Is there any way to make a restore disk for a system I am building a friend? He some what computer smart. But I want to make a disk so if something happens to his system he can just pop in the disk and it will look like it did when he brought it home. Is this possible? The machine is a PIII 933mhz with a 20 gig hard drive and 393 megs of ram. Many of the parts came out of two different HP systems an HP pavilion 7850 (cd-rom, cd-burner, processor, ram and floppy) and an HP Vectra (motherboard, ram, hard drive). Is this possible?

Yes, there is. I hope you don't want a step by step instruction guide given here because:

a) It's rather complex
b) I don't know how to do it!

But there's heaps of resource articles on the Net here 'n' there, and a bit of handy work with Google will uncover it. Start with this article:

and others from this Google search:

Once you've learnt the basics of creating a remote or automated installation disk, then don't forget to address such issues as including security updates, device drivers and installed software in your more advanced spell of learning which will need to follow.

Of course what you say is possible!

(By the way, if you obtain a copy of "Ghost" or "Drive Image" for your friend, you'd only need to 'Image' the drive once you've installed everything ;))


I like thei idea of ghosting / drive image of the computer. I do this for all of the people that I have to support who are away from me. Make an image of it, and when things break, either re-image from the network, or cut CD's and be done with it there.

Of course, if your friend upgrades the software on it (such as Netscape 4.1 to Netscape 6), then you will need to update the images you keep on hand in your library.

Now, there are ways to partition down that large drive, so that you could store that image on another partition (compressed of course!) and that he could unravel it on the fly. That solution does not protect from a physical hard drive error though... if something happens to the physical disk, it is still dead.

Good luck.


If you do decide to go the 'Drive Image' route, make sure you:

a) Use a latest version, commercial release of the product you chhose and...
b) Test your drive image to ensure that you can actually restore successfully from it before you sit back and rely on it!

The most widely sold software package for the job has been Paragon Drive Image, but a lot of people have reported problems restoring their images.
The most widely known package has been Norton Ghost, but a lot of people have found it too cumbersome to use.

And in recent months/weeks, Symantec has 'taken over' Paragon Drive Image, and has now released the latest version of it as "Symantec Drive Image" so there has to be some uncertainty about the future of "Norton Ghost".

Earlier versions have issues with Windows XP, for both software packages.

I used Ghost back when I actually cared about having this ability. Now it takes a whole 20 minutes to finish a base install of XP with quite a few goodies installed, and that isn't much more time than having to boot with Ghost then unpack and lay the image over the boot partition. That and the fact that I'm running a stripe set and don't want to fiddle with configuring my RAID card drivers to recognize during the install phase of Windows.

Ghost'll do it just fine. :)