Why won't Norton Ghost make a recovery point for my C drive?
May 24, 2008 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Why won't Norton Ghost make a recovery point for my C drive?

Bear with me computer geniuses, because I'm way out of my comfort zone on this one. When I run Ghost 14.0, it has no problem backing up My Documents, but can't make a recovery point for the C drive. It will try for about 5 minutes, then fail. The error notice says "unable to write to file". I tried the Norton help links, but they've been too general- I always wind up just restarting the backup and it fails in the exact same way.

Let me know if there's any other information I can provide. Thanks!
posted by Thin Lizzy to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"... Let me know if there's any other information I can provide. Thanks!"
posted by Thin Lizzy to computers & internet

1) What kind of device is your backup target? Size? Interface? FS?
2) What is the size of your C:\ drive? To what percentage is your C:\ utilized? Are all your C:\ drive contents included in the image?
3) What OS are you Ghosting? If Windows, what are the results of chkdsk for your C:\ drive?
4) Are you Ghosting the drive from a GUI shell, or as a batch process?
posted by paulsc at 5:45 PM on May 24, 2008

Thanks for replying. I'll do my best.

1) WD external hard drive, 300GB, A USB Cable (is that the right answer?), I don't know what FS means.
2) 80GB, 40GB, I don't know why they wouldn't be...
3) Windows, chkdsk came back clear
4) Wow, way out of my depth.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 7:39 PM on May 24, 2008

FS = filesystem. (If you're using windows, likely NTFS)

That's a supremely unhelpful error message. You might try searching (and possibly posting on) the Symantec message boards.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:29 PM on May 24, 2008

OK, Thin Lizzy. Your replies to 1, 2 and 3 tell us that Ghost isn't quitting for basic target or sizing errors. We don't know, yet, that it sees your external USB drive as a writable device. That was the point of my asking about your File System (FS) on that drive. Can you copy/erase a small test file to that drive from Windows Explorer, thus proving that it is writable? Can you do a chkdsk on your external drive, too, and see if it is error free? If you can do those things successfully, at least you know that the external drive is working at a low level using Windows drive routines, but if it doesn't work in those tests, then Ghost is going to be unable to access the drive until you sort out whatever is stopping communication.

If the external drive is writable in Windows, then the problem is likely procedural to Ghost, and there could be a number of issues causing that error.

My question #4 was asking whether you were working with Ghost from the graphical shell, or as a batch process using the DOS based client. It's pretty clear you're using the graphical shell, as if Ghost is a standard program from your hard drive.
posted by paulsc at 1:55 AM on May 25, 2008

Also, what about the size and free space of the external drive? If you have 40gb of data on the C: drive, then the external drive where Ghost is writing the backup is going to have to have about that much space. Way more if you have multiple snapshots.
posted by gjc at 5:04 AM on May 25, 2008

Paulsc, thank you so much for all the help.

Chrisamiller, thanks for clearing that up.

I ran a chkdsk on the external drive which came up clear and then tried a test file from the C drive that worked. Still no luck on the C drive back up though- I got the same error. Then I tried telling it to backup all the files from the C drive, but not the C drive as a whole. It's still working on it, but it hasn't quit yet. Perhaps it likes this way better. I was hoping for a quick "doh!" solution, but I think I'll take this to the Norton board now that I know a little bit more about it. Thanks again!
posted by Thin Lizzy at 4:13 PM on May 25, 2008

All the files = the whole drive. How much space is left on the external drive?
posted by gjc at 4:21 PM on May 25, 2008

Are you running Ghost from the C: drive as you're backing up the drive? I don't know about version 14, but in earlier versions of Ghost, this would cause failure.

Can you try using the (probably still) included utility to create a bootable disk (CD, presumably) to run the old-school DOS Ghost interface? It's just as easy as the Windows GUI, IMHO, no arcane commands to remember, and newer versions (from v. 11, IIRC) have mouse support. I bet that'll get you the backup you're looking for.
posted by notashroom at 10:53 AM on May 27, 2008

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