Restoring from a Windows Disk Image Backup

Required Items for a System Restore

In case you need to restore a computer that has been running the Windows Disk Image backups, you will need three things:

  • A copy of the 'WindowsImageBackup' folder that was created by the disk image backup.
  • A method to enter the Windows Recovery Environment.
  • A computer to restore to.

The first copy you should try to use is the native WindowsImageBackup folder that was created on the local or network disk that you specified when you set up the Windows Disk Images tab. If this source is no longer available, AND you enabled the remote backups of the disk images, then you should do a server-side restore of the latest disk image folder in the WindowsImageBackup folder to a USB drive that you can take to the computer you will be doing a system restore to.

You can enter the Windows Recovery Environment through either the use of a Windows install CD/DVD or through a Windows Recovery CD/DVD. You will need to make sure that the CD/DVD drive has a higher boot priority than any hard drives present, so you can ensure that the computer will boot from the CD/DVD.

It is preferable that the computer you restore to is identical to the previous computer. If it's not identical, the main requirement for restoring to a different computer is that the new computer has at least the same number of hard drives as the old computer, and that those hard drives are at least as large as they were in the old computer.


Performing a System Restore

First, here is Microsoft's technet instructions on how to do a system restore:

Here is a reproduction of the steps:

To recover your operating system or full server using a backup created earlier and Windows Setup disc

  1. Insert the Windows Setup disc that has the same architecture of the system that you are trying to recover into the CD or DVD drive and start or restart the computer. If needed, press the required key to boot from the disc. The Install Windows Wizard should appear.

  2. In Install Windows, specify language settings, and then click Next.

  3. Click Repair your computer.

  4. Setup searches the hard disk drives for an existing Windows installation and then displays the results in System Recovery Options. If you are recovering the operating system onto separate hardware, the list should be empty (there should be no operating system on the computer). ClickNext.

  5. On the System Recovery Options page, click System Image Recovery. This opens the Re-image your computer page.

  6. Do one of the following, and then click Next:

    • Click Use the latest available system image (recommended).

    • Click Restore a different backup, and then do one of the following:

      • On the Select the location of the system image page, click the computer that contains the backup that you want to use, and then click Next.

        If the storage location contains backups of multiple computers, make sure that you click the row for the backups for the computer that you want to use.



        Then, on the Select the system image to restore page, click the backup that you want to use, and then click Next.

      • Click Advanced to browse for a backup in a remote shared folder on the network and provide the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to the backup, or if your backup is on a device, to install a device driver. (To install a drive, the driver needs to be present in local system. You cannot install a driver from the network and, instead, need to provide a local path to the .inf file to install a driver.) Click Next.

        If you use a domain in your environment, and if the backup storage location is on a computer that is a member of that domain, then computer containing the storage location should be on the IPsec boundary to be accessible by non-domain computers. When a computer boots into Windows Recovery Environment, it becomes a non-domain computer and cannot access the usual network shares. Only those computers that allow non-domain computers to access the share can be used as a backup storage location in this way.


        You can also address this issue by adding the computer that is your backup storage location to a workgroup and placing the backup in a shared folder. A computer running Windows Recovery Environment behaves as if it is in a workgroup, enabling you to access the shared folder with the backup.



  7. On the Choose additional restore options page, do the following optional tasks, and then click Next:

    • Select the Format and repartition disks check box to delete existing partitions and reformat the destination disks to be the same as the backup. This enables the Exclude disks button. Click this button and then select the check boxes associated with any disks that you want to exclude from being formatted and partitioned. The disk that contains the backup that you are using is automatically excluded.

      • Unless a disk is excluded, data on it can be lost—regardless of whether it was part of the backup or whether it has volumes that are being restored.

      • You should not exclude the boot disk—the first disk in the BIOS boot order. (This disk is usually referred to as Disk 0, but in some conditions, Diskmgmt.msc and Diskpart.exe may label it as something else, for example, Disk 1/2.) If the boot disk (Disk 0) is excluded then Windows will try to do recovery on BIOS Disk 1. But after the recovery, the system will not start and it may fail with an error that Bootmgr is missing. The BIOS will always use the first disk in the boot order to search for this file and if it is missing the computer will not start.

      • In Exclude disks, if you do not see all the disks that are attached to the computer, you might need to install the associated drivers for the storage device.


    • Select the Only restore system drives check box to perform an operating system–only recovery.

    • Click Install drivers to install device drivers for the hardware that you are recovering to.

    • Click Advanced to specify whether the computer is automatically restarted and the disks are checked for errors immediately after the recovery.

  8. Confirm the details for the restoration, and then click Finish. The recovery will succeed as long as all the critical volumes (volumes containing operating system components) are recovered. If any data volume cannot be recovered then Windows will show a prompt with unrecovered volumes at the end of the recovery operation (for example, volumes on virtual hard disks and Internet SCSI (iSCSI) disks).


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