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Windows 7: System Image - Recover a Broken Windows 7 System Image



System Image - Recover a Broken Windows 7 System Image

How to Restore your System with a Broken Windows 7 System Image
Published by whs
23 Jan 2012
Published by
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How to Restore your System with a Broken Windows 7 System Image


information   Information
There were many reports where people did rely on Windows 7 images. But, when their system became inoperable and they wanted to recover with their Windows7 image, it did not work. The reasons are not always very clear and it really does not matter. The fact that one cannot recover the system is a dramatic event.

This tutorial will explain a procedure how one may still be able to use this broken image for recovery if the following conditions are given:

  • The Windows 7 image is on an external drive or the drive can be externalized
  • You have another working system (Windows 7, Vista, or XP) to which you can attach the external drive
  • The VHD of the Windows7 image does still existThe approach is to reimage the Windows7 VHD and restore from that image.
We will use free Macrium for that operation. You will find a tutorial on how to operate free Macrium on this tutorial page.

For the recovery you need to burn the WinPE DVD which is explained in the Macrium tutorial. The recovery steps using the WinPE DVD are explained in this tutorial by Kado, which you find at this YouTube site. Note that this tutorial has text but no sound.

In addition, we will use the Windows Disk Management. If you type Disk Management into the Start/Search box and hit Enter, it should show up.





Step 1 - Check the Windows7 VHD

Attach the external disk on which the Windows7 image resides. The Windows7 image is in the root of that drive and the folder is called WindowsImageBackup. Open that folder (you may be asked for authorization) and the subsequent folders until you see a page like this:

System Image - Recover a Broken Windows 7  System Image-2012-01-23_1634.png

If you can see the VHD, as in the picture, then you are most likely in good shape.



Step 2 - Attach the Windows 7 VHD

Go to Disk Management. In the top left next to the File button click on the Action button and then click on Attach VHD. Then navigate to the Windows7 VHD as in Step 1, double click on the VHD, and click on OK.

Now the VHD is attached (also called Mounted). If you roll down in Disk Management, you should see it as one of your volumes. You can also see it in Computer where it should show like this:

System Image - Recover a Broken Windows 7  System Image-2012-01-23_1812.png

Make sure you write down the drive letter (which is 'F' in my example) because you will need that letter later.



Step 3 - Image the attached VHD

As a first step here, create a new folder on the same external disk where the Windows 7 image is. Call this folder Macrium Image. If you have a second external drive attached to that system, you can create the Macrium Image folder there. That will make the imaging step a bit faster.

Imaging an attached VHD is no different than imaging any other volume (partition or drive). Start Macrium and follow the steps explained in the Macrium imaging tutorial that is linked above. Just make sure you select the right volume (the letter you wrote down in Step 2) and that you select the Macrium Image folder you just created.

Then click Finish and OK and the image will be taken. That can take 30 minutes or more depending on the size of the data in your VHD.



Step 4 - Recover your system with the Macrium image

Attach the external disk to the system from where the Windows7 Image originally came. Boot that system from the DVD reader with the Macrium WinPE DVD. Follow the steps explained in Kados YouTube video which is linked above.

All you really need to do is to navigate to the Macrium image and drag it into the C: partition. The restoration of your system should be done in 30 minutes. After you close the WinPE window (after it told you that it was done), your system should reboot to the time when the Windows7 Image was taken.



Final Words

I am pretty sure that this procedure can also be applied to VHDs of other imaging programs that do not cooperate during the recovery step. But up to now, I have only seen people having those problems with Windoes7 imaging - on this and other forums.





.

24 Jan 2012   #1
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

That's very clever Wolfgang. I would never have thought of that.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

24 Jan 2012   #2
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Very nice, Wolfgang. Many thanks to you and Keith.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #3
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

What an inventive idea, Wofgang. Thanks.

Kari

EDIT:

I'm sorry but no rep

System Image - Recover a Broken Windows 7  System Image-whs_rep.png


My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

This is my new innovative way of thinking - LOL. I am glad you guys like it.

And Kari, it is the thought that counts. I do not make tuts for reps, but because I like to make tuts for you guys to have an easy reference.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #5
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

No, this tut really deserves rep. It's just that I couldn't, have to spread.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #6
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Yes it does. I got the same when I tried to rep it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You guys are too good with me. It feels good to have friends like you guys.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #8
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Then consider my rep as also coming from Keith and Kari.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
Then consider my rep as also coming from Keith and Kari.
Thank you Lee, very kind.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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