Windows 7 Backup/Recovery DVD install directly to a virtual machine...

  1. Posts : 4
    Windows 7 Professional

    Windows 7 Backup/Recovery DVD install directly to a virtual machine...

    Hey guys,

    My brother in law passed away weeks ago, and I'm desperate to find some important old files from 10 years ago that might have been on his old laptop - which I cannot find.

    I have some Windows 7 Backup DVD's (5 in total) for an ASUS laptop, but no laptop!
    Is there a way to successfully install this on a virtual machine?

    I have tried and although it starts off promising with booting up a Windows recovery, I get greeted with the message "the recovery DVD is not for this model, check again". Now I understand that this is due to recovery DVD's being designed specifically for the hardware it was created on, but is there anyway around this?

    BTW I have no idea what model his laptop was, otherwise I would try and hunt down a second hand one and use the DVDs on that.

    Many thanks
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 6,147
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    First and foremost, sorry about your loss.

    Do you happen to know what software created the backup DVDs? Was it just Windows backup or some program? Do the DVD file contents shed a clue?

    IF the DVD file contents are in a raw state you could navigate them as you would navigate files and folders in Window using Explorer. Your primary focus will be the Users folder. Just open the DVD drive and navigate. Everything is in there minus a running OS.

    What I'd personally try to do is first convert those disks to some kind of ISO or image format. There's plenty of software out there to do this. One is IMGBurn. (Note to all: the sponsored download links at the actual IMGBurn website may be deceiving. Especially the Digital Digest crap link. That download is full of malware. I checked the download at Virus Total. The link at Major Geeks is good as of this writing).

    Okay, now click on "Create image file from disk."

    Windows 7 Backup/Recovery DVD install directly to a virtual machine...-imgburn.jpg

    Do this for ALL of the five disks. You'll now have five ISO image files (consider these a backup to a backup).

    Now you want to browse these ISO image files for what ever content is in them. To do that you can use PassMark's OSFMount or IMDisk Virtual Disk Driver.

    Lets try OSFMount first. OSFMount - Mount Disk Images & Create RAM Drives

    Very simple. Select Mount new, navigate to the ISO file and select "Mount as RAM drive."

    The drive will be under the My Computer icon as a virtual mounted HDD. Now you can navigate withen the Windows backup ISO file. It'll be like using Explorer to look around folders and what not in your own computer. Again, Your primary focus will be the Users folder.

    Now, this will ONLY work if the backup is in a raw-like format. I'm assuming this to be the case since at least VMware said, "nope! You're OS can't be installed here."

    Once these disks are mounted we can probably ascertain just what laptop was used for the backups from within the registry in the backups. This is a multi-step, nerdy process. Once we can verify that you can successfully view the disk's contents in ISO format or just browsing the loaded DVDs in the drive, we can move on to that step.


    Is the laptop in your possession at all?


    I'm hoping this message: the recovery DVD is not for this model, check again wasn't invoked by some propitiatory software that created the disks. Otherwise we'll have to do something else. If these disks were created with some kind of software and the contents are not navigable, I'll need to know the name of the software that created them or any information about the data on the DVDs. Like its format. The other thing is that if the disks are encrypted it might be game over. I have resources to crack encryption, but the more advanced the password the costlier it is. We're talking several thousand dollars a month just to run an AWS cloud instance per month!
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 4
    Windows 7 Professional
    Thread Starter

    Hi there,

    thanks so much, really appreciate the kind words :)

    Thanks for lengthy reply and apologies for my late one back.

    Unfortunately data is not in a raw state.

    The software used seems to be Power2Go.
    Windows 7 Backup/Recovery DVD install directly to a virtual machine...-2022-02-20-08_23_18-windows-7-backup_recovery-dvd-install-directly-virtual-machine...-win.png
    Here is the screenshot of the first DVD. It was a Windows boot type setup, with a disk image file (*.IMG) on it. If I try and mount that image, it says file is corrupted.

    Windows 7 Backup/Recovery DVD install directly to a virtual machine...-2022-02-20-08_38_32-windows-7-backup_recovery-dvd-install-directly-virtual-machine...-rep.png
    Here is a screenshot of the second DVD. The only file besides the text file that says "Power2Go" is a *.001 file.
    Other DVD's are *.002, *.003, *.004

    I have downloaded Power2Go but cannot find a way to open and extract this data.

    I've made a image of all disks using Imgburn as suggested.

    I tried OSFMount, but yeah because the data is not in a raw format it doesn't get me any further.

    Unfortunately don't have the laptop in my possession. If there was a way to find out the model, I would try and hunt one down.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 6,147
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    Just letting you know I've read your message and I'm going to ponder on this a bit before I post a possible solution.

    In the meantime, I've noticed that you're not showing file extensions. You know, file extensions like a .txt for a text document, .zip for a zip archive, etc. To show file extensions you'll need to go to the Windows Control Panel | Folder Options and select the option to show file extensions.

    This is important for two chief reasons:

    1) Security. In that you won't be fooled by seeing what "looks" like an innocent MP3 file only it's some .vbs script. Once double clicked on -- well, you're computer could get infected or hacked.

    2) It helps to know what files you're dealing with. In the case of those archives on the optical media you'd immediately see it was a .rar archive file format and thus know such an archive can be opened by various archive utilities like WinRAR or what I use, 7Zip. WinRAR's .rar archival format is propitiatory so 7Zip can't create that kind of archive. No matter because a 7Z archive often out exceeds the compresson ratio of a .rar archive providing the contents to be compressed aren't already compressed. Like an MP3 or a JPG which I believe is a compressed image format rather than a .GIF. JPG = Lossy. GIF = lossless. MP3 = Lossy.

    What it looks like is that Power2Go spanned the backup onto many DVDs in .rar archival format. All the pieces are put together again with Power2Go. Much like how GSplit3 works.

    Out of curiosity, can you at least uncompress the archives with 7Zip? Once 7Z is installed, right click the .rar archive and select, "7-Zip | Extract files..." Chose your desktop or what ever for the destination. "Extract here" Literally means HERE in this directory. It would try the optical media (DVD) but of course will fail. I hope.. If it's DVD/RW and there's some room, 7Z will commence a write to disk until ultimate fail when full. That's why I wanted you to ISO image the only backups you had as another backup. A good backup strategy involves a backup of the backup.

    Now, if the archives can be extracted that would tell me (I hope) the files aren't encrypted. Even if they can be extracted, some of the files will have been split from the others. It may or may not make a difference depending on what data got split with Power2Go and what data you're after. The ultimate goal is to get Power2Go to combine all files into one for directory navigational purposes as your intended goal. You could contact Power2Goal and explain the situation in the mean time however. I probably could get this to work, but if those RAR archives are encrypted then it's practically game over. Such RAR files can be decrypted, but that largely depend on how complex the password is and how much "horsepower" you computer/s have to make the cracking effort. It's one of those things where it's easy but not easy. I have several ways about doing it as quick as possible though.

    Anyway, I'll do some research here on the Power2Go product and see what can be done.


    It looks like the computer that created the backup was an Asus branded laptop... Model number I don't know -- yet. If the archives can be joined and peered into, I can give instructions on how to extract that data from the registry file that contains this computer model info. That key is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/services/mssmbios/Data/SMBiosData


    Oops, you already said it was an Asus in your opening post. My bad.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 4
    Windows 7 Professional
    Thread Starter

    Thanks again for the quick reply and your time and effort trying to troubleshoot this one for me - really really appreciated!

    As suggested I have enabled file extensions for common file types - just like the good old Windows 7 days

    Windows 7 Backup/Recovery DVD install directly to a virtual machine...-2022-02-20-23_15_55-settings.png

    I tried using 7Zip the rar file (*.001), and although opens , it only contains a file called ASUSRDVD with no file extension. Other files *.IMG and *.002 etc do not open at all (see above screenshot)

    The ASUSRDVD file I cannot do anything with, nothing opens it further.

    I'll contact Power2Go as suggested and let you know what (if) they come back with.

      My Computer

  6. Posts : 6,147
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    Well, I downloaded Power2Go and installed into a virtual machine so that I can see how they create clones and if it were possible to navigate the disk and what not, but to my dismay I have found that this program is one - giant - heap! I'll try to be concise and explain. Nope! Impossible for this mind to be concise. TL;DR, I couldn't get the program to function without a lot of dedicated time because its coded in a convoluted manner.

    Right away I knew this wasn't going to go very well since they use a downloader stub instead of just listing links to downloads. A downloader stub can do its own thing. So, when you execute the downloader stub you may have little control on what is installed behind your back. Well, that was exactly the case here. Not only did the downloader stub install the Power2Go optical media component feature set, but some other products I didn't ask for. Which now means that download took longer than was necessary and the uninstall process is lengther due to the extra fluff that got installed behind my back.

    Then the biggest issue was that when I wanted to make a backup to a USB drive for testing, Power2Go wanted me to install some kind of dependency Windows development/deployment kit. Well, not only was that over 1 GB in size, but in ISO format that you mount in the virtual DVD drive that Power2Go or other software can create. You can also burn the ISO to optical media or flash media. Giant pain if you ask me. Especially since I thought this would just be a simple setup file you run and install. But to make things as simple as possible I mounted the ISO in the Power2Go virtual optical drive provided by the software. Then its setup file in the mounted ISO executed and this is where my computer got a mouth full. This so-called Windows deployment/development backup kit what ever is a GIANT multi step process which would probably take me over an hour to accomplish. Never mind the fact that when you have to depend on a dependency of any kind and how over bloated this all is, the potential for errors and problems is exponentially higher. I could probably prove it statistically! You know how you have to install a dependency of some type like a .Net version? Well, it's probably because the coder of the software would rather use that dependency (and future dependencies with future software updates since they now rely on it) rather than use pure code without dependencies. Probably offers quicker program functionality without all the dedicated coding time in absence of .Net. And then how many times do you end up getting a stupid .Net issue or what ever? Plus, (and this really ticks me off) .Net is a vector for malware or a hack if you don't use updates. Those precious Windows updates from the patch Tuesday God that lots of people think they need. I actually have but four for software and hardware needs and have never been hacked or magically acquired malware, but that's a whole different story in of its self. LOL You can call me unorthodoxed I guess.

    Okay, so right away I can tell you this software is MASSIVELY over bloated and codded stupidly when I just use a small, free program for clones that weighs maybe around 2 to 3 MBs if that and creates an EXACT 1:1 clone to another drive or in an IMG format. It's called HDDRawCopy and it's portable. Meaning no installation required. Which means I can fire it up in a Hirens live CD environment in Ventoy on a USB stick LOL! /dork mode off

    Anyway, it's not your fault or anything. It just ticks me off at how convoluted this was going to be and that I wanted to help try to get your data. But NOPE! Murphy and his damn laws. Murphy needs to be put on trial!

    In frustration I immediately uninstalled Power2Go with RevoUninstaler and in the process failed to see if you could do something with those disks in the program to somehow write the data to a USB stick or an external HDD or something. You are afforded a free 30 day trial of the software so perhaps if you already have this software installed you could check. I'd do it in that virtual machine though. In Windows 7 the Power2Go software conveniently added an unwanted Windows gadget I couldn't get rid of and was focused more on figuring out its backup process rather that futz around with getting a gadget off the desktop. Oh, I could do it, but it's for power users and not for others who know absolutely nothing about computers. The other thing here is that they demand you create an account. Probably for marketing more crap and analytics and God knows what else. I used a temp email address...

    So it appears your son-in-law had more patience than I did! Granted it looks like he may have used a Power2Go version from around 2011. So who knows how that version was coded. May not have been this convoluted as this version is.

    Again, the other massive wrench in the gears could potentially be if this backup is encrypted. Power2Go likes to call it "military grade encryption." While AES256 is allowed for classified data up to top secret, its deployment has to be done in such and such way with modules and other crap according to NSA or NIST standards. Lets just put it this way. LOL

    Yeah, see if you can get some guidance and help from the Power2Go company. I do have my doubts though based on how they code the software, and how they market. I've been interested in how companies of all types market things for years and years and I can see it's used to the nth degree on their website in so many ways. Even the images and what not. I kinda appreciate (not really) how Internet software companies show their downloaded product in a box like yesteryear when you'd go to a store and buy the software in its glorious box. Now I bet those old software boxes from Norton et al go for some money on eBay. LOL!
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 4
    Windows 7 Professional
    Thread Starter

    Haha well I really appreciate the effort in actually installing this awful software and giving it a crack!

    Haha I love your rant, I see exactly what you mean. I feel like I've got so much crap and bloatware on my computer now as a result trying to decode these DVD's, including stuff I didn't even know I was installing! Too late to just have it on the Windows 7 virtual drive, in hindsight yep definitely should have done that! Worse comes to worse will have to do a fresh Windows install.

    Yes why he didn't just take an image of the hard drive or even another free backup tool is beyond me. He was very computer savvy, but his choice of software for this task is most concerning, even for back in 2010! Unless it came with the laptop already.

    I created a ticket with Power2Go last night, they haven't responded just yet , but when (if) they do I'll let you know what they said. Since I'm not a paid up member (only on trial), not sure how much they will go out of their way to advise me.
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 6,147
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    No problem.

    Like I said though, if that spanned backup is encrypted it's gonna be game over. Since you indicated he was computer savvy he probably did just that. I would... Heck, I use full disk encryption now.

    Haha I love your rant
    Wasn't that just delicious? I can get pretty poetic, creative and imaginative if need be.
      My Computer


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