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Restoring system image to a different harddrive?

    Question

  • I backed up my windows system disk using the build in "create system image". Now my system harddrive is failing so I need to restore my backup to a different harddrive, I figured something this basic would be handled easily by the Windows 7 system restore... but I guess I was wrong, it refuses to restore the image to any other harddrive except the failing one. Is it really true that the image can only be restored to a hdd that is exactly the same size as the original was or the same hdd? Is there anyway to skip the disk check? Just for record my new harddrive is twice the size of the original and the backup image is only 10GB so it cannot be because of lack of space.

    What's the point of making a system image if you can't even use it when your harddrive fails?

    Are there any other tools that can be used to restore the image created by Windows 7?
    Friday, September 04, 2009 10:44 PM

All replies

  • Is the partition size of the new drive at least the same as the old drive's partition? If not, backups don't like restoring to smaller partitions that the one that was backed up.

    As far as utilities to get the win7 image working, dont know, but try using DriveImage XML to back up the old drive and restore the contents to the new drive. I find it better than Windows's built-in utilities.
    http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

    Hello! Please reply back, promptly if possible with the results to solutions to your problem!

    Curious about Win7 min. system requirements?
    Readme: Older ATI, Intel onboard graphics, or NVIDIA graphics cards on Windows 7
    Windows 7 tips
    - JoelbX
    Saturday, September 05, 2009 4:48 AM
  • i use windows home server... you can get the software for $99 at newegg now (make sure at least powerpack1) and turn a old pc into a home server.  I am actually running it on a dual 1 GHz P3 system i built 8 years ago. I ran into that problem myself and thought why??????  after losing my data once for that.  With whs... backs up automatically every night and all you have to do is boot from recovery cd and load.  (it even has disk partition utility built in).
    • Proposed as answer by DrX69 Monday, September 14, 2009 5:39 PM
    Sunday, September 06, 2009 5:43 PM
  • Hi ttol,

    You can use the system image created using Windows 7 backup to restore to a different hard drive. These are the steps:
    1. Boot into the repair disc / Windows installation disc
    2. Select "Reimage your computer"
    3. Connect the disk which contains the backups.
    4. Choose the recommended system image or choose a different one if you wish.
    5. On the next page select the time period of the image you want to restore to. Click Next.
    6. Now choose "Format and repartition disks".
    Go ahead and complete the wizard.

    Note that this will format and repartition the new disk and restore the volumes contained in the image. This will restore the OS, applications and data contained in the critical volumes (volumes required for Windows to run). You can restore the data on the other partitions on the disk from a file backup of required data from the old disk. I am assuming you have a file backup of your data as well.

    Can you explain to me as to where exactly you are facing the issue so that I can help you solve it?

    Thanks,
    Sneha
    [MSFT]
    Tuesday, September 15, 2009 6:24 AM
  • Hi ttol,

    You can use the system image created using Windows 7 backup to restore to a different hard drive. These are the steps:
    1. Boot into the repair disc / Windows installation disc
    2. Select "Reimage your computer"
    3. Connect the disk which contains the backups.
    4. Choose the recommended system image or choose a different one if you wish.
    5. On the next page select the time period of the image you want to restore to. Click Next.
    6. Now choose "Format and repartition disks".
    Go ahead and complete the wizard.

    Note that this will format and repartition the new disk and restore the volumes contained in the image. This will restore the OS, applications and data contained in the critical volumes (volumes required for Windows to run). You can restore the data on the other partitions on the disk from a file backup of required data from the old disk. I am assuming you have a file backup of your data as well.

    Can you explain to me as to where exactly you are facing the issue so that I can help you solve it?

    Thanks,
    Sneha
    [MSFT]
    I am also having this issue. After step 5 I receive the error "The system image is on a hard disk but Windows needs to format that disk to restore your computer. Choose a different image to restore." I would like to choose a new disk to restore to but I am not given that option.
    Sunday, October 04, 2009 10:39 PM
  • I am having a somewhat similar problem - I have been backing up weekly with the builtin backup util in Win 7 RC. I had a catastrophic HD failure last week with no recoverable data on the Win 7 drive. New drive installed, exactly the same drive as failed one except for the serial #, but my restoration of the drive image fails every time. I get this error message when the restoration fails: Error details: Element not found. (0x80070490). I can restore individual files, like data, documents, pics, music, etc. After giving up on the image restoration, and reinstalling programs onto the new Win7 clean installation, I could restore my Outlook.pst file, but can't get into the drive image to recover any other critical files. Is there any way to dig into the image to recover a few critical folders that are not in the user folders?
    Monday, October 05, 2009 2:01 AM
  • Hi,

    I found that if you are using external hard disk for restore purpose, it will not work.
    Use DVD or existing hard drive in the same PC.

    -AJ
    http://www.aloysiusjegan.in
    Monday, October 05, 2009 8:19 AM
  • Similar problem here! I loaded windows on a new 1 TB HD (65gb used) then I used WD drive copy to copy to a new but smaller WD Velociraptor 300gb, which worked fine for about 2 weeks. I had backed up files and an Image copy using Windows 7 Backup utility to my 3rd HD and had ran a second backup just a few days ago. Then I had some kind of failure and system would not boot. Got blue screen and reboot. I am now trying to restore my Image to the original drive 300gb but with the 1 TB drive connected I choose to Exclude it from the process. Windows restore then says it can't find the drive that's needed (maybe disconect the drive or include it) so I did with only the drive with the Image on it (3rd drive which the restore is calling it Disk 0 and my 300gb drive Disk 1, even after installing windows fresh on it tonight and it will boot fine as primary drive) it says it can't find the drive needed to complete the restore. I can use the "Backed up Files" Backup to restore directories and files but not the system state to get everything back to where I had it! What could be the problem I'm missing or what is the solution?
    Thursday, January 28, 2010 5:32 AM
  • Hi,
    It seems that when you attached/removed the disks then the disk ordering got changed.
    There are two basic requirements for Windows Recovery to work:
    1) Boot hard disk: This is where System (Active) partition sits. It should be the first disk. 
        Please verify that the correct hard disk is identified as Boot Disk:
        Open Cmd prompt: Diskpart.exe, Select Disk = System.
        This will show the Disk where OS will be restored.

    2) Hard disk size:
        Make sure that the boot disk size is equal or greater than the backup time disk size.

    3) If you find that a different hard disk is selected as Boot disk then check the hardware IDE/SATA port connector. Make sure that the correct disk is attached to the first IDE/SATA port. Check the BIOS menu also.

    4)If you are shifting your OS to a different disk, then remove the old hard disk before recovery. If both the new and old hard disks are attached, then restore will not proceed. You may attach the old disk back after recovery is done.

    5) The reason: If two disks have same Disk Ids then it create issues during recovery. The new target boot disk is assigned the same Disk ID as it was during backup of the old boot disk. During recovery, if you keep the Old disk attached then there will be a conflict of same IDs given to two different disks that would result into failure.

    Thanks,
    Vikas Ranjan[MSFT]
    ------- this information is provided as-is without any warranties, implicit or explicit.-------

    Wednesday, February 03, 2010 7:17 PM
  • Need a lot more information Sir. Are you saying that it is safe to remove the power from the old disk during recovery? If I remove the plug from the old disk, when do I do that exactly? Why is this so complicated? I want to shift my operating system to a new disk. I have the system image on an external HDD. I have the new disk installed in the computer. C: is disk 0 and the new disk is disk 1. the new disk is larger than the old disk and i created a volume that includes the entire drive with no partitions. My problem is that the System Restore utility in Windows 7 wil not let me choose where to restore the system image to. How do I do this? The utility finds the system image on my external HDD but it only allows me to place it back onto the old hard drive. Very frustrating.
    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 3:01 AM
  • Why is this so complicated?... The utility finds the system image on my external HDD but it only allows me to place it back onto the old hard drive. Very frustrating.

    You can say that again.

    I see that no one replied to your query.

    Why can't a restore be done to another hard drive? this seems like the FUNDAMENTAL reason for having a system image backup (i.e. to restore to a new hard drive).

    Argh!

    Sunday, August 15, 2010 8:11 PM
  • I finally went with a free third party software program that did what I wanted to do and it did it with no problem. Come on Microsoft. Let's get with it..
    Sunday, August 15, 2010 8:24 PM
  • I finally went with a free third party software program that did what I wanted to do and it did it with no problem. Come on Microsoft. Let's get with it..

    I did use Acronis 2009 (latest build, i think it was 9809) both from within Win 7, and also booting from an acronis boot disk. That worked fine.

    I did get the Win7 restore to work via a network share (the caveat being that the network option is a feature of Pro, and not available for home premium).

    I did make some progress by connecting the drive externally AFTER it says that there are no restores available. But this was unreliable; i mean sometimes it found the image on the external device and sometimes not and i don't know why. In any event, even when it found the image it failed almost immediately saying something about the disk signature. argh.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 3:45 PM
  • I've had experience in the past with PowerQuest's DriveImage (PQDI), now Symantec Ghost/Save & Restore, and PQDI insisted that the target drive be un-partitioned so that it could adjust the partition size dynamically - up or down - as needed. My typical scenario for using PQDI was, say, a 20GB hard drive that, over a period of a few years, all but filled up. By then, an 80GB hard drive was cheap so I'd clone the all-but-full 20GB to the 80GB and PQDI would make the 80GB look like the 20GB but with 60GB of free disk space.

    I have a hunch that Microsoft's "free" drive imaging program, while requiring an un-partitioned hard drive like PQDI, lacks the ability to adjust the partition size dynamically during a restore. As such, the restore has to be a one-to-one affair. If you're trying to restore the image from a 320GB hard drive, the target should be a 320GB hard drive, no smaller, no bigger.

    I recently tried restoring a 320GB laptop SATA drive, with only 60GB used, to a 128GB SSD. After failing with the Windows 7 repair disc and the image I had created to an external USB drive, I took the 320GB SATA and 128GB SSD drives downstairs to my Symantec Save & Restore rig and...voila!

    Thursday, November 04, 2010 2:21 AM
  • It worked flawlessly for me!

     

    I used an external hard drive (connected via USB) and I was able to restore Win 7 into my brand new hard drive. Thanks!


    Alejandro Ramirez
    Thursday, December 09, 2010 3:45 PM
  • Because the image on the old hard drive contains the identifiers of that particular hard drive, certain things like volume names, etc. All hard drives have a reserved partition called the reserve partition where the disk signature and hash is stored. Your image will only transfer to an external disk if the signatures match, or are regenerated anew.
    "http://support.microsoft.com/fixit/default.aspx ". This is MICROSOFT'S new, FREE, fully automated, anonymous support portal, which can help users resolve windows and other product issues with a few mouse clicks. BOOKMARK THIS SITE, EVERYBODY !!!
    Friday, December 10, 2010 9:13 PM
  • No, it is not for restoring to another drive. THAT requires a reinstall and data transfer using msdt.
    "http://support.microsoft.com/fixit/default.aspx ". This is MICROSOFT'S new, FREE, fully automated, anonymous support portal, which can help users resolve windows and other product issues with a few mouse clicks. BOOKMARK THIS SITE, EVERYBODY !!!
    Friday, December 10, 2010 9:15 PM
  • Hi,
    It seems that when you attached/removed the disks then the disk ordering got changed.
    There are two basic requirements for Windows Recovery to work:
    1) Boot hard disk: This is where System (Active) partition sits. It should be the first disk. 
        Please verify that the correct hard disk is identified as Boot Disk:
        Open Cmd prompt: Diskpart.exe, Select Disk = System.
        This will show the Disk where OS will be restored.

    2) Hard disk size:
        Make sure that the boot disk size is equal or greater than the backup time disk size.

    3) If you find that a different hard disk is selected as Boot disk then check the hardware IDE/SATA port connector. Make sure that the correct disk is attached to the first IDE/SATA port. Check the BIOS menu also.

    4)If you are shifting your OS to a different disk, then remove the old hard disk before recovery. If both the new and old hard disks are attached, then restore will not proceed. You may attach the old disk back after recovery is done.

    5) The reason: If two disks have same Disk Ids then it create issues during recovery. The new target boot disk is assigned the same Disk ID as it was during backup of the old boot disk. During recovery, if you keep the Old disk attached then there will be a conflict of same IDs given to two different disks that would result into failure.

    Thanks,
    Vikas Ranjan[MSFT]
    ------- this information is provided as-is without any warranties, implicit or explicit.-------

    Makes perfect sense, if two drives have the same LUN that is bad.  It also makes sense that it won't write the same hash key id to another drive with the same LUN.  I worked with SCSI for years, the rules are the rules.
    Friday, December 17, 2010 1:52 PM
  • I had the same issue and finally got mine to work. This is a Sony VAIO VGN-NS150j with Windows 7 and fresh internal SSD hybrid. Even though there was already no bios password set, i went ahead and enabled and disabled by giving and blanking out a password. Then with my hard drive that contains the image on it, I used a SATA  to USB cable to connect the Raw drive to the USB port on the laptop. Though I did not connect it until I got to the screen that listed the images available. At that time I connected my USB drive with image and hit refresh. I selected the image and clicked next and answered yes to the reformat of the new drive. Its now working. I could have sworn that I had already tried it this way but it seemed to work this time. This program is really flakey so keep trying and it may work. Very FRUSTRATING though.

    Mike

    Network Administrator

    Thursday, February 10, 2011 6:50 PM
  • I solved my issue. I was having the same problem. I have 2 x 1.5TB HDD's for storage (one was holding the image) and I used to have Win7 on my 500GB. I bought another 500GB to setup RAID 0. I had it all set up, but I was getting the same error after clicking go. What I ended up having to do was go into the BIOS and make sure that the RAID HDD was set as the primary boot drive, as Vikas said. It's such a simple setting I figured Windows would automatically have been able to figure it out...
    Saturday, March 05, 2011 6:43 PM
  • Doesn't the system image contain all the user data files as well? When you click backup, it makes the selection along with system image.

    Currently have a fsiled HD, which will be replaced- only backup is "system image".

     

    Thanks,

    Thursday, May 26, 2011 5:26 PM
  • Hi Sneha,

    I have sony vaio laptop and recently my hard disk got damaged so i forced to replace it. After installing new hard disk (new one is WD and older one is from thoshiba), i tried to restore windows 7, but i am getting error that windows could not complete the installation. To Install windows on this computer, restart the installation. Please let me know what i needs to do.

     

    Thanks,
    Satya

    Monday, September 12, 2011 4:10 AM
  • Hi Vikas,

    I have sony vaio laptop and recently my hard disk got damaged so i forced to replace it. After installing new hard disk (new one is WD and older one is from thoshiba), i tried to restore windows 7, but i am getting error that windows could not complete the installation. To Install windows on this computer, restart the installation. Please let me know what i needs to do.

     

    Thanks,
    Satya

    Monday, September 12, 2011 4:11 AM
  • Vikas - you say "You may attach the old disk back after recovery is done." Will this allow me to have 2 bootable copies of Windows 7 on my computer, and to select which one to boot from using BIOS?  Will having 2 disks with the same Disk Id affect the normal operation of Windows 7?  Thanks.
    Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:40 PM
  • You won't have two bootable systems. The BIOS will only read the OS from the Boot disk (First Disk in Boot order and is marked Active).

    Btw, you can also change the Disk ID of your Old disk using this cmd - Diskpart.exe -> uniqueid disk. Change the Disk ID and then reboot back into the Windows recovery env (without removing the old disk) and retry recovery. It should work.

    If it still gives the error then you may remove the old hdd. Also please make sure that a disk is not selected for partition recreation if it contains a data that you want to preserve cause recovery might select any disk that it finds suitable to recover your backup.

    Hope that helps.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:59 PM
  • Even if I tell BIOS to change the boot order and boot from the "new" boot disk (where I just restored the System Image)? 
    Thursday, June 21, 2012 3:13 PM
  • Correct. The new Disk will be the first in boot order and it will only load OS from that disk. It won't list other operating systems on other disks.
    Friday, June 22, 2012 3:50 PM
  • My harddrive is failing soon and I did a backup from 500 Gb hard drive with 3 partitions:

    c: 2gb
    d: 450gb
    q: 15gb

    I copied the backup to a 320gb external hard drive. The backup was about 52 GB

    The harddrive where I want it to be restored is also 500GB but has 2 partitions.

    c: 200gb
    d: 250gb

    Is there any reason in those harddrives that the restore won't find the backup from external harddrive?
    It finds my old backup from different computer from the HD i want the restore to be. (250gb d drive). The same copy is also in external harddrive and it doesn't find that either... Neither that new backup which I want to be restored.

    I also tried that failing drive back in the laptop to see if it finds the image from ext harddrive but no. It didn't find anything.

    I checked the driver installing option from restoring where I can see the drives and folders in the computer. There was my internal drives and also external so it identifies the ext drive but can't find the backup from there...

    Solutions?

    • Edited by MattiM Friday, August 17, 2012 1:16 PM
    Friday, August 17, 2012 1:13 PM
  • Sneha Magapu

    I cant follow your instruction. If you "Boot into the repair disc / Windows installation disc " then under Repair Your Compuer section, you are allowed to restore a system image that you created from a prvious backup. This backup is easy to locate for the restore untility. Wherein lies the problem is the exuction of the restore itself. For example, if you backed up a 1TB hard disk, with only 30GB of space used, you still have to restore the system image in to a 1TB hard drive. You cannot do that in to a 500GB hard disk.

    And i have not seen an option of "Reimage your computer" in the System Restore wizard. i dont know where you got that from. Furthermore, Windows 7 System Restore does its formatting and partitioning automatically to mach the settings on the system image backup. So, you cannot do that manually while running the wizard.

    please comment.


    If you don't try, you won't resolve whatever

    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:39 AM
  • I agree. Microsoft really chaps my hide when they dont get it right, which is a lot of times. They provide a backup program, which sucks. They provide a system recovery untility and methodology, which sucks. Microsoft is about chruning out shoddy products and knowing how to market them to the world at astronomical prices. And they get away with it time and again.

    After 30 years in the business of writing software, you think by now they would put for once an operating system with its add on utilities and services working well. Instead we have to go the normal routine of service pack upgrades, relentless updates, bug fixes, and so on and so forth.

    if Microsoft was in the Automobile manufacturing business, we would have a million accidents everyday. And they would not get away with it.


    If you don't try, you won't resolve whatever

    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:48 AM
  • Here's my problem...windows 7 on an Dell Inspiron. The hard drive began to fail so I was prompted to backup my system so it prompted me to the Backup/Restore function and I backed up to my external hard drive. I got the hard drive replaced by the tech but they don't do anything else. So my computer is running smoothly and i do the restore but i dont see anything back to as it was before the original HD started to fail my desktop was pretty much blank and i was able to pretty much drop and drag to fix my desktop as before. I then look for my favorites and they too are not there. Wherever I look up how to restore my favorites it tells me to use the import/export but that way is asking for a file (bookmark.rtf) ((I think)). But my favorites are saved like folders on my C drive. I can't figure it out. What kind of restore is this?? Need help please!
    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 6:30 AM