Thank goodness for Ghost

With the SCSI problems on the file server lately, something needed to be done and fast. The caching SCSI controller on the file server kept marking the hard drives as bad. The fix I had worked out lasted only for three weeks, and then last week the array went down again. And then the next day, and the next.

Add to the tip of the hat, that dumb Mylex SCSI controller does not have the array BIOS built bootable from the adapter card. Nope, I have to load DOS from floppy and run a special exe to give me access to the RAID building functions.

The controller kept deciding that the drives were bad, but not right away. During that last week it only worked on day at a time - and the next day the server was either powered off or every client was seeing strange error messages. We actually lost a document in that mess, and we have one staff member stuck guesstimating the total number of discards, and what categories they belong in.

For the interim, marked the drive good again but this time used Ghost to clone the 18Gig SCSI drive to a spare, (slower) 20gig IDE. Data transfer successfull, and no messing with mount locations or anything. Worked the first time I powered the server back up. I unplugged power to the hot swap box so that Windows will not try to load from SCSI.

I can't pull the SCSI hard drives out of the box and test them to determin the actual cause because the file server has the only "hot-swappable" SCSI array I can get my hands on, and we need that server live.

Oh well, out network software upgrade is just around the corner, and if wasn't for ghost, there would have been alot more pressure to get the new drives working. Instead, our network upgrade can proceed on shedule.


Older discarded hardware with a Linux distro and (fdisk &) dd can work as well as (and potentially even better than) Ghost. The combo of those two has slightly more flexibility in exchange for lacking somewhat on the interface end.

In fact, actually, a Live CD of knoppix or gnoppix can even be used on the original hardware without directly affecting the originally installed OS. It has been a swiss army knife/parachute for me quite a few times already. Warning: Linux may make more rigorous use of system devices, and will often uncover (and thus have trouble using) failing hardware sooner than Windows.

Yep you are absolutely right. However there are two compelling reasons that I use ghost vrs OpenSource (such as G4U): small size and write direct to cdrom/dvd. This combination gets the image creation process started fast and on a media that is very portable since CDROM drives are everywhere (burners too).

I've created a 1.44Meg boot disc, turned it into a el-torrito bootable cdrom image, and have it scripted so that ghost loads automagically and dumps the image to hard drive, with minimal mousing/typing. Just to bad that 2002 prompts for serial #, and 2003 always wants to "mark the drive".

I'd use G4U more often, but I've got a bad cable or something around here that prevents decent network copy speed.

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