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Windows 7: Wiped HDD - How to restore using Windows Backup?

10 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 Starter
Wiped HDD - How to restore using Windows Backup?

I want to share a recent experience I had for which I was unable to find the answer online.

I had a HP Mini running Windows 7 Starter and I used Windows Backup to create a system image on a portable USB drive. I didn't create a system repair disc since the machine doesn't have an optical drive and I didn't own an external optical drive.

I wiped the HDD to install Mac OS X Snow Leopard (which requires GPT). The SL install worked fine, but there was an issue with graphics compatibility that made the experience less than I had hoped. So, I downloaded a Windows 7 32-bit Repair Disc image, created a bootable USB drive and prepared to restore my Windows 7 Starter install.

Here's the problem - when I booted with the USB repair drive, I got a message which said "This system repair disc is not compatible with the version of windows you are trying to repair. Please use another disc." When I clicked OK, the machine automatically rebooted. I didn't have any windows version installed at that point, so who knows what it thought I was trying to repair.

The fix? Install Windows. The repair disc was no use for this, but I was able to get a legitimate download of a Windows 7 Home Premium installation disc image and create a bootable USB drive. Ran through the install without issue and just ignored the activation warnings since I had no intention of keeping this installation.

Next, I booted from the Windows 7 Home Premium bootable USB drive again. This time, I chose to repair windows. After searching for existing installations and finding Windows 7 installed, it then offered the choice to restore from a system image. Bingo! I was then able to choose the "latest system image" from my portable USB drive and do a full restore.

This didn't just restore the Windows 7 Starter install. It restored the complete partition table and the System and protected partitions that the OEM had originally set up on the HDD.

I discovered this method through trial and error and, like I said at the start, want to share in case others find themselves in a similar situation whether by choice, like myself, or through a hardware failure.

If this helps only one person, my time on the forum wasn't wasted.


My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Wiped HDD - How to restore using Windows Backup?

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