Best free Alternative to Norton Ghost for imaging your machines

Drive Image XMLMany of you work with Small Business or SOHO environments where you maintain a few machines and workstations. From time to time you need to build machines to your their basic state, or whats called a base image. A very popular program in the corporate environment for creating and restoring workstation to their "base image" or base state is Symantec's Norton Ghost. Today we will introduce you to a Free alternative to Norton Ghost for your disk imaging solutions.

Drive Image XML is a free alternative to Symantec's Norton Ghost and can achieve almost the same results for free. Norton Ghost does have some added features such as the SID changer etc built in, but with technologies such as Microsoft's Sysprep and third party free SID changers you can achieve the same results from Drive Image XML. Drive Image XML can also be used as an effective backup strategy for individual machines, as it allows for "hot imaging" or "hot backups" of machines when the machine is actually running Windows and has programs and files open. It accomplishes this by using Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service. However, for the purpose of this example we will be using the Ultimate Boot CD For Windows to do the backup and restore. Drive Image XML comes built into that CD and you simply boot from the CD and follow the following procedure to backup your drive image and restore it.

Boot from UBCD and start Drive Image XML

Step1:

- CBoot from the UBCD and Open Drive Image XML

 

Click on Backup tab

Step 2:

- Click on the Backup Tab, it will show you the drive details of all available drives

 

Map a Network Drive

Step 3:

- Map a network drive to a network location where you will store your Drives image (in Our case it will be W:\CeleronImage)

 

Click on the Next button

Step 4:

- Click on the Next button to continue backing up the image

 

When asked Choose C drive partition

Step 5:

-  Choose the Parition and the Drive to backup by highlighting it and clicking next

 

Choose the Backup Options

Step 6:

-  Choose Backup options such as Output directory, Output Filename and Compression. We choose the network drive location as output directory, ImageOfCDrive as the file name and choose the Compression to be good compression. We did not choose the image to be split into chunks as we are not going to burn it on CDs.