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WHS Client PC Full Restore without Bootable CD RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have had to replace the hard drive of a Toshiba Portege 3500 tablet computer. There is just one small problem. The Portege does not support booting off a generic USB-based CD/DVD drive. Toshiba provided a mechanism to do an almost full base product restore from CD by booting from floppy and invoking a CD-based dos script. Now that I have a working tablet, I find that actually doing a full restore from the WHS backup is blocked by my inability to boot from the Recovery CD. Is there another means to do a FULL restore? I have tried doing a copy from the WHS backup, but am being thwarted by the existing open files -- which of course XP respects. So, how do I proceed?

    (And of course installing W7 on this machine, though potentially possible, seems pretty unlikely as well.
    Sunday, November 1, 2009 9:39 PM

Answers

  • I have had to replace the hard drive of a Toshiba Portege 3500 tablet computer. There is just one small problem. The Portege does not support booting off a generic USB-based CD/DVD drive. Toshiba provided a mechanism to do an almost full base product restore from CD by booting from floppy and invoking a CD-based dos script. Now that I have a working tablet, I find that actually doing a full restore from the WHS backup is blocked by my inability to boot from the Recovery CD. Is there another means to do a FULL restore? I have tried doing a copy from the WHS backup, but am being thwarted by the existing open files -- which of course XP respects. So, how do I proceed?

    (And of course installing W7 on this machine, though potentially possible, seems pretty unlikely as well.
    You could pull the hard drive out of the laptop, connect it to another computer that is already connected to your server, and restore your backup from there by running C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server\ClientRestoreWizard.exe.  Just make sure you select the correct drive when you do your restore.  Otherwise, you will probably have to restore your computer back to its default factory state, install whichever apps you had before, then restore your data after re-connecting that laptop back to your server (using the Single File Restore ability).
    Monday, November 2, 2009 12:35 AM
    Moderator
  • If your tablet can boot off of a USB flash drive, you can create a bootable flash drive and copy the Restore CD contents (including all hidden and system files/folders) to that. There are plenty of tutorials on the web for this, but I'll point you at this one.

    But I will warn you that other users have attempted this, and found that some tablets bluescreen in startup. In that case your only option is going to be to restore on a different computer as kariya21 has suggested.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, November 2, 2009 4:10 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks to everyone who provided suggestions. The tablet is restored but it required a lot more fiddling than I felt was appropriate. The problem starts with the Toshiba design for the Portege 3500 -- they decided to only support boot off floppy or specific models of external CDs (not one that I had or could even be found currently). It also supported PXE boot but I didn't want to get into how to setup a PXE server and rebuild install media for this method.

    Essentially what had to be done was boot off floppy with drivers that would open the external CD. The North American Portege (which I bought new) came with product recovery CDs that could be invoked through a DOS command. This gave me an OS on the disk (strangely minus the Toshiba management tools and the drivers for everything but the build-in wireless). These were recovered from the USB key I built with the WHS 'save drivers'. The recovery formats and partitions the drive as one big bucket -- but without booting from the WHS recovery CD I am still stuck. And of course it was XP SP1 so more hours of patching and SP installs before I could install anything else. So I installed the Acronis Disk Manager and repartitioned the disk. I tried copying the WHS recovery files to one of these, but I could never get it to boot so gave up. Then I installed the WHS connector software on the basic OS partition and used it to recover my original tablet backup to the second partition. Much faster than I expected, seemed to take about two hours end to end for 40gb on a 100mb ethernet link. More fiddling with the boot files including changing the boot.ini on the recovered partition to point to itself rather than back to partition 1 and we seem to be home free. I now have my original tablet files back and fully functional.

    I realize that the limitations of the hardware (by intent!) were the major issue. I was pleasantly surprised that the WHS backup restore worked as well as it did. And it was a refresher as to why DOS was such a pain -- still, it is the underpinnings for a lot of recovery work and a bit better support for that level would have been nice.
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 12:36 PM

All replies

  • I have had to replace the hard drive of a Toshiba Portege 3500 tablet computer. There is just one small problem. The Portege does not support booting off a generic USB-based CD/DVD drive. Toshiba provided a mechanism to do an almost full base product restore from CD by booting from floppy and invoking a CD-based dos script. Now that I have a working tablet, I find that actually doing a full restore from the WHS backup is blocked by my inability to boot from the Recovery CD. Is there another means to do a FULL restore? I have tried doing a copy from the WHS backup, but am being thwarted by the existing open files -- which of course XP respects. So, how do I proceed?

    (And of course installing W7 on this machine, though potentially possible, seems pretty unlikely as well.
    You could pull the hard drive out of the laptop, connect it to another computer that is already connected to your server, and restore your backup from there by running C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server\ClientRestoreWizard.exe.  Just make sure you select the correct drive when you do your restore.  Otherwise, you will probably have to restore your computer back to its default factory state, install whichever apps you had before, then restore your data after re-connecting that laptop back to your server (using the Single File Restore ability).
    Monday, November 2, 2009 12:35 AM
    Moderator
  • The client restore wizard is interesting, with our laptops there is only the system drive -- so the restore selector stays blank and one cannot proceed. If we had some extra working computers with multiple EIDE connectors I might try the other approach -- but we don't. Only our laptops use these types of drives -- the rest are SCSI or SATA. And our laptops are not fitted for multiple disk drives. And restoring 100,000 files one at a time is not a very attractive proposition.

    I realize that there are issues replacing in-use system files, but am aware that there are system calls for getting around it that things like NTBackup use for restores (like pending deletes, etc). WHS superficially appears to be intended for unsophisticated folk, so I don't see why the restore functionality would be so primitive.

    SO while WHS provides protection for the classic oops, I am quite surprised that its disaster recovery capability is so limited. I have seen a lot of media chatter about how solid the backup protection is, but without a painless restore capability that promise is pretty hollow. I am still left with the need to perform an independent backup to capture a restorable system image. Pity...
    Monday, November 2, 2009 2:51 PM
  • You could pull the hard drive out of the laptop, connect it to another computer that is already connected to your server, and restore your backup from there by running C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server\ClientRestoreWizard.exe.  Just make sure you select the correct drive when you do your restore.  Otherwise, you will probably have to restore your computer back to its default factory state, install whichever apps you had before, then restore your data after re-connecting that laptop back to your server (using the Single File Restore ability).

    Would this even work? WHS documents clearly state will only restore back-ups to "original" computer that they came from. I'm thinking the back-up database at some point pulls a unique machine identifier much as the "activation process" does from the computer and will only restore backups to a configuration which matches. This would prevent using one backup to circumvent pirating problems with OS etc. by just re-loading a fully functioning/licensed/activated copy of a computer onto another. Don't know this to be true, just seems likely/possible reading the wording regarding restoration of backups. This could also create possible problems with restoring a backup to a client which had a motherboard transplant.
    Monday, November 2, 2009 3:49 PM
  • ...
    Would this even work?
    ...
    Yes. Read the topic Learn how to restore files from a backup in the Console help.

    In general, trying to restore a bootable disk image from computer A to computer B will result in an unbootable computer B, but that's nothing that Windows Home Server has any control over. If the drivers are too different, computer B will probably bluescreen during startup. Also, the OS installation on computer A may be tied by the EULA to that specific hardware, so you may technically be violating your agreement with Microsoft to restore to new hardware.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, November 2, 2009 4:00 PM
    Moderator
  • If your tablet can boot off of a USB flash drive, you can create a bootable flash drive and copy the Restore CD contents (including all hidden and system files/folders) to that. There are plenty of tutorials on the web for this, but I'll point you at this one.

    But I will warn you that other users have attempted this, and found that some tablets bluescreen in startup. In that case your only option is going to be to restore on a different computer as kariya21 has suggested.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, November 2, 2009 4:10 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks to everyone who provided suggestions. The tablet is restored but it required a lot more fiddling than I felt was appropriate. The problem starts with the Toshiba design for the Portege 3500 -- they decided to only support boot off floppy or specific models of external CDs (not one that I had or could even be found currently). It also supported PXE boot but I didn't want to get into how to setup a PXE server and rebuild install media for this method.

    Essentially what had to be done was boot off floppy with drivers that would open the external CD. The North American Portege (which I bought new) came with product recovery CDs that could be invoked through a DOS command. This gave me an OS on the disk (strangely minus the Toshiba management tools and the drivers for everything but the build-in wireless). These were recovered from the USB key I built with the WHS 'save drivers'. The recovery formats and partitions the drive as one big bucket -- but without booting from the WHS recovery CD I am still stuck. And of course it was XP SP1 so more hours of patching and SP installs before I could install anything else. So I installed the Acronis Disk Manager and repartitioned the disk. I tried copying the WHS recovery files to one of these, but I could never get it to boot so gave up. Then I installed the WHS connector software on the basic OS partition and used it to recover my original tablet backup to the second partition. Much faster than I expected, seemed to take about two hours end to end for 40gb on a 100mb ethernet link. More fiddling with the boot files including changing the boot.ini on the recovered partition to point to itself rather than back to partition 1 and we seem to be home free. I now have my original tablet files back and fully functional.

    I realize that the limitations of the hardware (by intent!) were the major issue. I was pleasantly surprised that the WHS backup restore worked as well as it did. And it was a refresher as to why DOS was such a pain -- still, it is the underpinnings for a lot of recovery work and a bit better support for that level would have been nice.
    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 12:36 PM
  • You could pull the hard drive out of the laptop, connect it to another computer that is already connected to your server, and restore your backup from there by running C:\Program Files\Windows Home Server\ClientRestoreWizard.exe.  Just make sure you select the correct drive when you do your restore.  Otherwise, you will probably have to restore your computer back to its default factory state, install whichever apps you had before, then restore your data after re-connecting that laptop back to your server (using the Single File Restore ability).
    Kariya,

    I don't mean to hi-jack this thread but my question has to do with this type of restore. My host machine is a Windows 7 and the restore I wanted to do is of a Windows 7 machine. I noticed during the process of picking what image to restore to which drive you have the opition of restoring that 100mb parition that Windows 7 makes. It is my understanding the this is used to boot the machine. What I want to know is where will WHS place this image? Will it place it on the drive you are restoring to or will it restore it to the booted OS hidden 100mb parition? I ask becuase WHS doesn't give you a choice of where to restore this 100mb partition to. 

    Thanks,
    fasthair
    Saturday, November 7, 2009 8:14 PM
  • The client restore wizard is interesting, with our laptops there is only the system drive -- so the restore selector stays blank and one cannot proceed. If we had some extra working computers with multiple EIDE connectors I might try the other approach -- but we don't. Only our laptops use these types of drives -- the rest are SCSI or SATA. And our laptops are not fitted for multiple disk drives.

    As pointed out by kariya21, ClientRestoreWizard.exe is an option.  You can temporarily connect the drive via a USB port using an adaptor.  Most adaptors have connections for an EIDE/PATA (laptop and desktop HD) and SATA.  I use the Apricorn model ADW-USB-KIT without issues.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009 8:56 PM
  • I don't mean to hi-jack this thread but my question has to do with this type of restore. My host machine is a Windows 7 and the restore I wanted to do is of a Windows 7 machine. I noticed during the process of picking what image to restore to which drive you have the opition of restoring that 100mb parition that Windows 7 makes.

    I'd suggest starting a new thread on this topic.  Given Windows 7 is upon us and I have had the same issue, do other forum users a favor and have a dedicated thread on this issue.
    Sunday, November 8, 2009 12:47 AM
  • L'd suggest starting a new thread on this topic.  Given Windows 7 is upon us and I have had the same issue, do other forum users a favor and have a dedicated thread on this issue.

    Yeah I knew I should have done that and so I will.

    fasthair
    Sunday, November 8, 2009 12:56 AM