Norton Ghost 9.0 review:

Norton Ghost 9.0

In our tests, Ghost 9.0 was stable and ran backups without any glitches. Unfortunately, it ran considerably slower than True Image in our informal tests. For instance, Ghost took about 43 minutes to back up our 11GB partition; with True Image, the same job took 16 minutes. Both programs were set at normal compression levels.

Norton Ghost 9.0 is a reliable disk imager, but it's slower than Acronis True Image at creating backup files.

We were able to use Windows normally during Ghost backups, albeit with a noticeable performance hit, particularly when launching or jumping between programs. For instance, Microsoft Word took 13 seconds to load during a Ghost backup job, roughly double its normal load time.

Symantec charges a bundle to support Norton Ghost 9.0 via telephone: $29.95 per incident or $2.95 per minute (but competitor Acronis also charges a comparable amount for its live telephone support). E-mail support is available for both vendors, but with Symantec it's slow. For instance, Symantec promises a four- to five-day response time for e-mail queries, a laggardly pace in an industry where a 48-hour turnaround is typical. In our tests, Symantec's five-day response time prediction provided painfully accurate. By comparison, Acronis answered our e-mail queries within 24 hours.

The Symantec support site provides fast answers to Ghost 9.0 tech issues.

Symantec's online support site is well organized and easy to access via a link in Ghost's help menu. Its online knowledge base is comprehensive and handy for someone seeking a quick answer to a tech glitch. Acronis's online support is comparable but much easier to access.

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