at Lily / Last update February 26, 2021

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Should you ghost an external hard drive?

External hard drives are widely used in our daily life, such as USB flash drives, hard disk drives and solid state drives. It is necessary to ghost an external hard drive for following reasons:

  • Many personal files including documents, photos, movies, and music are saved on external hard drives. Ghosting external hard drives will help you retrieve files if the original files are missing or corrupted.

  • External hard drives are plugged in and plugged out from multiple devices, which makes them vulnerable to attack if any of the devices has virus or malware. You can fix a corrupted external hard drive without formatting if you have ghosted it.

As you see, you should ghost an external hard drive before it is too late.

Best free imaging software to ghost a hard drive

Norton Ghost is a powerful disk imaging utility that can be used to backup a whole disk, a particular partition, or just selected files. However, it has been discontinued by Symantec since April 30th, 2013. If you still want to use it, you may download the last version Ghost 15.0 and install it on Windows 7 and earlier. It could work improperly on Windows 10/8.

Norton Ghost

Is there another utility that provides all the features of Norton Ghost and is fully compatible with all Windows PC systems? AOMEI Backupper Standard, free imaging software for Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, can be the best Norton Ghost alternative.

  • It provides full backup solutions: System/Disk/Partition/File Backup. To ghost image hard drives, you may choose “Disk Backup”.

  • You can create automatic backups for external hard drives using the “Schedule” feature.

  • It supports incremental backup and differential backup besides full backup, thus saving backup time and storage space for you.

When performing disk restore, AOMEI Backupper allows you to restore the disk image to not only the original drive but also other drives with different partition styles or capacities. As a result, you can replace a physically-damaged hard drive with a new drive without losing all your files. Then, how to ghost an external hard drive via AOMEI Backupper? Please move on to the next part.

Step-by-step guide to ghost an external hard drive in Windows

With the intuitive interface of AOMEI Backupper, you can ghost an external USB hard drive with just a few clicks:

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer. Download and install free imaging software.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Launch AOMEI Backupper. Click “Backup” on the left pane and select “Disk Backup”.

Disk Backup

✍ Tips: If you do not want to backup the entire external hard drive, you can select “Partition Backup” to include one or more partitions in the backup.

Step 3. Click “Add Disk” to select the external hard drive as source disk to be backed up.

Add Disk

Step 4. Click the folder shaped button in the second bar to specify where you want to save the backup image.

Select Destination Path

Step 5. Click “Start Backup” to run the backup.

Start Backup

>> Options: you can write a comment for the backup. You can also compress or split the backup image here.
>> Schedule: you can set the backup task to run at fixed intervals.
>> Scheme: the program will delete old backup images automatically based on your settings. It is supported in AOMEI Backupper Professional and higher editions.

Wrapping things up

Now you know how to ghost an external hard drive in Windows with the best Norton Ghost alternative—AOMEI Backupper. In addition to the backup & restore feature, AOMEI Backupper is capable of clone. You can use it to run bit copy of an SD card. Try it now to discover more!