Thanks for the reply Frank,
I'd have responded back sooner, but I've been gone a few days.
When I copied the 2 disks to a newly formatted partition, there were the .GHS files with the last as a .gho. The files were listed just like they are when I save an image directly to a folder on the HDD. Did you mean that they should be copied over in a certain order? I'm not sure I understand your suggestion to ''...''unspan'' the image as you copy it to a HDD...''.
About your concerns with the recent ghost versions - I ran across a site that has A LOT of info on ghost (and other good stuff like Fdisk) including a really good manual in plain English.
<http://ghost.radified.com/> They're real big on ghost up untill v9 and 10 like you were saying because ''...it's not really Ghost. It's actually Drive Image, a similar imaging/cloning product originally developed by PowerQuest, a company Symantec purchased on 05.dec.2003.'' ''The reason Ghost 9 (Drive Image in disguise) is *controversial* is because it supports a feature Symantec calls 'Hot Imaging', which allows you to to create images of/from a 'LIVE' operating system, while files are able to change. Hot imaging might sound attractive to the casual user, but it comes with hidden risks that concern many veterans of the program.'' They also mentioned that v10 is just v9 with encryption capabilities and apparently isn't real reliable noting that ''Symantec includes a copy of Ghost 2003 in the Ghost 10 retail box''. Hmmmmmm... what does that tell you.
I thought I'd mention that I have Acronis 8.0 and I bought it because of the consistently good reviews and because I hadn't figured out how to use ghost yet at the time. Acronis however isn't without it's own little share of agravations. When it has an image creation failure, which I've had a few times, it's not real helpful. There is a line on p 66 in the users manual that says removable media has to be fully formatted ahead of time. (Which of course I forgot about.) So when you try to create an image, you get a prompt reminding you that you can use ''either a blank CD (or DVD) or a CD containing archives......only if the CD has enough free space.'' Duhhhh... I wouldn't have thought of that! Notice that it doesn't remind you to format that blank disk first! So when you try to use that unformatted blank disk, you get ''Failed to write data......possible reason might be poor media quality.'' Ghost on the other hand, will write to the disk whether it's formatted or not, and will ask if you want to overwrite when there's existing data on the disk. Another aggravation was Acronis' idea of an update is to re-download the entire program. No big deal IF you have broadband - unfortunately, I'm stuck with dialup. After one of their recent updates, the program would consistantly fail after I'd gone through all the settings and written a description in the allotted box - I ended up reverting back to the previous build. The current update seems to work OK. On the up side, it's an easy program to learn and work with, and exploring an image is a piece of cake. Exploring a spanned image requires copying the files to the hard drive, but it works fine no matter which file in the image you click on. It's also a bit faster than Ghost and the image size is a bit smaller.
If I had to choose between Ghost v9/10 or Acronis, I'd go with Acronis. Between Acronis and Ghost 2003 however, I'd have to go with Ghost since my priority is a reliable restoration. When the proverbial fecal material strikes the oscillating blade, all the other bells and whistles are icing on the cake, but useless if there is no cake.