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Forum Tip - Ghost Backup Scheduling

Hello Fellow Community Members,

Scheduling Ghost backups properly has been a confusing topic for many and has seen many questions on the Norton forums. Therefore this tutorial will explain the scheduling (Base and Incremental) aspect of configuring a backup job in Norton Ghost.

It should be noted that this applies only to Image backups (Backup My Computer). It does not cover scheduling of File and Folder backups.

Please see this thread for more information and comparison of File and Folder Backup vs Image Backups.

This tutorial also does not cover other aspects of creating a backup job. Please see the Ghost user guide for details on the non-scheduling aspects of the backup job.

Ghost Backup Facts

  • Ghost is a partition based backup which means that if a hard drive has multiple partitions, each must be explicitly backed up.
  • Ghost image backups start with a BASE backup which is a full sector by sector backup of the selected hard drive partition. Please note that FREE space is not backed up explicitly, but rather Ghost stores information related to the free space and partition size such that the partition can be restored in its proper geometry when needed. This process will save significant space on your backup drive. Base backups will always have a file extension of .v2i
  • After a base image is created Ghost performs incremental backups until the next base is scheduled to be created. An incremental includes changes since the last incremental was performed (or since the BASE if there are no previous incrementals). Incremental images always have a file extension of .iv2i.
  • Recovery Point Set definition – many believe that this refers to how many backup image files you want Ghost to keep but this is not correct. A recovery point set is defined as the Base + all incrementals associated with that Base. For example:  if you create a Base backup on the first of each month and incrementals once per week, you will have 5 backup images (one base and 4 incrementals) at the end of the month. All 5 of these images comprise one recovery point set.

Recovery Point Set Example

C_Drive001.v2i (Base backup for recovery point set #1)

C_Drive001_i001.iv2i (incremental backup #1 for recovery point set #1)

C_Drive001_i002.iv2i (Incremental backup #2 for recovery point set #1)

C_Drive002.v2i (Base backup for recovery point set #2)

C_Drive002_i001.iv2i (Incremental backup #1 for recovery point set #2)

And so forth.

To configure the Ghost backup job schedule, please see below.

Creating New Backup job (skip down to Editing Backup job Settings if you already have a backup job configured)

You do this from the main Ghost interface, then click on the Tasks tab, then click Run or Manage Backups. When the Run or Manage Backups window comes up, select Define New. Please see image below for illustration.

When the Define Backup Wizard comes up click on the circle next to Backup My Computer.

Then click Next and you will see a window with the list of available drives you can back up.  Select the drive you wish to back up and click Next. On the Recovery Point Type window, please select Recovery Point Set and click Next again.

Editing Backup job Settings

Click on Tasks tab, then Run or Manage Backups. Highlight the backup job you want to edit and click Edit Settings then click Next.

The Rest

In the Backup Destinations window, configure as desired and click Next. In the options window select a name, compression level and other options as desired.

One thing to point out on this screen is the option which says Limit the number of recovery point sets saved for this backup. Please configure this number to be how many backup sets you desire Ghost to keep for the selected hard drive partition. Refer to Recovery Point Set definition for more information.

Once the Options are configured as desired, click Next.

You will now see the Backup Time window as illustrated below.

Setting up Incremental Backup Schedule

On the upper left portion of the screen click on Schedule. This will add a checkmark so that the schedule will be enabled. Then just below that, select the day(s) of the week and the time in which you would like Ghost to perform an incremental backup.

If you would like a backup to be performed more than once per day, then click on Advanced near the upper right corner of the window.

Setting up the schedule for a Base Backup

Just below the incremental schedule you just set up you will see something which says Start a new recovery point set (base) Select the frequency in which you would like Ghost to perform a new BASE backup. This can be weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. Please note that Yearly is not recommended as this is too infrequent for a base backup.

If you would like to select more than one day of the week (for weekly) or more than one date (monthly) or if you would like to select a different time for the BASE backup compared to the Incremental, then click Custom just to the right of this.

NOTE that Custom is not available for quarterly or yearly.

Once the schedule is set up as desired, click on Next at the bottom of the window. At the Completing the Define Backup Wizard window click Finish at the bottom. This completes the configuration of the backup job.

Please repeat these steps for any other hard drive partition you wish to set up.

Also if you have multiple partitions to back up, it is highly recommend to stagger the scheduled backup times for each one such that they do not overlap each other.



Windows 7 Ultimate SP 1, 64 bit, 32 GB * NIS Vers.* Ghost 15 * IE 9, Firefox, Safari. Test laptop with W7 Home Premium 64 bit * NIS Vers.