windows, you will have to upgrade again to a new version of Ghost as Microsoft changes things in the OS (that is not Symantec’s fault). I am astonished that my copy of Ghost 2003 has worked as well as it has for so long, but it too has lost some functionality with each new generation of Windows.

    Thank you Symantec for producing a very functional and useful product, and for adding in a greatly missed feature. I thought seriously about moving to Acronis, but thought I would wait until Ghost 15 was released. I am glad I did. The only complaint I have left is the lack of ability to install and run natively on 2008. I doubt that a client Norton Ghost product for standalone 2008 use will threaten sales for the enterprise targeted Ghost Solution Suite.

    UPDATE: I have now used Ghost 15 on Windows Server 2008 R2 and, although you can’t actually install it natively, you can run the Recovery CD to both create and restore images. So far it has been flawless for both. I was able to create a customized Recovery CD and slipstream Highpoint RocketRAID 4320 and ICH9R drivers for my servers and the CD boots and runs without even a hiccup (which the OOTB Recovery CD croaked on so I know the drivers were not there to begin with). I have not tried network drivers yet, but will and I don’t anticipate any problems as long as the NIC is not something exotic. I am also using Ghost 15 natively in Windows XP Pro “maintenance partitions” on several Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 7 machines and it works flawlessly to both backup and restore them (have done extensive testing already). I really don’t understand how some of the reviewers here are having so many problems. The most important rule of backups (after doing them in the first place) is to test them to ensure that they (and the backup hardware and software) are good. So if you are going to rely on the Recovery CD, take some time to test it and the backups to ensure you have the right driver mix befoe you have a real world problem.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. You can buy the upgrade on the Symantec Web Site for $49.99 and you don’t even need to have owned any prior versions. I bought mine online from their website, downloaded the software, installed it, applied the serial number that was given at the time of purchase and the product activated and never even asked for a prior version or older serial number. Save $20.00 and go purchase it over on Symantec’s Website.

    I like this version as it has a new feature where you can make restoreable images directly from the Boot CD and you don’t even have to be in Windows when making an image any longer. Of course you still have that option, especially if you want to perform scheduled backups, but if you prefer to make backups without booting into the OS, simply boot from the CD and you have many options to choose from. The overall look is pretty much the same as version 14 of Ghost. There are a few other new features as well, but overall it looks just like version 14 and is compatible with Windows 7. Ghost 14 will not work with Windows 7, so you need Ghost 15.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. Backups get A+:

    1. Backing up over network, high compression, custom drivers loading is easy to do. You will backup in style

    2. Superior and useful utilities.

    3. Every imaginable problem from the legendary Ghost 2003 is fixed and improved.

    4. No more .gho format anymore. The current format so far has handled some large partition backups for me. Full 30GB partitions to high compression is a breeze.

    Restores get C-:

    1. Right away after a partition recover, you will get the message “Please insert the Recovery disk”. It will say “Error EA730002: Cannot find the driver database directory”. How does this error stay in the product? It is one confusing message for a successful recovery. The recovery disk is really just the ghost CD.

    2. Then there is the staged recovery mystery. With 2 identical machines of the same hardware, I can only restore to the machine where I initially did the cold backups. I don’t understand. This is ruining my confidence in the product. We are talking same motherboards, same versions, everything.

    3. What other kind of hardware replacement will prevent my restores? Should I buy another backup product just in case?

    Rating: 3 / 5

  4. Although Ghost backs up to an internal, usb external and network drive on my 64bit Win 7 machine, you can’t restore from the network drive when using the system recovery disk. It advises that I (the user) need to find and load the 32bit drivers. Symantec’s advice is to call Dell and Microsoft; Dell and Microsoft advise that it is a Symantec issue. After 3 runaround cycles, I just gave up. For the record, Win 7 has a built in back up recovery environment that is not as robust, but somehow it is able to find the network when booting from a restore cd.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  5. I bought this because I wanted a program that would continually make backups in the background, thus saving me the hassle of doing it myself. I use Norton Ghost at work all the time (an older version) so I figured it to be a pretty good program, and I was wrong. I did a full backup, and then attempted to transfer the image to a new hard-drive. Upon imaging (which took several hours) on every boot I would get some cryptic error, and then it would restart. I tried imaging three times without success, so I figured maybe the MBR or something got corrupted. I then installed the OS, programs etc. onto the hard-drive and tried to retrieve some of my files (like the Music folder, and My Documents). At every step it felt like I was fighting the UI. Nothing was logical and when I finally got to where you can retrieve files, I found that it was just that, files only, no folders, no directory structures, just files. I’m just thankful I made a real backup before I tried this nonsense, otherwise I’d be in some serious trouble.
    Rating: 1 / 5

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