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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Restoring a system image: how I wasted two whole days!

    Hello everyone,

    I'm not sure if this has been discussed before, but since someone, somewhere, is bound to get into a similar fix, it's worth mentioning again: if you have multiple Windows 7 system images in the WindowsImageBackup folder, make sure not to save anything else in that folder! And I do mean anything - no files or folders other than strictly Windows 7 images, even if those folders contain system images of other operating systems.

    Here's what happened.

    My daily driver is a Dell Latitude E6420, and I also have a Getac B300 lying around. There's also my wife's old Toshiba Satellite U500. All of these machines are running Windows 7 Professional. I made it a habit of their system images regularly (that's every month to six weeks or so.) So now I have a 32-bit, 64-bit, and 32-bit/64-bit dual-boot images for the Dell, as well for the U500, plus W7Pro and Windows XP Professional images for the Getac.

    So, a few weeks ago I bought this new Toshiba Tecra R940 that came with W7 Pro preinstalled, along with an activated Windows 8 Pro system image. So, after I updated all the drivers, updated Windows, and installed all my software, I somehow got it into my head that I should stop whining about my previous (and utterly unpleasant) experience with Windows 8 and "get on with the times," so to speak, and give W8 a second chance. So, I created a W7 system image as I usually do, and proceeded on to installing W8 from the two-DVD system image that came in the box. I then updated to W8.1 and spent what was left of the day trying to figure out how the hell to go about it. Soon enough, after having figured out - again - that W8 wasn't for me, I said "oh well, so back to W7 it is, then "

    Except, now I couldn't. I stuck my recovery disk into the drive and went on my business as usual, booted from it, clicked "Repair Your Computer," and on to "Restore your computer from a system image that you created earlier," but, lo and behold, the only system image that appeared in the list was that of the B300's!

    So, if at first you don't succeed... I tried, tried, tried again, then tried some more, right down to fiddling with all and sundry BIOS settings that I could think of... nothing:



    Even though...



    So, I hit the big G. After some considerable and lengthy searching around and a lot of dead ends, I came across this obscure tip, buried deep in some obscure Microsoft Community discussion:

    3. make sure you haven't added any other folders in the "WindowsImageBackup" folder unless they are disk images of other computers. Any other folder (like an empty folder) that is aphabetically ahead of a Windows Image Folder will prevent all alphabetically trailing System Images from being found.
    And that's when it hit me: it's that XP image folder for the B300! So I cut that out of the folder and pasted it somewhere else then tried again, and voila! I could restore that system image to the R940 again!

    So, again, moral of the story: make sure that the WindowsImageBackup folder contains only W7 system images and nothing else - not even images of other operating systems.

    So there. Sorry for the lengthy post, but this gave me so much grief that I thought it was worth bringing up, in the hope that I help someone else. Rant: is it just me, or do Microsoft really suck at publicizing this stuff?

    Shady
    Last edited by sjanzeir; 2014-02-28 at 19:26.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to sjanzeir For This Useful Post:

    mrjimphelps (2014-02-28),PamS (2014-03-03),Rick Corbett (2014-02-28)

  3. #2
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    @sjanzeir - Thank you so much for the heads up. How awful you had to spend so long to find out why it didn't work as you expected. Does this mean you could have renamed all but the R940 folder with, say, a leading 'z'? (just in case I run into the same problem!)

    PS - I heartily agree with you about Windows 8. I tried it and soon thought 'Yuk... can't get used to the ToyTown 'Modern UI' interface' and reverted back to Windows 7 on my new laptop (and before anyone adds any suggestions... no, I don't want to use addons to restore functionality like a Start button/menu). No wonder Microsofties themselves reportedly call Windows 8 ‘the new Vista’. The experience led to my newest laptop being a MacBook Pro, which I'm beginning to love more than Windows 7.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-02-28 at 19:39.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    Does this mean you could have renamed all but the R940 folder with, say, a leading 'z'? (just in case I run into the same problem!)
    Nope; what it means is that if you put a folder in the WindowsImageBackup folder that doesn't contain a W7 system image - or even an emtpy folder - and name it, say, AAAA, the restoration utility on the recovery boot disk won't be able to see anything else in the WindowsImageBackup folder. In other words, if I had changed the name of that "B300-XP" folder to, say, "zB300-XP," I wouldn't have run into this problem because, all other folders now being alphabetically ahead of it, they will all appear on the list, i.e. even if I had renamed that R940 folder to "zR940" like you said, it still wouldn't appear on the list because of that B300-XP folder (which doesn't contain a W7 image) is still alphabetically ahead of it
    Last edited by sjanzeir; 2014-02-28 at 19:37.

  5. #4
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    This story illustrates why I don't use backup software from Microsoft. I use "Image for Windows" and "Image for DOS" from Terabyte Unlimited and make full image backups. Reliable, hard to mess up. Not free, but worth the price. Other imaging solutions (some free) are out there. Fred Langa recently reviewed backup technologies in Windows Secrets. I have to comment on the source of sjanzeir's problem: the programmer who created this backup feature committed a common sin. He or she assumed too much. Once you grasp this principle, it helps to puzzle out a lot of other Windows problems. By the way, wasting two days is unfortunate, but I wasted several months tracking down problems with my relatively new Windows 7 box because I trusted the built-in "Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool" to rule out RAM problems. It said my memory was just fine (Memtest86 and Memtest86+ later showed otherwise).

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