Norton Ghost is in essence backup software for those who did not get an operating system that already has backup software on it. That being said, even though I'm running Vista Ultimate, I decided to give Ghost a try to see what it offered.
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I actually like Ghost a great deal. I found the interface to be easy to set up, and the alerts that it is doing its duty each night is very reassuring. I haven't had any problems with getting the files back again.
Now I do have to say that I would NOT ever try to restore an entire operating system from old backup files. My home PC is running a number of large, complex software packages. If I had some sort of catastrophic hard drive failure, I would start from scratch, install those software packages fresh, and just get my data files from the backup. I imagine some small home users might enjoy the idea of restoring an entire system but for me it's just not reasonable. I have hardware level protection, but if the system really does hose, I'm starting from scratch to ensure everything goes on fresh and clean.
So if your aim is to have your entire computer including OS and programs backed up, I'd look more into hardware level (RAID etc) protection to give you the security you're seeking. I realize Ghost says it can do it - but there are so many variables and issues involved that it can't be fool-proof. I would really only use this (and any back up software) to back up data files that are changing. Organize your data files so that they are stored logically, then back them up nightly. You can always re-install Word - but you can't re-install your diary files and important correspondence.
Now, that being said, why go with Ghost rather than say Vista Ultimate? I happen to love Vista Ultimate and haven't had any issues with it at all. I love its functionality, and it's run super smoothly with all my software. But if you're someone who wants to run an OS without a built in back up, I would definitely go with this to supplement. You want backups. Somehow computers know when you are NOT backing up, and that is when they choose to crash. Don't subject yourself to that pain. Whatever you go with, make sure you are backing up your data files.
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