I had a look at this again. I have an old computer that has XP on it and I bacyked it up using Norton Ghost, which has the capability of converting Ghost files into Virtual Hard Disks for use by Virtualisation Programmes such as MS Virtual PC and VirtualBox. I haven’t had much luck converting this backup to a working virtual hard disk. I recently updated Norton Ghost and a couple of days ago thought that I should try it again.

There was a little more luck. Ghost was able to convert the backup to VDMK, and eventually VHD. I thought I’d cracked it when the VDMK was created, in 2 gig segments, but the VirtualBox programme turned its nose up at the files, saying it wasn’t recognised and giving an error.

The VHD format always gave an error and stopped halfway through. At first I thought this was due to file size – or to be more accurate the 4 gig file limit for FAT32; but no, it stopped halfway through when I tried to create it on NTFS partitions too. However, after the update, it has now created a VHD file, some thirty gigabytes in size.

Again, fool that I am, I thought that creating the file was the end of the travails.

Virtual PC didn’t recognise the hard disk. When I attached it as a second disk to an already existing XP Virtual PC it couldn’t be read at all. On rebooting the Virtual disk it wanted to check the volume for integrity. I let it, assuming it wouldn’t take long.

So I get up this morning and it has finished checking the disk and re indexing all the files. Unfortunately it wont boot as a separate disk. It appears to be missing at least one file. It can be read in the other XP Virtual Machine but that’s of little use.

It brings another problem as I was looking to load the machine and export parts of, or the whole, registry. In particular the settings for Sophocles. I’ve done some hunting on the internet but can’t locate information on where the information for the registry is stored: to be exact what file. I know there are various reg files on the computer but they are – or should be – extra files where information too large for the registry are stored. Apparently there is a limit to the size of information that can be put into the registry; over two k and it should go into a separate file.

At least I’ve made some progress using Ghost; from being unable to create any files to creating dud files. But I think that’s not too viable an option. I think the main problem is Ghost itself. It may be able to create virtual disks from back ups but they don’t seem to be compatible with the programs that actually use the virtual disks.