Norton Ghost 14.0 is a complete backup solution dedicated to preserving your data against loss.

Backing up data - whether a selection of important files or an entire hard drive - remains an important chore in order to safeguard irreplaceable information.

With a well-designed utility the process should be less of a burden, for example by automatically backing up in the background with little drain on system resources. This is just one of the benefits of the latest version of Norton Ghost, a complete solution for the task of preserving your data against loss.

Norton Ghost 14.0's core use is to make full system backups, for example to a disk image which can be used to restore an entire PC; or incremental backups, to update only those files that have changed.

New features added since the previous Ghost 12.0 (Norton is obviously not tempting fate by releasing Norton Ghost 13.0... ) include FTP backup, Google Desktop integration and Symantec ThreatCon integration, the latter designed to have additional automatic backups triggered by a cue from Symantec's malware intelligence-gathering resource.

We used an external USB drive and Norton Ghost 14.0 to back up the contents of a Hi-Grade notebook running Windows Vista Ultimate, and found the software worked mostly as advertised.

Norton Ghost 14.0 could make a complete backup of the drive, as well as perform incremental backups either by schedule or on demand.

Using an external USB 2.0 drive did present a problem, as Norton Ghost 14.0 would not always allow the drive to be safely ejected, even when the program was closed.

Also, on occasion when the USB drive was connected with Norton Ghost 14.0 running, it would ask if it could be used as new backup destination, even though it was already configured as the primary backup drive.

Another Norton Ghost 14.0 feature we tested was LightsOut Restore, which creates an extra bootable system on the PC's C drive.

After setting up, an option is added during booting and after the BIOS screen, to allow you to boot from the Symantec Disk Recovery (SDR) installation and thereafter restore the entire disk from a recent backup.

In our tests, Norton Ghost 14.0 did not show the connected USB drive containing the backups, which rather defeated the object of this feature.

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Norton Ghost 14.0 is a complete backup solution dedicated to preserving your data against loss.

By asking Norton Ghost to do a full restore to a previous restore point from an already booted system, however, Norton Ghost 14.0 was able to close down and reboot to the emergency partition, find the drive and perform the requested task.

There's no doubt that Norton Ghost 14.0 is a versatile backup utility. As well as its primary backup duties, Norton has included utilities for use with a Symantec Technical Support representative, to assist system diagnostics when in trouble, and using the Symantec Disk Recovery feature you can also check the disk for errors and perform a virus scan.

Norton Ghost 14.0's main interface is relatively clean and understandable (even if SDR has a cruder, low-res look dating back to Windows 95) and the addition of new remote backup facilities, to FTP or NAS devices, means that off-site backups are even easier.

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Norton Ghost 14.0: Specs

  • 300MHz CPU
  • Windows XP SP2/Vista, 32- or 64-bit
  • 256MB (512MB recommended) RAM
  • 400MB disk space
  • (LightsOut Restore requires additional 1GB disk space)
  • Micosoft .NET Framework 2.0
  • 300MHz CPU
  • Windows XP SP2/Vista, 32- or 64-bit
  • 256MB (512MB recommended) RAM
  • 400MB disk space
  • (LightsOut Restore requires additional 1GB disk space)
  • Micosoft .NET Framework 2.0

OUR VERDICT

Norton Ghost 14.0 is a mature product for the thankless task of safeguarding data against the unthinkable event of hard disk failure, theft or virus havoc. Being able to return to restore points additionally assists recovery from accidental deletion and loss of files. Its interface is good, although with the number and breadth of features available, you'll need to spend some time getting to know everything it can do to get the best from Ghost.

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