How to solve boot problems after restoring a client disk RRS feed

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  • How to solve boot problems after restoring a client disk

    Windows Home Server allows you to restore saved NTFS partitions to the harddisk. Sometimes these restored systems do not boot. System starts over and over again, or you get a Bluescreen of Death (BSOD) stating some cryptic message like Ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupt.

    Common reasons for this can be:
    • hidden vendor made or own FAT32 partitions on the original system, which are not saved and therefore cannot be restored
    • different hardware
    • issues with the restored backup

    Hidden partition no longer available
    Often you can recreate the special partitions on a new disk by using the system tools, supplied by the maker of the hardware, before you start the restore process.

    Otherwise these problems can be solved by some manual interaction:
    Operating system: Windows Vista
    If you have a Vista DVD, you can boot from it and try to run the Startup repair.

    Operating system: Windows XP
    You can be carefully already during the restore process. At the end you get offered a button Check boot.ini. If you use this button, Notepad will be opened with the boot.ini file in it for editing (what to edit, you will see later in text). If you forgot this step, you can:
    • repeat the restore process to get to this button again
    • attach the disk to another PC as secondary drive
    • boot with a Vista DVD and use the command prompt found in system repair options or
    • get a BartPE CD, boot from that and use the command prompt
    If you performed any but the first option, open a command prompt.
    Enter following commands (confirm each line with Enter key):
    c: (if you have the disk attached to another PC, the drive letter will be different)
    cd \
    attrib -r -s -h boot.ini (with the default attributes the boot.ini cannot be overwritten, so you have to change them)
    notepad boot.ini

    The boot.ini you get also presented, if you use the Check boot.ini button on the WHS restore CD after restore is finished (you should download the latest restore CD for this to function properly).

    You will now see text like:
    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Window XP Professional" /noexecute=optout /fastdetect

    This will be often found on laptops, which had a hidden service partition on the original disk. Because one partition is gone, change the (2) in both lines to (1).
    Save the file, close notepad and change the attributes back by executing the command
    attrib +r +s +h c:\boot.ini

    Reboot the system (or attach the disk back to the original system before) and check, if it comes up now.
    If you have a full Windows XP CD (and not one of the limited recovery disks) you can also follow the steps in method 2 in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314477.

    Different hardware
    Changes of the hardware platform to restore are not supported.
    If you have to do it anyway, because the original hardware got lost or is totally damaged, try to stay within the same family to reduce potential boot issues due to a different HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer).
    Issues caused by this often result in a stop error 0x0000007B. This can point either to wrong mass storage drivers (which happens, if you transfer a Windows system partition from IDE to SATA or vice versa) or to a different HAL.
    Issues with mass storage drivers after moving from IDE to SATA hardware can sometimes be solved by changing the settings of the SATA controller in the Bios to IDE (PATA, LEGACY) mode, if it allows.
    If not, you may have to perform a repair installation with Windows XP.
    Check also http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324103 for detailed handling guideline of stop 0x0000007B in Windows XP.

    With Windows Vista you may be able to enable AHCI mode in the registry. This is in detail outlined in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976.

    Do also not forget, that transfering a Windows installation to new hardware will usually trigger Product Activation for Windows and for installed applications. Since in old installations old components can slow down the system on new hardware or cause instabilities, performing a fresh install and transfering only the data from backup is the recommended way.

    Issues with the restored backup
    Sometimes the saved backup will not restore all files or settings properly. Symptoms may be error messages, the system runs not as stable as before or you cannot access some files.
    In such situations you can try to:
    • restore from an older backup
    • perform a repair installation
    • perform a fresh installation and restore only data files
    Be also aware, that some files are on the exception list for the backup (i.e. MCE TV recordings). These will not be found in the backup at all, so if you wish to keep such files protected you should take care of those files by storing them on a shared folder manually or via script.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Tuesday, November 11, 2008 10:17 PM