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Symantec Norton Ghost 15 review

Symantec Norton Ghost 15
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £44
inc VAT

A good backup program with some cool new features – but it’s expensive and we still prefer Acronis.

Version 15 of Norton Ghost does everything its predecessors could. With it, you can create backups of a disk or a partition and then use Ghost (or its bootable recovery disk) to restore your PC from those backups as the need arises. As you’d expect, not only can you make an image of an entire disk or partition, you can also make incremental and differential backups (backing up to an existing image only those things which have changed since the last time). And you can schedule backups to take place regularly, so there’s no need to worry that you’ll forget.

So what’s new? There’s official support for Windows 7: all very reassuring, but the last edition seemed to cope just fine anyway. Perhaps more excitingly, you can convert Ghost disk images into virtual hard drives. Supported formats include VMWare Workstation, VMWare ESX, Microsoft Virtual Server and Microsoft Hyper-V. So you could, for instance, use a good installation of Windows as a template for your virtual machines or you could keep a virtual reference-copy of an old PC long after the hardware has been discarded.

Another welcome change is the ability to add network and storage drivers, and network settings, to your bootable recovery disk. Given how many people now use network attached storage, it’s high time backup programs were able to negotiate the network in recovery mode. You can also create recovery points using the bootable recovery disc; no need to actually install Ghost on your PC. It’s a nice touch, but Ghost’s main competitor – Acronis True Image – has been able to do it for ages.

Norton Ghost is easy to use, does everything you’d expect it to and a bit more. The interface is nice and it warns you clearly if there’s a problem, for instance your backups aren’t up to date. It’s also £15 more expensive than its nearest rival, Acronis True Image 2010. The extra money doesn’t buy you enough to make Ghost worthwhile, and Acronis has a non-stop backup feature which constantly updates your backup, so when disaster strikes you shouldn’t lose anything.


Price £44
Rating ***

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