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Drive image software worth pric



Published: Sat, January 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Q. The hard drive on my 3-year-old Dell Dimension XPS T650 is filled to capacity with music, photos, etc. So I bought and sort of installed a new Western Digital hard drive.

The "sort of" is the reason I am writing. The new drive is installed and mounted correctly; however, I can't get my data from the old drive to the new drive. I lost my copy of Windows XP, so there is no operating system on the new drive. What I intend to do is to copy everything to the new drive, format the old drive, and then use it as a backup drive.

I was given instructions that included changing the current master drive settings to dynamic, creating a mirror of the old drive and moving it onto the new drive, and then switching off the dynamic setting. I can't get this to work.

A. I suggest that you fix this problem by throwing money at it instead of trying to emulate hardware hackers who enjoy outwitting Microsoft's licensing rules. After all, you are not breaking any rules; you just want to put the operating system you paid for onto a new drive. The hands-down winner for doing this sort of thing is PowerQuest Drive Image 7, recently acquired by computer security Goliath Symantec Corp., which makes a competing product called Norton Ghost (www.symantec.com).

These $69.95 programs are designed to do exactly what you want, which is to move a mirror image of a lesser hard drive onto a larger, faster, better one. Used by business IT staffs to install operating systems on whole banks of new computers, Drive Image and Ghost create mirror images of the smaller drive. You can put it on CDs, DVDs or removable storage gear.

It also lets experts perform transfers over networks, but that won't work in your case. I prefer Drive Image, but either will work.

Here are some details worth knowing: The transfer will leave your new hard drive partitioned into two parts, one called C: that is the mirror of your old drive, and the other called D: with the remainder of the new drive's space.

So you will need to change the computer's BIOS settings to accommodate the old drive as E: or some such. Happily, you already learned how to make those changes by trying to figure this complicated matter out on your own.

When you've got the machine booting up from the mirror image and all the drives are running and talking to each other, you can then reformat the E: drive to gain storage space.

Let me add that this is such a hassle that I recommend that owners of newer machines with high-speed USB 2.0 or FireWire ports buy external hard drives that simply plug into the box and start working. With these external drives selling as low as $200 for 160 gigabytes and $130 for 120 gigabytes, they're more costly than the internal drives, but the ease of use makes the price worth it.

Q. I have two address books, one on my Palm 500 and the other on Netscape on my PC. Because I do not want to continue to duplicate my entries, could you please advise me if there are programs that could allow for communication between those two disparate systems?

A. The post-holiday hangover season is an excellent time to help folks whose gifts included Palms, so here goes:

Years ago, the makers of the so-called Mozilla software that lies at the heart of the Netscape Communicator Web browser created a program called an AB conduit that lets one use the Netscape e-mail address book instead of the software that comes with the Palm personal digital assistant.

Click on Start and then Programs, and find Netscape Communicator in the list that pops up. Select Netscape Communicator, and you should find a number of items besides the browser. One of these, Palm Tools, sets things up so that when you tap the HotSync button on a Palm's cradle, it will use the Netscape address book.

A lot of folks never see the additional software that comes when Netscape is installed because they make Netscape the default browser and always run it from the desktop or the Launch Pad next to the Start button in Windows.

Added details and the sync software can be found through this address maintained by Mozilla: www.mozilla.org/quality/mailnews/tests/buffy-mn-palmsync.html.




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