Restoring via PXE boot RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am trying to restore a computer that has no CD drive, cannot boot from USB, and I cannot mount the drive in another computer.

    I can, however, successfully PXE boot into a Vista WinPE environment. When PE boots on the target computer, I can successfully NET USE shares on the WHS Server, and on other computers in my network. I shared the CD drive on another computer, put the Restore CD in that drive, and attempted to run windows\system32\clientrestorewizard.exe from the share. The program runs successfully, but when it gets to the part where it searches for my home server, it fails. Even manually entering the server name fails. I can successfully ping and map drives from the server, so I know network connectivity is there.

    Any ideas why I cannot find the server? Anything I can do to resolve the issue?

    Or are there other approaches I can take to restore an image, knowing that I can successfully PXE boot into a WinPE environment on the target computer? I can successfully run a Vista or Win7 setup.exe fresh install using this configuration, so one would think I would be able to restore my backup.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010 2:22 AM


All replies

  • I think the problem you are running into now is that some of the dll's needed are not registered in VistaPE.

    I wrote these instructions using the Windows7 installer, but it should work just as well from VistaPE.



    • Edited by timotl Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:23 PM clarity
    • Proposed as answer by Ken WarrenModerator Thursday, June 17, 2010 4:23 PM
    • Marked as answer by Joshua Flanagan Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:18 AM
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:23 PM
  • No luck. I followed the instructions, registered the DLLs, ran restorecdinit.exe, it detected my drivers (including ethernet), but when it got to the step for detecting my home server, it still could not find it. Again, I am able to sucessfully ping or NET USE a share on the home server from the WinPE prompt, so network connectivity is definitely there.

    Is there something "special" about how the restore client identifies/detects the home server? Is there any way I can trick the system into finding it (editing the HOSTS file, etc)?

    Friday, June 18, 2010 4:21 AM
  • I have to admit I'm a bit surprised that didn't work...
    Is the PE that you are using just the boot.wim from the install DVD or is it something custom?
    You mentioned above that you could install Windows7, did you try my instructions from the repair prompt?

    As far as I remember, it uses broadcasts to resolve the server so it just needs to be on the same subnet.
    Did it ask you for the name of the server after it failed to find it on it's own?
    Did you notice if restorecdinit stopped the firewall service?


    I've used PXE for a lot of things but I don't remember if I tried a WHS restore from it. If I did, I certainly don't remember it failing...


    Friday, June 18, 2010 3:39 PM
  • The WinPE was built using the instructions outlined here: http://flimflan.com/blog/DeployAWinPE20ImageUsingPXEAndTheWAIK.aspx

    I didn't realize there was an existing PE on the Vista installation media that I could use - I'll look into that.

    I've installed Win 7 for now, I'll try booting to the repair prompt and let you know how it goes.


    Yes, it did as for the name of the server after it failed to find it on its own. It then asks for the password, I enter it, and then I see a wizard page saying there was an error, click this link for troubleshooting help, but I don't think the link did anything.

    I did not notice anything about the firewall service. Is there a way to check that from the WinPE command prompt?

    Friday, June 18, 2010 9:57 PM
  • I was able to test a bit PXE booting VistaPE and I did see that unknown network error just after typing the password to the server. I hit back and tried it a few times and it finally restarted the restore wizard (my files are older than the ones on the server itself, so it grabs the most current ones and restarts the wizard) and worked as expected.

    I would say just to try it a few times.
    If you want to try the 7 recovery environment, you should only need to copy the boot.wim from the install media to your tftp folder and rename it to the same name as your existing .wim file.


    Friday, June 18, 2010 11:49 PM
  • Ok, so I was able to successfully restore a backup by using the Windows 7 Repair Console after installing Windows 7.

    Unfortunately, Windows 7 installs a new bootloader, as well as dividing my hard drive into 2 partitions - one that is 100MB, and another the remaining 80GB. When restoring via WHS, I had to choose the 2nd partition. Once the restore completed, I rebooted and was greeted by a fatal error from the Windows Boot Loader. I was hoping that WHS would take care of properly restoring bootloaders/MBR - I guess that was a little too optimistic. So now I once again had an unbootable system. I PXE booted back into my Vista WinPE, mapped a drive to the DVD drive on another computer so I could get at the Win7 DVD. I ran bootsect /nt52 ALL. Rebooted, and that hadn't fixed it. Booted into Vista WinPE again and used DISKPART to delete the 100MB partition. Tried running bootsect again, now with the /mbr option. Rebooted, and now I just get the "Insert system disk in drive. Press any key when ready..." prompt.

    Any suggestions?

    I have to admit my impression of WHS has gone way down after this experience. Sure, it backs up seamlessly, but restoring is a whole different game.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:01 AM
  • Nevermind, I figured it out. I PXE booted a DOS boot disk, ran FDISK and had to set the remaining partition as "Active". Rebooted, and my old WinXP image came back up.

    Thanks for all of your help - I sure hope the next version of WHS has more options for mere mortals to restore a computer without having to boot from a CD.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:18 AM
  • I made PXE read to Restore Client, it is workring without DVD-ROM

    but not need "RestoreCDInit.exe"



    Thursday, July 21, 2011 10:09 PM
  • I made PXE read to Restore Client, it is workring without DVD-ROM

    but not need "RestoreCDInit.exe"



    Can you please list the steps on how you achieved this as I'd like to do the same. Thanks.
    Saturday, February 11, 2012 4:17 PM