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Kudos0

Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Does anyone know if Norton Ghost 15.0 is capable of backing up from and restoring to SSDs?  I've searched around but can't find anything that talks about this.  I've found an outdated support article and several forum posts that state it doesn't work with 14.0 and earlier, but I can't find any mention of 15.0's compatibility with SSDs.  If anyone has any knowledge of this, I'd greatly appreciate it.

I'm looking to create a backup of a clean Windows 7 install that's on an SSD.

(Edited for clarity)

Replies

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Ghost 14.0 and even 12.0 will work just fine... I've used it w/my SSD, I know of others that have (here and over at [H]ardForums). There's just a couple of caveats regarding SSD and Windows 7 plus Ghost. The simplest or easiest way to do it is by having Ghost restore your image backup to an already-partitioned drive (using the diskpart util in the Windows 7 or Vista DVD), so that Ghost doesn't re-partition the drive (potentially doing it wrong and throwing off the partition alignment, thus degrading performance). I can provide ya with a link to properly partitioning a SSD w/diskpart.

As far as the 100MB recovery partition that Windows 7 creates... I haven't dealt with it and Ghost because I purposely avoided it on my desktop system, I installed Windows to an already partitioned SSD so that it wouldn't create said recovery partition. From what I understand Ghost won't restore that partition + your regular C:\ partition simultaneously (regardless of whether you're using a SSD or not), even Ghost 15.0 won't. Altho Ghost 15.0 can at 'least read and restore that recovery partition, apparently (see here), which I believe Ghost can't do.

It's all kind of irrelevant since you should be able to just backup and restore C:\ by itself while ignoring that recovery partition (provided that you're restoring to pre-existing partitions so that Ghost doesn't screw up what's already in place)... But I'm not 100% sure on this, I'll be testing it in a week when I install a SSD on my netbook... I was planning to install Win7 on it following the default procedure in order to actually have that recovery partition and see how I can work around it w/Ghost and my backups.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

See also this thread, I didn't go into details on my previous post about the settings you'd want to use w/Ghost to restore an image to an existing partition w/o re-creating it becuase I was writing from my netbook (and still am), and I couldn't remember them off the top of my head... But I think that thread has it right.

Altho if you're restoring C:\ and you do have a recovery partition present I'm not sure if you wanna restore the MBR and set the partition as active or not, I think you can skip it and use the Win7 disc to repair it... That's the scenario I'm not terribly clear on since all the backups/restores I've done were of a Win7 install w/o that recovery partition (it stores that stuff in a folder called Recovery within C:\ instead), that's what I hope to clarify when I install Win7 on my netbook soon.

There's several ways to check for proper alignment after you do any of this btw, and if it's not right you can just re-format and try again... So it's not a big deal if you don't set it up properly right off the bat. If you need help verifying alignment lemme know, it's fairly simple (the info is under the System Info app).

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Thanks Impulse for the information.

I know that when Windows 7 makes a partition on a SSD it correctly aligns it. (It's SSD friendly).

So as best you know, Ghost 15 doesn't do the same, it just makes the partition starting at the first availible boundry?

When you use Win7 to make the aligned partition, when Ghost does the restore it doesn't delete and re-create the partition or if it does it uses the same alignment?

How about restoring an XP partition?

If XP was installed unaligned, do you know how you would go about restoring it on a SSD?

It seems to me that even if you used Win7 to make that partition the sizes would not exactly match, it would be a tiny bit too big or small to get it on alignment. If Ghost had to expand the image a wee little bit, or even a lot, would everything still end up aligned?

(If it matters, I'm talking about XP on a single boot system, preparing a new SSD and restoring an XP image onto it).

Of course, with SSD's becoming more and more common it would be nice for Ghost to be able to manipulate the placement to accomodate this.

Thanks,

Dave

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Actually I just came upon this very interesting thread that shed some light on the System Recovery Partition for me... It seems if you wanted to keep it or perform your install with it you wouldn't wanna set the C:\ partition as active when restoring the image (as I alluded to earlier)... They recommend actually backing up and restoring both the SRP and the standard partition in that thread altho I'm not sure it's really necessary, but I'm not sure anyone's tried simply restoring C:\.

As I said before, I was gonna try on my netbook (my 2nd Win7 install) it but after reading how little value the SRP holds I might just avoid it altogether again. Originally I did it out of ignorance and to avoid extra hassles but there doesn't seem much of a point in keeping it or creating it after reading some of the posts in that thread. YMMV

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Oops, I just noticed your new post. Yeah if you're installing Win7 from scratch on your SSD it will properly create an aligned partition so there's no need to ever create it manually (using diskpart, etc.), unless you wanted to avoid the creation of the 100MB System Recovery Partition which can potentially complicate drive backup/imaging. I was also reading some threads about people wanting to migrate their HDD installs to a SSD using Ghost as I read or posted in yours so that's probably why I brought that up.

AFAIK Ghost won't properly create a partition w/the proper offset on an SSD, no, but it should definitely be able to restore an image to an existing partition w/o re-creating it (probably simpler if you don't have to deal w/the SRP, as per the previous posts). To ensure that it doesn't mess w/an existing partition uncheck the 'restore original disk signatures' and 'resize drive' options, IIRC. (you do wanna make it active and restore the MBR of 'course tho, if you're restoring an OS image that never had the SRP to begin with anyway)

Restoring an XP partition would be a different can of worms... Your best bet would be to partition the SSD manually using diskpart (from a Vista or Win7 disc), and then restore the Ghost image backup unto that partition (and expand it as necessary within Windows' disk management, not w/Ghost). I'm not 100% positive it'd work tho... Keep in mind that using an SSD w/WinXP you'd lose TRIM support as well, so performance would degrade over time unless you use Intel's Optimizer tool or something equivalent (I believe there's an equivalent tool for OCZ & other Indillix-based drives too).

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Another old thread that's fairly on-topic (I had even posted in it apparently, tho I barely remember it, heh).

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Thank you very much Impulse, that was very helpful.

That OCZ tool you mentioned is called "wiper.exe" and it does indeed work on other drives like runcore's.

I think I saw that there were some other tools that worked too, I want to say CCleaners "wipe free space" but I'm not sure if that was it.

I been wanting to get a SSD for one of my netbooks running XP and you answered the questions I had.

I do see a problem with Ghost not being SSD "friendly", they really should think about it before SSD's become more common or people are going to complain that Ghost made the system slower.

Like you said, if people restore images and let Ghost make the partition it most likely won't be alligned annymore.

Also, if they ever fix the cloning problem with Ghost 15 and Win7, since you have to clone into an unpartitioned drive, if that drive is the new SSD, it's not going to be alligned anymore.

It would be another "wish list" if Symantec reads this, make the next version SSD friendly or even better, also let advanced users specify an offset to start from.

Thanks again,

Dave

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

I just did some tests using Ghost 15, Win7 and a computer with 2 IDE HDs. I'd expect SSDs to have a similar result.

I restored an image of a 2048 sector aligned Win7 partition to an empty HD (unallocated space). The restored Win7 was 2048 sector aligned.

On an empty HD I created a 2 GB cylinder aligned partition and the above image was then restored to the unallocated space following the cylinder aligned partition. The restored Win7 was cylinder aligned.

On an empty HD I created a 2 GB cylinder aligned partition and the above image was then restored to the unallocated space following the cylinder aligned partition. In addition, I chose to resize the restored Win7 partition about 500 GB smaller than the original partition. The restored Win7 was cylinder aligned. Using BING, the Win7 partition was converted to 2048 sector alignment.

On an empty HD I created a 2 GB 2048 sector aligned partition and the above image was then restored to the unallocated space following the 2048 sector aligned partition.The restored Win7 was 2048 sector aligned.

So it looks like Ghost 15 can restore a 2048 sector aligned partition and preserve alignment except if you restore to unallocated space following a cylinder aligned partition. Would someone like to try this with a SSD?

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

More good news. I restored an image of a 2048 sector aligned Win7 partition to an empty HD (unallocated space). In addition, I chose to resize the restored Win7 partition about 2 GB larger than the original partition.The restored Win7 was 2048 sector aligned (at both ends of the partition).

Edit......... the 500 GB in my previous post should have read 500 MB.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Brian,

What did you get as the starting offset, is it 63 or is it a multiple of 4?

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Dave,

The starting offset was 2048 sectors.

For those confused by this alignment issue, think of blocks of 2048 sectors. 2048 sector aligned partitions will have x number of blocks preceding the partition and y number of blocks in the partition. (x and y are integers). So a partition starting at LBA-10491904 is 2048 sector aligned. (divide the sectors by 2048 and you will get an integer)

For cylinder aligned partitions, the first partition usually starts in the second head (second track) and is preceded by 63 sectors as each head (track) is 63 sectors. The first partition finishes on a cylinder boundary. The second and subsequent partitions start and end on a cylinder boundary. A cylinder is usually 16065 sectors (CHS of 1024 255 63) so all partitions will end on a cylinder boundary of 16065 * z  where z is an integer. (255*63=16065) So a partition ending at LBA-24852555 is cylinder aligned. (24852555/16065=1547 which is an integer)

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Nice testing. Essentially, Ghost seems to retain whatever offset was present for the image that is being restored (when it was created), no? Except if there's an existing partition on the drive, in which case it will use the same offset as that parition?

Just one quetion, what settings were you using within Ghost? Was 'maintain drive geometry' or w/e it's called checked?

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs


Impulse wrote:

 Essentially, Ghost seems to retain whatever offset was present for the image that is being restored (when it was created), no? Except if there's an existing partition on the drive, in which case it will use the same offset as that parition?


Correct.

I was using a Win7 partition without a SRP so I chose Set Drive Active, Restore MBR and Restore Disk Signature. There is no Geometry setting in Ghost.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

My bad, I was referring to the restore disk signature setting, couldn't remember what it was off the top of my head. Thanks for all the testing btw.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Yes, Restore Disk Signature is essential with Win7 (not with WinXP) otherwise the new HD won't boot.

"Restore MBR" for Ghost means restoring the First track. Sectors 1 to 63. However, the Disk Signature and the Partition Table, components of Sector 1, are not restored.

Kudos0

Re: Norton Ghost 15 & SSDs

Out of interest I zeroed the first 63 sectors on a HD and tried a Ghost 15 restore. In the recovery environment Ghost recognized the HD as not having a MBR and offered to initialize the HD. Ghost won't proceed unless you do. I chose the Win7 image to restore to Unallocated Space but did NOT tick Restore MBR. Set Active and Restore Disk Signature were chosen. Win7 didn't boot. I just saw a flashing cursor on the monitor.

When I looked at the HD with a Disk Editor there was no boot code in Sector 1 and the only bytes in the First Track were the Disk Signature and the Win7 partition entry in Sector 1.

In BING a Standard (WinXP) MBR was written. This was confirmed in the Disk Editor. Win7 booted.

In BING a Win7 MBR was written. This was confirmed in the Disk Editor. Win7 booted again.

To summarize, if you don't want to be messed around, choose Restore MBR.

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