There used to be a clear distinction between the two main applications that created a backup image of your hard drive: Symantec Norton Ghost benefited from simplicity, while Acronis True Image 10.0 Home pushed ahead in terms of performance. Recent releases of True Image have seen its interface become incredibly slick, while Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0 has added important features such as incremental backups which provide much faster operation and require less space.

Symantec Norton Ghost 11.0 was an important release in terms of catching up with Acronis True Image, but Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0 sees a number of new features. LightsOut Restore allows you to recover your system without the need for a bootable disc, while it's also possible with Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0 to convert a recovery point to a virtual disk that contains all known-information about your PC.

Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0 integrates well with Google Desktop, allowing you to search backup indexes and remotely manage other installations of Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0. Plus Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0 brings an easy-to-use interface at a good price.

Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0: Specs

  • 300MHz processor
  • Windows XP/Vista
  • 512MB RAM
  • 160MB hard disk space
  • 300MHz processor
  • Windows XP/Vista
  • 512MB RAM
  • 160MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

Acronis is a tenacious competitor, and True Image remains the best buy in spite of Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0's new-found excellence. Unless you're looking at remote management - for which you need server versions of Acronis - True Image is slightly better, and cheaper. That said, Symantec Norton Ghost 12.0 is very close on its heels. This is one example of competition being beneficial to the development of both products.

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