I have been running Ghost (not the "real" ghost, but the PowerQuest one - Norton Ghost 14) on three of my systems for over a year now and am very happy with it. Fast, easily configurable, schedulable, has compression and encryption..

I'd like to set up something similar on our servers at work. Full system images with incrementals added every few hours to pick up changes to Perforce, stored on a rotating set of 1TB USB drives.

Unfortunately, Ghost doesn't run on Server. We have very simple servers, just basic PowerEdge SATA rack servers. Nothing goofy. I'm certain that Ghost would be able to work on these fine, except for its little flag it checks to make sure it's not running on Server.

So I have a few questions:

  • Is there a way to make Ghost run on these?
  • I am also looking at the "real" Ghost, which is actually cheaper per-license (apparently), but does not seem oriented towards frequent incremental image backups. Seems really geared towards managing system images, which is not what we need. Not to mention very very complicated to manage. Am I wrong about this?
  • What competitors are there that I can use? I've looked at Acronis but their software is very expensive.

I'm not interested in weird command line only utilities or solutions where I have to set up scripts to automate backups. Ghost is absolutely perfect, except that it won't run on Server. What can I do?

  • What you said: "Ghost doesn't run on Server...Is there a way to make Ghost run on these?" What I heard: "I purchased software and I want to break the licensing terms, can you help me?" Serverfault is not a warez house. Please consider altering your question to avoid the illicit activity. Something along the lines of, "I really like the functionality that Norton Ghost 14 provides, particularly incremental, compressed, schedulable, fast, and easy to use live backups. Unfortunately they don't offer a similar product for servers. What backup software do you recommend with these features?"
    – Adam Davis
    May 11 '09 at 15:23
  • No, I meant exactly what I said in my question. I want to get Ghost running on Server. I'm happy with what it does and trust it and want the exact same thing on our servers. Did you review the EULA for Ghost? I did. It does not prohibit this kind of thing. Even if it does, that's something we can discuss. Your immediate leap to insinuating I'm promoting warez was unnecessary to say the least.
    – scobi
    May 11 '09 at 16:29
  • Yes, I did review it, I believe the applicable part is, "There are technological measures in this Software that are designed to prevent unlicensed or illegal use of the Software. You agree that Symantec may use these measures to protect Symantec against software piracy." Symantec has server backup products that they don't want Ghost competing with. You say you are not violating the license - fine. I'm not interested in keeping you from using the software as you see fit. You are, however, asking people for information on how to break an install check - which is grey hat at best.
    – Adam Davis
    May 11 '09 at 19:32
  • Yes, that's the same clause I reviewed, and I interpreted it quite differently. They may have server backup products that they don't want it competing with but nowhere in the EULA does it even hint at it. If it's not spelled out, then it's not going to be binding. Instead, the license only talks about piracy and measures to prevent piracy, and we're happily paying customers. That all said, I do see and take your point about it being a gray hat question overall.
    – scobi
    Jun 4 '09 at 2:04

I strongly recommend Drive Snapshot (www.drivesnapshot.de). I've used this for several years, and I have the current version installed on around 200 servers. I have done many test restores and a few real life restores under high stress conditions, and Drive Snapshot has never let me down.

You can run Drive Snapshot as a GUI app, or from the command line. I run it from the command line as part of the Backup script. Restores (of the system partition) can be done by booting from a WinPE (or BartPE) CD, or indeed from a DOS floppy disk.



The installation checks wether it is running on a server-version of windows. It is possible, and not to hard, to edit the msi-file, to run on all versions of Windows. The easiest way is to use a msi-editor with a nice gui, but the free tool from MS, Orca, should work too.

You can download it here, somewhere inside you can find orca.msi, which you need to install. Then open the msi from ghost with orca, and find the table: LaunchCondition. Edit or delete the values, save it under a different name (make a backup before saving!!) and try again. Should work with most programs which work under XP but won't install on 2003


With respect to the price of Acronis, it is worth what they charge. The latest versions are, in the experience of the businesses we service, extremely stable and very efficient.

  • Acronis offers nothing for us over what Ghost 14 provides for $80. Looks like a great product but we just don't have the cash.
    – scobi
    May 11 '09 at 16:01
  • fair enough =) Unfortunately my experience with Ghost is limited, so I will bow out of this conversation. May 11 '09 at 18:08

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