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Note: Please visit http://www.feyrer.de/g4u/ for the updated version of the software

How to "ghost" or "clone" your PC with g4u

When I first heard of "ghosting"software, most people will think of Norton Ghost which is a very good commercial software.

Now there is a similar software under standard BSD license. No license fees are requested. But to support the free software or g4u, donation are welcome.

I found that g4u is very suitable to be deployed in a network environment with server and clients connected together in a LAN.

We are using a free software called g4u ("ghost for Unix") to clone our clients' PC to protect them from failure and easy disaster recovery.

Call L & C IT Consultants to setup g4u/FreeBSD server in your office now!

G4U can be use to backup and restore any operating system, be it Windows or Unix, be it NTFS or FAT32.

With G4U and the compressed image, a faulty PC can be restored with the original image via FTP, uncompress it and write it back to disk.

Firstly, we downloaded the CD image file and mastered the g4u into a CD-ROM. It can also be copied into a floppy boot disk, but you need to download the floppy image. Similar with other GNU software, you also can download the complete source code for G4U as well.

Download here:
http://planetmirror.com/pub/g4u/ (Australia mirror)
http://theatomicmoose.ca/g4u/ (Canada mirror)

g4u-X.XX.fs.zip (Floppy image)
g4u-X.XX.iso.zip (ISO CD image)
g4u-X.XX.tgz (Source code)

X.XX is the version number.

The cloning process is done via ftp ("file transfer protocol") and multiple PCs can be setup with common configurations at the same time.

The "child" PCs will need to access the FTP server using "install" user account. Hence this "install" user MUST be created on the FTP server.

A compressed image of the "parent" PC is to be uploaded to the FTP server. The FTP server is actually running from my laptop. This laptop is connected to the LAN which also hooked up the rest of the "child" PCs.

A DHCP service is needed on the laptop as well. This is to use to dynamically configure network configuration on the "child" PCs.

This is how I setup my floppy on my FreeBSD laptop.

cat g4u-1.15.fs >/dev/fd0

Or if you are using DOS,

Or, if you are using Windows,

To burn the CD, just use Nero.

These following steps are performed to backup the "parent" PC.

Boot the "parent" PC using the G4U CDROM. Remember to connect this PC to the network and the FTP and DHCP is running off on the backup server. I use my laptop to be my backup server with an external hard disk 200GB.

To backup the entire hard disk, at the shell prompt, type:

uploaddisk ftp.backupserver.com Client34_20040715.gz

The command format is:

uploaddisk account@ftpserver filename.gz [harddisk_device_name]

For first IDE harddisk, device name is wd0, second IDE hard disk is wd1.

If you have a SCSI hard disk, use sd0.

You can ignore the account name if you have created a "install" account on the ftp server.

You can also just clone you partitions instead of the entire hard disk. This is a little tricky for DOS users as the naming convention is BSD-style.

This article only serve as an introductory material. For full coverage, please read more about G4U on this webpage:


Call L & C IT Consultants to setup g4u/FreeBSD server in your office now!


Good remarks about g4u

The advantage of Ghost4Unix is that is is very easy to restore the system even if
it so messed up that it wont boot.


take a look at g4u/ It works really well




Local Cloning with no network support

I often use the copydisk function to clone harddisks locally. It is relatively easy to do so. You just need to put both harddisks into a PC, hooked them up separately with the IDE connectors. One goes to Primary and the other goes to Secondary IDE. Next I setup the PC to boot from CDROM.

Once the g4u is booted up, run "copydisk wd0 wd1" for IDE drives.

With an Adaptec SCSI host card installed, I can also clone SCSI drives. The command is "copydisk sd0 sd1"

copydisk [Source] [Destination]

BEWARE! Don't typed it the other way round or else you will lose all your data by cloning your new harddisk into your old harddisk.

There is one incident when I did cloning an old harddisk with bad sectors.

This will fail! The copydisk just stop running, complaining that there is read access error from the source drive. I wouldn't say this is bad, at least it tells the user that the harddisk is no good.

The alternative is to run dd - the unix "cloning" command.

dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb bs=512 conv=noerror,sync

Faster if bs is increased to a higher value:

dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb bs=32k conv=noerror,sync

The noerror option is to allow dd to continue copying without stoppage even if error is found.


Other cloning softwares:

Norton Ghost

R-Drive Image

Last Updated: June 10, 2005

Last Update: 17 October 2002