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  1. #1
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    Unbootable recovery disk makes backups useless


    LangaList Plus

    Unbootable recovery disk makes backups useless


    By Fred Langa

    A reader discovers that his carefully created backups are totally useless for restoring his PC.

    Plus: Why would a PC fail to boot properly in the morning but work fine the rest of the day?

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/unbootable-recovery-disk-makes-backups-useless/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    I can recommend EaseUS ToDo Backup, I have used it on numerous PC's and it has NEVER failed to recover a disk or a partition. Also works well as a Disk Clone as does their Partition Manager which is also very good.

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    Because I no longer get the newsletter, I have no idea as to exactly what happened and why regarding the end-user's usb or dvd boot. I have used Acronis True Image, Image for Windows, Macrium Reflect -- all had to have their respective usb and/or dvd boots made; and such should have been tested before a restore became necessary. There are numerous reasons as to why a usb or dvd boot doesn't boot, some internal, some external.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  4. #4
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    I ran into a similar problem. I use Acronis on my WIN7 32 bit machine. I have tested and used the backup in the past. Recently, I tried the backup disk, and received exactly the same error message. Same with the spare disk, and a new recovery disk made on another machine. The only change I had made was replace the C drive with a SSD. As a test, I hooked up the old mechanical drive, and all worked perfectly. Hmmm. I have the Plus version of Acronis, which allows you to make up recover disk using the BartPE. A bit of a pain considering how much you need to download, but that fixed the SSD problem.

  5. #5
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    This post is not about the main topic of Fred's article, but about the sub-topic "Cold starts fail, but warm starts succeed" where he describes a reader's issue with a PC that locks up when he first turns it on in the morning, but then runs fine the rest of the day. Fred diagnoses it as a hardware rather than software problem, attributing the issue to an aging hard drive.

    I have a Windows 7 PC that has almost the opposite problem: if it's already turned on and running, and I try to do a restart (soft reboot), it will shut down as normal, but then when the bootup screen (the one with the F-key commands) appears on the monitor, it will just stay there and go no further. No F-keys work, not even Ctrl-Alt-Del. But then if I do a hard shutdown (power cycle), it will get past the bootup screen and enter Windows just fine.

    Anybody have an idea what could be causing this?

  6. #6
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    Missed the Issue - Why the rescue disk did not boot

    Love you Fred, but I think you missed the issue here.

    Windows 10 provides a way to create image backups and a way to restore those image backups if the machine does not boot. Yes, they call this "Windows *7* Backup and Restore" but it's in Windows 10 and should work. The fact that it did *not* work for the OP is the issue.

    Remember that the rescue disk created by Windows 10 has other uses than just restoring the image backup - start-up repair, command line utilities, and system restore among other things. It is important, and a key tool to have if the computer doesn't work.

    The Windows 10 rescue disks I've created have been properly signed and *do* boot in a UEFI/secure boot environment. Actually getting a computer to look first at the optical disk drive before booting from the HD or SSD has been challenge in some computers, but it should be doable. I suspect this is the problem with the OP's computer ... getting the UEFI/BIOS to even check the optical disk before starting up Win10. That is the OP's issue.

    I also have to take issue with considering Windows 10 File History and "Reset" as a complete backup method. One would be stuck if Windows 10 doesn't boot <sarcasm mode on> but that never happens, right? <S mode off> Reset wipes all desktop applications (not "apps") off the face of the computer without recourse, including those the user may have paid for. And is 100% useless if the machine doesn't boot. Reset is a wipe & reload option, not a backup.

    I agree that third-party solutions can be better, but the world deals with the product as it is out of the box. Microsoft, to their credit, is providing a full image backup - as awkwardly titled as it is - and it should work.

    Me, I use Microsoft Home Server 2011 backup - automatic full image backups *daily.* But woops ... MS decided to terminate Home Server; they want home users to switch to Small Business Server which is ... *literally* ... 10 times the cost. As soon as they drop support for WHS2011, Linux here I come. (Sorry for the digression ... it's a hot button for me.)
    Last edited by rwb2; 2016-11-22 at 18:05. Reason: Post did not take indenting - adding lines makes easier to read

  7. #7
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    Regarding Fred's article Windows Secrets 2016-11-22 failure to restore to W10 from W7 backup.
    I've been around the horn on this. Here's how to do it.

    For simplicity, I always set the backup to back up only the system image, writing that to a second partition on the same drive, or better to a second drive, as in SSD installations.

    I found that the only way to restore that backup is to boot off a USB Windows 10 Recovery Drive, which so far for me, can be created on another dissimilar PC. Any other method, like W7 System Repair disk, can't find the backup. The Recovery Drive does, so long as you click on the right less than clearly stated options presented.
    The backup is soon found and you're on your way to data salvation.

    Of course, the BIOS/Setup must be set to boot from a USB device.

    I also found that the Windows 10 Recovery Drive creation restricts disk size and partition location. I modify mine by editing the text file and XML file found in \Source. This is to be able to install W10 on a lab rat of smaller disk space than from that created. I also demand that the OS, C:\ is at the end of the drive so that expansion to a larger drive can be done.

    I have no idea why MS designed the W10 partition scheme they way it currently is. And the files are

    Let's see if I can print copies below, from the USB Stick\Sources folder, you can compare these to the stock files:

    For MBR Formats:

    $PBR_Diskpart.txt

    rem == 11/17/15
    rem == ResetPartitions-BIOS.txt ==

    convert mbr

    rem == 1. System partition =========================

    create partition primary size=100

    format quick fs=ntfs label="System"

    assign letter="S"

    active

    rem == 2. Windows RE tools partition ===============

    create partition primary size=450

    format quick fs=ntfs label="Windows RE tools"

    assign letter="T"

    rem == set id=0x27
    set id=27

    rem == 3. Windows partition ========================

    create partition primary

    format quick fs=ntfs label="Windows"

    assign letter="W"

    list volume

    exit


    $PBR_ResetConfig.xml

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <!-- ResetConfig.xml for OS Reconstruction-Based Reset on BIOS -->
    <Reset>
    <SystemDisk>
    <DiskpartScriptPath>$PBR_Diskpart.txt</DiskpartScriptPath>
    <MinSize>65000</MinSize>
    <WindowsREPartition>2</WindowsREPartition>
    <WindowsREPath>Recovery\WindowsRE</WindowsREPath>
    <OSPartition>3</OSPartition>
    <WIMBoot>0</WIMBoot>
    <SingleInstancePPKG>False</SingleInstancePPKG>
    </SystemDisk>
    </Reset>

    Fro GPT formats, specifically from a Dell laptop 15-5548, purchased May, 2015:

    $PBR_Diskpart.txt

    rem == ResetPartitions-UEFI.txt ==
    rem == DISKPART rules: Must create OEM (set id=) parts
    rem == between EFI and MSR parts.
    rem == ref: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/...=ws.10%29.aspx

    convert gpt

    rem == 1. System partition =========================

    create partition efi size=100

    format quick fs=fat32 label="System"

    assign letter="S"

    rem == 2. Windows RE tools partition ===============

    create partition primary size=450

    format quick fs=ntfs label="Windows RE tools"

    assign letter="T"

    set id=de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac
    gpt attributes=0x8000000000000001
    rem == gpt attributes is partition-focused; 1=no delete; 8=manual dirve letter assign.
    rem == 3. Microsoft Reserved (MSR) partition =======

    create partition msr size=16

    rem == 4. Windows partition ========================

    rem == a. Create the Windows partition ==========

    create partition primary

    rem == b. Create space for the recovery tools partition ===

    rem == shrink minimum=450

    rem == c. Prepare the Windows partition =========

    format quick fs=ntfs label="Windows"

    assign letter="W"

    list volume

    exit

    $PBR_ResetConfig.xml

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <!-- ResetConfig.xml for OS Reconstruction-Based Reset on UEFI -->
    <Reset>
    <SystemDisk>
    <DiskpartScriptPath>$PBR_Diskpart.txt</DiskpartScriptPath>
    <MinSize>65000</MinSize>
    <WindowsREPartition>2</WindowsREPartition>
    <WindowsREPath>Recovery\WindowsRE</WindowsREPath>
    <OSPartition>4</OSPartition>
    <WIMBoot>0</WIMBoot>
    <SingleInstancePPKG>False</SingleInstancePPKG>
    </SystemDisk>
    </Reset>

    So far, no problems with all my experiments with my lab rats.

    I hope you can make use of this info,

    Ron

  8. #8
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    Why would a PC fail to boot properly in the morning but work fine the rest of the day?
    Pshaw, that's no mystery! I too fail to boot properly in the morning. The answer is coffee, a bit of toast and some tunes on the radio. After that I'm fine the rest of the day!

  9. #9
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    I use cloned SSD - do a weekly clone - takes about 15 minutes. I use a StarTech box (no software magic). It gets no easier than that. I do daily data backups to an external USB type device. Life is good.

    Bill

  10. #10
    2 Star Lounger
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    I had the "Cold starts fail, but warm starts succeed" problem for a while.

    The disks weren't the problem, it was either the video adapter or the memory cards. I pulled them out and re-seated them and the problems went away. I suspect it was the video adapter.

    FWIW I use Macrium Reflect Free for system backup/restore and Goodsynch Pro for data backup/restore. Been using that combo for the past several years.

    nw
    Last edited by northwood2222; 2016-11-25 at 18:36.

  11. #11
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    Is there a way to include the driver for an external hard drive on the System Repair disk that I create when doing a Win10 upgrade?
    I created a System Repair disk when I upgraded to Win10 AU (1607), but I didn't see an option to identify an external drive. That's where I keep my system images. In a test today, my System Repair disk booted fine but it couldn't find the external drive. It offered to let me provide the drive's driver, but I would rather have it included in the System Repair disk, to reduce possibility of slip-ups.

    Update Nov. 27: Thanks to Paul T for his reply, which I have filed for future reference. I have now discovered that my reported problem came from my own absent-mindedness: I was looking at the wrong external hard drive. I have now tested the System Repair disk with the right external drive connected, it found my images, and presented a choice of which to restore. After making an image, which goes to folder WindowsSystemImage\[PC name], I rename it to WindowsSystemImage\[PC name yyyy-mm-dd] to identify the image date. System Repair has no problem working with this structure, and it keeps the root folder list simple.
    Last edited by ccm28inch; 2016-11-27 at 10:43.

  12. #12
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    The driver is actually for the USB controller on the motherboard and it should be recognised by Windows boot disks.
    Try a 3rd party backup rescue disk to see if that can see your external disk (Aomei Backupper, Macrium Reflect etc). If not you may have a very unusual external disk.

    cheers, Paul

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