Looking for a Ghost Replacement

When describing the problems I was having configuring our new servers, I mentioned that I was going to try using Clonezilla to speed the process.  The idea was to get Windows installed and all the other software configured on one machine, and then just clone the drive.  Seemed like a good thing to do.

So I fired up Clonezilla, fought through the user interface to tell it what I wanted backed up and where, and then pressed the any key (really!  There was a prompt that said, “Press the any key”) to start the copy.  Clonezilla promptly told me that my network card wasn’t supported.  It would have been nice if it would have checked that when I first started the program.

Slightly discouraged but not yet willing to give up, I decided to try PING.  Another cryptic user interface, but I won’t complain too much considering the price.  This time my network card was supported and after a couple of house it had created a copy of my partition.  So I fired up the next machine, ran PING, told it to copy the partition image to the disk.  That went well, too.  Except that after I was done, the machine wouldn’t boot.  The BIOS doesn’t see a bootable image on the disk.

At that point I gave up.  I’d already spent almost a full day futzing with the things.  In that time I could have installed and configured all of the machines.  (Or so I thought.)  In any case, my experiments with free drive cloning software left me disappointed.

There’s a good overview of Ghost alternatives over at pack rat studios, but I haven’t had the opportunity to try any of the others mentioned.  Clonezilla didn’t support my hardware, and PING failed for reasons unknown.  Anybody know of a package that actually works?

By the way, telling a potential user, “if your network card isn’t supported, download it and compile it into the Clonezilla package” is not likely to be met with smiles and thanks.  More likely, users—even technically competent users like me who are capable of downloading and building—are more likely to say, “no thanks,” and move on to something else.

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