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Windows 7: Windows 7 System Image not finding image files

16 Mar 2017   #1
Buntobox

Windows 7 Professional 32 bit
 
 
Windows 7 System Image not finding image files

I had this issue for a week. I tried to restore a system image I had created in October of last year but each time I tried to recover it from the System Recovery Disc, there were no images found. I was driving me up the wall and no one on the various forums I looked at seemed to have the solution. I found supposed fixes involving the incompatibility of USB3 with Windows 7, disc drivers being required, the image needing to be at the root of the drive it was stored on etc, etc. None of them worked. My IT department at work were also worse than useless, suggesting I reinstall my MAC's OS and Bootcamp. That one made me wonder if they were actually listening to what I was telling them.

THE SOLUTION THAT WORKED.

It's down to the naming convention of the System Image Utility. The files are created with default names WHICH MUST NOT BE CHANGED, eg: WindowsImageBackup/PC Name/MM/DD/YYYY:00:00. I had four images and since this default naming convention is useless for identifying what the images contain, I had given them friendly names. WRONG! If the default names below the WindowsImageBackup level are changed in any way, the Image Recovery utility will not see them at all and the 'images to recover' list will be blank.
It's a particularly bad piece of programming to have a naming convention that cannot be changed lest the system fall over completely. What are you supposed to do if you have more than one image? Names and dates don't tell you much but it's all Microsoft gives you. I also think that this, plus not providing a 'browse' button that would enable you to point the utility at any image, anywhere, is particularly incompetent.
I'll be using Macrium Reflect from now on.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Mar 2017   #2
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

I recommend not letting MR establish and save its log files. A similar problem you encountered earlier can happen with MR, sometimes a log file no longer "matches up" with an image file because drive letters have changed or external hard-drivest not in the same place, etc. I don't MR or Image for Windows make log files; I can find the made image files just fine without the logs -- that is easy to do because I name each image: YYYYMMDD_x[drive letter]_S0z[which computer].
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2017   #3
akornj

windows 7 professional x64
 
 

Not sure if this is 100% relevant, but thought I'd share.

I've been working on a windows 7 machine for a client who was the victim of a remote access hack.

I had previously made a restore image and saved it to a spare hhd which I then disconnected, but left inside the PC case.

After salvaging what the client needed from the PC I went to restore the image from the spare drive. The windows 7 repair cd settings were all messed up and would not let me access the image, even though it was visible and not greyed out. I just kept getting the error messages what ever method I tried. Via safe mode the process went all the way through to the point an admin password was needed (when there was no password, so maybe the hacker made one when they had their session?). Via advanced recovery methods, use a system image you created to recover your computer went all the way through to the restart part but then gave an error, saying it was not possible to restart.

I spent around two hours reading and trying various fixes/work-a-rounds but I eventually gave up and reinstalled fresh copy of windows.... after it had installed I tried the windows 7 repair cd. Everything worked as it should have and I re-installed my image and I now have the clients PC back to a fully working state from the image.

So, just to clarify. If your windows 7 system is giving errors at every hurdle when trying to load a backup image, re-installing a fresh copy of windows and then using the repair cd to install a previous backup image is a good work around.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Apr 2017   #4
Barnstormer

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Hi,

What I have found to work best in saving multiple Windows Image Backups using the built in imaging program is to create a directory say (2017-04-23_Win7 Backup) on the drive where you are going to create the WindowsImageBackup folder. Once you create the backup you will see the WindowsImageBackup folder in the root of the drive. Move the WindowsImageBackup folder into the folder (2017-04-23_Win7 Backup) that was previously created. Now when you want to use this Image as the restore Image you must move the WindowsImageBackup folder back to the root of the drive.

I have successfully used this method a number of times and it does away with any possibility of creating an issue since you are not renaming the actual backup folder.

On another note, the most recent issue I have run into using the built in Imaging program on Win7 is that it does not have native USB3 support in the Repair disc that it creates. To fix my issue I burnt the USB3 drivers for my motherboard to a CD and Loaded the drivers manually after booting from the repair disc.

My reason for staying with the built in program is I have a number of saved images throughout the build process so if I needed to I could go all the way back to a clean system image with all Windows updates done at the time of my build.

Hope this helps in someway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2017   #5
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Renaming WindowsImageBackup and/or moving it to a new folder is a well known way to store multiple images. Manually loading the usb3 drivers is also required in a restore since most ext HDDs are usb3.
These tutorials may also be useful
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
System Image Recovery

A better solution is to use the more efficient, flexible and many would say more robust (free) Macrium Reflect V6. The pe5 restore CD/ISO is easy to make and has native usb3 support.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2017   #6
Barnstormer

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

mjf,

Sorry to say that is not 100% correct. In my case, I am using a USB2 external hard drive but the system would not recognize it CORRECTLY (you could see it and access it through the command prompt) until I loaded the USB3 drivers for the Asus Z170Pro motherboard which is why I posted the above information.

Of course that was my particular case but I thought it may help someone that may not be using Macrium and using the Win7 built in Imaging program like myself that is trying to restore an image they have created.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2017   #7
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I can see how plugging a usb2 ext HDD into a usb3 port would still require the usb3 drivers loaded. The specs on your motherboard say you have 2 usb2 ports on the back panel. Don't they work without loading any drivers?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2017   #8
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote:
If the default names below the WindowsImageBackup level are changed in any way, the Image Recovery utility will not see them at all and the 'images to recover' list will be blank
.

Finds mine without any difficulty.

I rename the sub directory, e.g. SIW2-PC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2017   #9
Barnstormer

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

mjf,
Unfortunately, it would not work even plugging the usb2 ext HDD into a usb2 port. In my case I had 4 USB2 ports (2in front case) and tried switching mouse, keyboard and usb2 external drive among them. It recognized the drive in all the ports and I could access it using the command prompt but it would never recognize the System Image on the ext. usb2 drive until I loaded the USB3 drivers manually.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2017   #10
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barnstormer View Post
It recognized the drive in all the ports and I could access it using the command prompt but it would never recognize the System Image on the ext. usb2 drive until I loaded the USB3 drivers manually.
On the surface this is very odd and I haven't experienced it on any of my PCs (all very different). 3 own builds, 1 OEM.

As to naming conventions Windows system image restore want to see a folder precisely named WindowsImageBackup in the root directory of the backup drive. The contents of WindowsImageBackup must not be corrupted in anyway. The strict naming convention has been a long known restriction of Windows inbuilt system imaging - along with other significant restrictions. Just look at the many old posts on this forum.

I've never tried giving a sub directory the same name as my PC name if that's what SIW2-PC is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 System Image not finding image files




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