How to Ghost One Computer to Another

Written by larry simmons
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When you ghost a computer, you clone the contents of the computer's hard drive to the hard drive located on a second computer. Ghosting a computer is done for two primary reasons: to restore a computer to an earlier state due to software problems or to upgrade to a newer system without the need to install your own software. The process of cloning a hard drive is a simple one of point and click, with the contents of the drive being compressed for movement. Most ghost procedures take less than an hour to complete, depending on the size and speed of the hard drives involved.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Symantec's Norton Ghost
  • External hard drive

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  1. 1

    Install Norton Ghost onto your computer by placing the CD into the optical drive of your computer to begin the automated installation process. Proceed through the set-up options, choosing a directory to install the software to and then agreeing to the license agreement. Click "Finish" to complete the installation, and then "Yes" to exit the installation.

  2. 2

    Start the Norton Ghost application. Click "Run or Manage Backups" from the main menu to open the Manage Backups Window. To clone the drive, you must first create a backup of the existing drive.

  3. 3

    Click "Define New" in the Manage Backups window, then choose the backup options using the wizard.

  4. 4

    Click "Back up my computer," then "Next." Select the drive to back up and click "Next" again. Select a single recovery point and click "Next" to open the Backup Destination Panel.

  5. 5

    In the Backup Destination Panel, choose the external drive and click "Next" to open the Recovery Point Options window.

  6. 6

    Type in a filename for your backup image, then select the "Standard" compression level. Select to verify the recovery point to ensure the files copied correctly. Click "Next" and uncheck the schedule option, followed by "OK" to confirm, then "Next." Review all selected options. Click "Finish" to begin the backup process.

  7. 7

    Plug the external drive into the new computer, then boot the new computer with the Symantec Recovery CD in the optical drive. With the recovery menu displayed, choose the "Recover my Computer" option, then select "Filename" from the drop down menu to select the image filename from your external hard drive.

  8. 8

    Place checks in the boxes labelled "Check for file system errors after recovery" for verification of your cloned files, "Resize restored drive" to make available any extra hard drive space on the new computer, "Partition type: primary" to make the new drive a boot drive, "Restore original disk signature" so that the OS recognises the new drive and "Restore MBR" so that the new system boots the installed drives in the same order as the original system.

  9. 9

    Clone the saved image to the new computer.

  10. 10

    Reboot the new system. If the configuration of the new system mirrors that of the original system, the OS should boot without any trouble. If the system contains significant hardware changes, your OS may not boot properly, and you will have to use the Windows Startup Disc to discover the installed hardware.

  11. 11

    Reboot the system with the Windows Startup Disc in the optical drive. Select "Upgrade" and select the existing location of your operating system. Windows will proceed with hardware discovery and load the drivers necessary to run your new hardware. Once finished, remove the Windows disc from the drive.

  12. 12

    Reboot the system and proceed with operations as normal with the applications and software from the original system installed.

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