Well, Norton Ghost 2003 used to work well. I got it as part of a bundle in Norton SystemWorks 2004 Professional. I also use Norton Internet Security 2004. Norton has a Live Update facility that is always patching your software. It sounds great in theory. Many tools in their offerings share common facilities / code components. They don’t seem to do this well however.
Recently, my Norton Ghost 2003 gleefully made system image backups that when I later went to check on, could not be opened (even though it did an “integrity” check on the original backup). Symantec support on this problem has been very slow and not very helpful. They recommended obvious things like “run live update until there are no more updates” which I had already done and stated to them in my original tech support request.
Ultimately, Symantec told me that if my hard drive was too fragmented, that this could be the cause. So I went out and purchased the best hard drive defragmenter (Diskeeper 9.0) and completely defragmented my hard drive, only to have the same problem.
What to do?
I had used a free version of Dantz Retrospect (Retrospect Express) that came bundled with my Maxtor hard drive and was impressed with it. So I downloaded their professional version (trial) which included a facility to do drive image backups like Ghost did. The backup part went really smooth and their process is far superior (uses incremental backups, you don’t have to leave Windows, etc.). I will test out the ability for it to read the backup data reliably and update this blog.