The Cloning Wars

Nathan Edwards

I’m trying to upgrade my boot disc drive, which uses XP as the OS. I’d failed twice and hen turned to Norton Ghost 12 to copy my C drive to my new disc. During the clone, everything seemed to be working until about 70 percent of the way through the procedure. At that point, a message appeared stating that my computer was trying to communicate with Microsoft. After about two minutes another message appeared stating that the attempt to communicate failed. Then the computer crashed.

I had some difficulty rebooting and then found that XP failed to recognize the new disc drive. It took me some time to figure out that this drive had to be reformatted. I’ve upgraded discs before but never encountered difficulties like this. I called Microsoft and they suggested I buy a copy of Vista and rebuild from scratch. I don’t want to do this. Am I missing something?

—Marvin Burke

Obviously, Windows is interrupting your clone procedure. It’s surprising that the operating system is crashing entirely. If this happens repeatedly, you should back up your critical files (documents, saved games, etc.) and reinstall Windows XP.
If not, the Doctor has a solution for your cloning procedure. Ditch Ghost and pick up the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows ( ). Put it in your optical drive and boot off the CD. Once the UI fires up, find the included DriveImage XML program and use it to clone one drive to the other. The procedure should complete without Windows bothering you, given that you’re running the entire operation off a bootable CD.

Running DriveImage XML on a custom Windows boot disk is a great alternative to using Norton Ghost

Ghost used to give you the option to make such a CD. You could run Ghost outside of the Windows environment yet still accomplish the same tasks as if you were in the operating system: backups, restores, clones, etc. Alas, those days are behind us.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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