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Restore CD Drivers RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've had an idea, and wouldn't mind some feedback before submitting it as a suggestion on the feedback site.

    As the restore CD doesn't seem to have all the necessary drivers for some of the network hardware out there, I wonder if MS would be able to implement something like the following:

    As part of the connector software, it will interrogate the system as to what the network card is, pass the drivers to the WHS, which has an application on it to dynamically re-create the recovery CD iso image to include the drivers for the network cards the users has in their system, including wireless!

    It could them prompt the user the first time to insert a blank CD and burn their personalised recovery CD for their home, and if it detects different/additional network hardware in future, it'd prompt again to burn a new recovery CD.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:11 PM

Answers

  • You can load drivers for network or storage hardware during the restore process. On the screen that lists detected network and storage hardware (i.e. what the restore CD has drivers for), there's a button you can click for more details. From the window that's presented at that point, you have the option of loading additional drivers.
    Sunday, June 3, 2007 12:50 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I was also wondering the same thing.  I think this would be a good idea because it would simplify the user experience by not having to worry about messy drivers.
    Tuesday, March 13, 2007 5:52 PM
  • I like the idea of having one restore CD.  However, I would like to see the ability or option to load an additional driver(s) during the restore process.  Currently I can't restore my laptop through my wireless network due to the restore CD not having my wireless adapter driver.
    Sunday, April 15, 2007 12:36 AM
  • Great idea. To expand the idea would be to have the software create a "Driver floppy disk" like the traditional startup disk, or an option to transfer necessary drivers to a USB drive.

    I think that there are many easy options here.

    I tried a restore already and was unsuccessful because of drivers. Further I had no luck finding P4B drivers specifically for the NIC card that WHS would take.

    Dawg.
    Sunday, April 15, 2007 2:57 AM
  • I hope microsoft got the word on this. I was recently trying to recover one of my systems as a test and had problems for the same reasons above. Need access to drivers. There really needs to be some process in place to make it easier to restore a crashed system with all the drivers it previosly had. At least a wizard to create a network USB drive, floppy, or CD so you can get the downed system back on the network in order to perform the restore. This would go a long way to make this product much simplier to use.
    Saturday, June 2, 2007 11:17 PM
  • You can load drivers for network or storage hardware during the restore process. On the screen that lists detected network and storage hardware (i.e. what the restore CD has drivers for), there's a button you can click for more details. From the window that's presented at that point, you have the option of loading additional drivers.
    Sunday, June 3, 2007 12:50 AM
    Moderator
  •  Richard Holland wrote:

    I've had an idea, and wouldn't mind some feedback before submitting it as a suggestion on the feedback site.

    As the restore CD doesn't seem to have all the necessary drivers for some of the network hardware out there, I wonder if MS would be able to implement something like the following:

    As part of the connector software, it will interrogate the system as to what the network card is, pass the drivers to the WHS, which has an application on it to dynamically re-create the recovery CD iso image to include the drivers for the network cards the users has in their system, including wireless!

    It could them prompt the user the first time to insert a blank CD and burn their personalised recovery CD for their home, and if it detects different/additional network hardware in future, it'd prompt again to burn a new recovery CD.

     

    Heh, from the Windows Home Server help, in the topic titled "Where can I find drivers for my hardware?".  I can't remember if this is in the CTP build or not, but it's definately going to be in the RC. 

     

    Every time Windows Home Server backs up a home computer, it saves the drivers for the computer in the backup file. If you need to access the drivers for any of your home computers (for example, during a computer restore), you can open a backup for that computer and copy the drivers to a USB flash drive.

    1. Connect to the Windows Home Server Console.

    2. On the Computers & Backup tab, click the computer that you need drivers for.

    3. Click View Backups.

    4. Select the most recent backup, and then click Open.

    5. Select a volume to open (any volume will work), and then click Open. A window opens showing the files and folders in the backup.

    6. Plug in your USB flash drive.

    7. Copy the Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore folder from the open window to your USB flash drive.

    8. Remove the flash drive, and then insert it into the computer that is being restored.

    Now you can use the USB flash drive to install drivers for your computer's hardware when restoring a computer. The drivers you are most likely to need during a computer restore are the network driver and the storage-device driver.

    Note

    If you don't have a USB flash drive, you can substitute any removable media that has enough storage space for the drivers.

    Monday, June 4, 2007 7:02 AM
    Moderator
  • Copying the Drivers folder referred to onto a USB drive didn't work for my standard Dell Vostro. The restore CD was unable to find the drivers in the folder. Following help from the forum I downloaded the EXE network driver file from the Dell site, extracted all the files onto the root of the USB drive and that worked OK.

    The present procedure seems unnecessarily complicated - Acronis True image tailors the restore CD to the PC and works fine, perhaps WHS should do the same?
    Sunday, August 10, 2008 8:18 AM
  • I think that this is an excellent idea.  WHS restore process is convoluted and clunky for users who don't have simple boot disk configurations (single IDE disk). 

    Expecting users to build custom restore disks with flash media, copy drivers to floppy disks, etc, is unreasonable, especially if you want to walk someone through doing a restore when you (the home network administrator) is not around to help them.

    As someone else points out, many other system restore utilities such as Acronis do a marvelous job of this, their boot disk already has drivers that work with most configurations and they have the ability to generate a custom restore disk for any disk that the Acronis software is loaded on.

    It would be wonderful if the connector allowed for the creation of a boot disk for that particular machine that included the minimal device drivers needed to get the system painlessly restored.
    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 4:56 PM
  • You will still find, in all probability, that there could be drivers still missing.
    For example, you have a wireless laptop which you install the Connector software on, and want to create the specific Restore CD.
    Restores cannot be done on a wireless connection, only a wired one, so, the above created CD will have the wireless drivers, but not necessarily the wired ones as some laptops 'hide' the wired connection completely, while the wireless driver is operational.
    I guess that you could instruct the user to only use a wired connection to create this restore CD, but this then goes against the ethos the other way. There must be an answer, but I don't think it's quite straightforward.

    At present, when installing a system, I note the particular make/model etc., download all the drivers needed and create a USB stick which I then leave with the Customer.

    Colin
    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 5:09 PM
    Moderator
  • I can't quite understand the logic that the way things work now, which require creation of slip stream USB boot keys, copying of driver folders, etc, is better than making some attempt to streamline and simplify the process.

    WHS is geared towards home users who often don't know how to do these things.  What's the harm in making an effort to at least cover the majority of recovery situations by creating a tool that does some of the work for the user?

    It's been rather frustrating coming into the WHS forums at MS as a network engineer and seeing the small business management mentality applied to all things WHS when in fact the market is for Joe 6 Pack who needs an easy to use server that is also easy to do a recovery with.

    You can buy many off the shelf PCs today that will not restore correctly with the WHS restore disk because they don't have a simple Intel IDE disk arrangement.  Additionally most of these PCs do not have floppy disks to load floppy drivers for their onboard SATA controllers, etc.

    MS should either expand and improve the quality of the recovery CD with additional drivers or they should offer the ability, as suggested here, to create a recovery disk that handles the machine that connector is loaded on.

    I thought the purpose of this forum was for suggestions ... yet every time someone is making a reasonable suggestion that would enhance the product and make it easier for consumers to use, moderators come in and argue that it's a silly request, because there are already clunky and cumbersome tools/procedures that do the same thing.

    Moderators, please stop being so defensive to simple suggestions that could enhance WHS and make it an even better product.
    • Edited by jmpage7310 Wednesday, September 17, 2008 4:57 PM
    Wednesday, September 17, 2008 4:56 PM
  • Suggestions: The place Microsoft has really been asking for suggestions to be made is on Connect. Suggestions made there go straight into their tracking tools. the concept for this forum was really just to provide a place to post a quick description of some bit of feedback submitted on Connect, along with a link to same. I really do encourage you to post suggestions there, to search for suggestions that you agree with (or disagree with) vote, comment, etc. Microsoft will take all that into account as they decide on features for the next version of WHS.

    Restoring home PCs: The problems people usually have with drivers and Windows Home Server's computer restore process seem to come down to one of two things. The first is (unfortunately) that some computers have hardware which seems to require a driver loaded in order for WinPE (the environment for the Restore CD) to initialize. Those are the people who get a BSOD trying to boot the Restore CD. The other major problem that I see is that some hardware vendors deliver pretty poor drivers. In some cases WinPE just can't load and initialize a storage or network driver at all.

    I don't think creating a custom Restore CD image for a particular computer would solve the second issue. A bad driver (perhaps one that requires configuration the first time it's loaded) is a bad driver. It might solve the first, if the problem hardware could be accurately identified and the driver extracted and slipstreamed into the image. But creating and burning that image would probably be scarier for "Joe 6 Pack" than the current process. And it would require Microsoft to completely rework the Restore CD from the ground up.

    There are some other limitations to WinPE when used in this way, as well. That's why you can't use a secured wireless network for restoring; there's no way to initialize security for the wireless driver.

    As for why the mods here sometimes don't seem to take to suggestions, well, there are lots of reasons. One is that we probably like the product, and even like it the way it is. Personally, though, I'm likely to be less than accepting of just about any suggestion that adds complexity to the product. Microsoft has built a  ice simple tool for home users here, and I'd like to see it stay that way. Too many "features" and "nice to haves" and you get something that Microsoft is famously good at delivering: an 80 lb swiss army type knife. I think it would be great if Microsoft comes up with a better way to support netbooks and tablets (both of which seem to be subject to those BSOD issues when trying to boot the Restore CD), but I really feel it would have to be completely invisible to the end user to be much better than the current method for the average user.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:25 PM
    Moderator
  • Well, the name of the forum is "WHS Suggestions" so apparently I and others are confused about what it's here for.  You are far over-scarifying the whole "build a boot disk" thing.

    Have you used Acronis?  You choose "build recovery disk" from the menu (like what you have for choices in connector).  It prompts you to put a blank CD/DVD in your burner and it quickly burns an image with your drivers.  When you boot the PC with this disk it will see your hardware.  I've used it to restore over a dozen different configurations and it "just works".  How this would somehow make the product more confused and complicated is beyond me.

    The appeal of WHS is for me to have my backups done automatically and have my wife get her backups done without having to know anything about how a computer backup works.  WHS works very well for making the backups, but from what I've seen with my limited experimentation the recovery process is not painless.  A product that backs up your PC shouldn't involve nail biting and being told to make floppy discs to get your data back.  Acronis understands this, they let you make a simple boot disk that will get you recovered in 99% of configurations.  I don't see how this would make WHS "worse" or more complex.

    I also have to take difference to the "bad drivers" argument.  WHS recovery disk can't deal with a RAID-1 or RAID-0 disk configuration on very well supported Intel SATA controllers.  These controllers are on millions of motherboards.  The drivers are rock solid.  There are many off the shelf PCs that ship with RAID-1 or RAID-0 configs.  The WHS recovery disk should be able to deal with this, but it can't. 


    For the record, I've made suggestions on many products that the developers and product managers have been happy to add.  I've beta tested many products.  I've never seen an OS type product as poorly marketed, supported, or open to enhancements as WHS.  It's like the people just don't care.  Whatever the case, it doesn't matter.  We don't know whether MS even reads these suggestions or is open to them.  I get the impression that WHS is a product that tries to do "just enough" to get by and sell.  Competitors are trying to build products that make consumers go "wow" "how did I live without this product".  Many of the enhancements I've seen are modest in scope and would move the product from a "that's ok" to a "must have".
    • Edited by jmpage7310 Thursday, September 18, 2008 5:15 AM
    Thursday, September 18, 2008 5:07 AM
  • I use Acronis regularly. Acronis uses a Linux distro for their rescue disk, they have very poor support for certain types of hardware, and that probably won't change. For example, last time I actually checked (which is admittedly a few months ago now) they didn't support the (Intel, therefore extremely mainstream) RAID controller for my desktop system, and that's been on the market for about 3 years now...

    I disagree that "many" off the shelf PCs ship with RAID pre-configured. Almost no PC is shipped with RAID pre-configured. Almost every PC today has a RAID-capable HBA, however. As for loading drivers for the Restore CD, if you're having problems getting it to recognize the disks when you supply the "Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore" drivers on a USB key, then I really think you need to submit a bug report, because Microsoft does want to fix things if they're broken.

    The goal for WHS isn't to do the minimum, it's to "K.I.S.S." Features aren't going to be added because one person thinks it's cool. They'll get added if there's a real use case for a large number of families, and even then only if the complexity of the feature can be dealt with in a way that someone without a lot of technical expertise will be able to understand easily. And remember that WHS isn't a retail product. I don't have access to sales figures, but I would bet that most WHS sales are pre-installed on OEM products at this point, not through the system builder channel. Microsoft doesn't have to (and doesn't want to, I'm sure) deliver those "wow" applications. That gives their OEMs room for enhancement and product differentiation. Look at the HP MediaSmart Server. (Yes, the hardware is underpowered; I'm sure that won't happen again.) Web Photo Share, media streaming, a content aggregator? All cool stuff.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, September 18, 2008 11:40 AM
    Moderator
  • Seeing as my motherboard (an Intel BX2) is configured for RAID-1 and I've used Acronis to do recovery on it several times, I'd have to say you are mistaken about Acronis support of Intel RAID controllers, at least ones made in the last couple of years.  I'm pointing this out for the benefit of anyone else who might actually believe that the Acronis software won't do what I said it would do.

    In any event, this discussion has turned from something interesting and constructive (the idea of a recovery disc utility for WHS restores) into some kind of argument about who gets the last word on what makes a useful addition to the WHS product.
    Monday, September 22, 2008 3:33 PM