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Windows 7 backup/restore strategies RRS feed

  • Question

  • Dear all,

    After a sudden death of the drive in my PC due to the (then) famous hard drive firmware bug I started to getting very worried on running backup regularly. I did have regular backup to the most important files from one partition to another partition, but that was all gone because all of them resided in the failed disk.

    After a month of chaos, I finally realized that was a bug in the firmware and sent it to the vendor for the drive recovery. Now I got it back and bought another drive for backup purpose, the next best thing to do is the all-time important: the backup.

    Knowing that the only way to create a VSS backup for all the volumes in disk 0 to disk 1 is wbadmin, so I have:

    wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:e: -include:c:,d: -vssFull -quiet

    When doing the end-to-end testing for the restore, the only way I could (instead of GUI):

    wbadmin start recovery -version:08/31/2010-20:58 -items:d: -itemtype:Volume -backupTarget:e: -recoveryTarget:d: -quiet

    C:\>wbadmin start recovery -version:08/31/2010-20:58 -items:d: -itemtype:Volume -backupTarget:e: -recoveryTarget:d: -quiet
    wbadmin 1.0 - Backup command-line tool
    (C) Copyright 2004 Microsoft Corp.

    Warning:  The START RECOVERY command is not supported in this version of Windows.
    The operation ended before completion.

    C:\>

    Can anyone point out that this is the best approach in terms of backup/restore in Windows 7 (x64 Ultimate) using Microsoft's VSS implementation? The start recovery command seems not supported, what gives? Or I overlooked something in the Windows backup/restore GUI tools? Thanks in advance :)

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 4:15 PM

Answers

  • Hi chanchan,

    The wbadmin command is used across both Windows client and server, and some of the sub-commands are only available for server, wbadmin start recovery is one of them. This command is used to perform files/volumes/applications that were backed up using Windows server backup.

    On client, you can create a "system image backup" from the Backup and Restore control panel. This allows you to create a block level backup of your critical volumes (i.e. volumes that are required for your computer to run), and optionally any additional data volumes. To restore from system image backup, you'll need to go to the "Recovery" control panel, or boot from the Windows installation CD and choose "repair your computer" option. The restore wizard will allow you to restore at least all your critical volumes, and optionally your data volumes.

    Since the system image backup tool was designed for disaster recovery purpose (e.g. you want to restore your entire PC to some new hardware because the old hard disk died), there's no UI built to extract individual files/folders from it, or to allow restoring only non-critical volumes. But there is a way to work around it.   Since the system image is stored in a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format, you can mount it as a virtual volume to browse/extract its content. The way to do this is as follow:

    1. Right click Computer, choose "manage"

    2. Select "Disk Management"

    3. From "More action", choose "attach VHD"

    4. Point to the location of the system image VHD, click OK

    you'll now be able to browse the mounted backup image.

    hope that helps


    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    • Proposed as answer by Christine Fok Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:48 PM
    • Marked as answer by chanchan Thursday, September 2, 2010 11:25 AM
    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:45 PM

All replies

  • Hi chanchan,

    The wbadmin command is used across both Windows client and server, and some of the sub-commands are only available for server, wbadmin start recovery is one of them. This command is used to perform files/volumes/applications that were backed up using Windows server backup.

    On client, you can create a "system image backup" from the Backup and Restore control panel. This allows you to create a block level backup of your critical volumes (i.e. volumes that are required for your computer to run), and optionally any additional data volumes. To restore from system image backup, you'll need to go to the "Recovery" control panel, or boot from the Windows installation CD and choose "repair your computer" option. The restore wizard will allow you to restore at least all your critical volumes, and optionally your data volumes.

    Since the system image backup tool was designed for disaster recovery purpose (e.g. you want to restore your entire PC to some new hardware because the old hard disk died), there's no UI built to extract individual files/folders from it, or to allow restoring only non-critical volumes. But there is a way to work around it.   Since the system image is stored in a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format, you can mount it as a virtual volume to browse/extract its content. The way to do this is as follow:

    1. Right click Computer, choose "manage"

    2. Select "Disk Management"

    3. From "More action", choose "attach VHD"

    4. Point to the location of the system image VHD, click OK

    you'll now be able to browse the mounted backup image.

    hope that helps


    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    • Proposed as answer by Christine Fok Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:48 PM
    • Marked as answer by chanchan Thursday, September 2, 2010 11:25 AM
    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:45 PM
  • I too did backups with the wbadmin tool on a windows 7 box. Just out of curiosity did I decide to see if I could restore my data as a test. After fighting with the garbage tool and the bullshit syntax it uses for a couple of hours, I finally got to where I needed to be only to get the message:

    C:\Users\admin>wbadmin start recovery -version:12/29/2011-03:00 -itemType:Volume -items:G: -recoveryTarget:c:\test
    wbadmin 1.0 - Backup command-line tool
    (C) Copyright 2004 Microsoft Corp.

    Warning:  The START RECOVERY command is not supported in this version of Windows.
    The operation ended before completion.

    YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS? ITS A SCAM. THIS COULD EASILY BE ENABLED BUT DUE TO MICROSOFT'S BULLS**T LICENSING IT'S RESTRICTED. WHY THE F**K DID IT ALLOW MY TO DO THE BACKUP THEN? COULD IT HAVE HAD A NOTE AT TIME OF BACKUP THAT  "THE RESTORE WAS DISABLED"? NO, WHY DO THAT. LET SOME SOME FOLKS BACKUP AND THEN BE SCREWED WHEN IT'S UNRECOVERABLE!

    I find that both Windows 7 and Windows 2008 server to be a real joke. For a company that rules the world by force I think it's rather pathetic how poor some of the tools they implement really are. Microsoft, don't you have enough f**king money yet?



    • Edited by Samhayne Thursday, December 29, 2011 4:04 PM
    • Proposed as answer by Str1ct Thursday, January 5, 2012 4:58 PM
    Thursday, December 29, 2011 3:59 PM
  • Mounted OK as E: on my system.

    But when trying to access E: got the following.

    The File or Directory is corrupted or unreadable.

    Do you want to format it?  No thanks.  I thought this

    was my solid backup.  Doesn't formatting erase all data?

    Since Windows Utilities Created this VHD successfully.

    Then why is it now corrupted?

    It is a good thing that US corporations pay us technical people

    to figure all this Microsoft stuff out.  : )

    Saturday, March 31, 2012 12:58 PM
  • Christine's answer led me to a solution for drive recovery that I had otherwise overlooked.  My computer was infected by the SMART.hdd virus, which changes the file attributes for files on the hard drive to "hidden" and apparently makes registry modifications to block recovery efforts.  In my case, my computer was unable to execute a system restore or system image recovery because Windows wasn't able to find the restore points and Windows doesn't allow you to point to specific partition image recovery files in the recovery routine.  If Windows doesn't automatically find the recovery image (which in my case was on a second hard internal hard drive), it can't restore the image. 

    Christine's suggestion led me to manually lookup the .vhd file created by Windows backup imaging, and I was able to use a trial version of Acronis backup (which uses .vhd files for backup/restore) to do a "bare metal disk" restoration of the image, replacing the infected partition.  Even though I had successfully removed the virus and restored file visibility following the virus attack, I still wasn't comfortable living with the prospect that there were registry modifications that were unknown/un-reversed.

    Bottom line, if you have a machine that windows cannot restore/recover and you have a backup image file (.vhd) made by Windows, you can locate that file in your backup and use it to fully restore the partition.  In my case, the Acronis free trial version worked fine, but I'm sure there are other programs out there that can perform a similar manual recovery.  Thanks Christine!  Without your post, I would not have figured out this solution, and I had spent many hours reading threads trying to come up with a way to restore a pre-virus backup.  This also taught me a lesson about Windows Backup and restore points...which many threads confirmed.  These are pretty weak and unreliable, and you don't want to discover that when your machine's not easily restorable when you need to restore it.  I've since gone back to Norton Ghost 15, which I previously dumped in favor of using the Windows Backup utility.  I'm honestly not a fan of Ghost, but I already had it. I'd try something else, but I have yet to find any backup program that gets consistently good reviews.


    • Edited by sjm-austin Wednesday, April 4, 2012 3:17 AM
    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 3:12 AM
  • Hi, even if the thread is an old one, i thought that it might be useful for you and others too to post my answer.
    Restoring a data volume backup performed with the command wbadmin start backup is not possible in the windows client versions but it is possible in the WinRE os, either booting the machine from a Windows installation disk or from the hard disk system partition.
    Once you have booted into WinRE just open the command line and use the wbadmin start recovery command to restore your data volume back up. Obviously, when you boot into WinRE, the letters of the mounted volumes could be different from the ones you have when you are working in Windows so be sure to replace the right letters in your wbadmin start recovery options, that is in the -items, - backupTarget and -recoverytarget options.
    Other than that the -recoveryTarget option must always be used when you restore a data volume backup from WinRE since when you boot into WinRE the guid of the mounted volume you want to restore will be always different from the one you had in windows (The one that you backed up).
    Hope this helps.
    Regards



    Monday, September 10, 2012 9:09 PM
  • Does not work to browse files.  When mounted, the VHD is shown as not initialized.
    Friday, March 11, 2016 7:33 PM
  • I had the same experience.  Is there any answer?
    Friday, March 11, 2016 7:34 PM
  • Thanks Christine, Chanchan. This alternative to restore a single file worked for me since I make my backups as files on hard drives.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2016 8:49 PM