It's the same old story, ask anyone, most of us forget to backup or make copies of our important files and folders until we've been burnt and had a system failure. Norton Ghost allows you to make regular backups not only of your files and folders but also of your operating system too, so if you have a system failure it's easy to get your machine back up and running, and more importantly, intact.

Naturally, it doesn't copy the entire hard drive; merely a pared-down version that will get you up and running should your system fail.

Norton Ghost has always been easy to use and this latest version continues in this trend but Symantec has improved the features on offer. For instance, LightsOut is a new tool that allows you to recover your system without the need for a bootable disc, something previous versions didn't allow.

The main selling point of this tool is that you can schedule it to create a backup of your entire hard drive at regular occasions. These recovery points, as they're called, can be whenever you like, such as when you log-off, whenever you install new software or when you've finished using set applications. You can choose to backup the entire hard drive, either to a partition on your hard disk or to an external source. Once you've got a copy, you can just backup the changes, which saves time and resources.

Backing up the entire hard drive is fine if you want to restore the entire OS but if you've lost a single file, locating it can be a slow process. So, Norton uses a neat tool that backs up your files and folders separately so you can easily find them.

This wouldn't be a software suite if it didn't come with an array of extras, the best of which is allows you to copy the entire hard drive to an external source. In an ideal situation you'd use this tool when upgrading, typically from your current hard drive to a larger one. Another tool takes a recovery point and allows you to make a virtual disc from it, allowing you to use it as a hard disk.

Price when reviewed:

Symantec Norton Ghost 12 is an easy to use backup and restore tool with a clear and easy interface.

It's not the cheapest imaging tool out there - check out Acronis TrueImage for that - but with a wide range of tools it’s close to being worth the asking price.