Restore disk-image to a virtual machine?

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by Jo Ann, Jun 13, 2007.

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  1. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    Several of you here are experimenting with disk-imaging products. In the process, you restore the image to your C-partition, 'while holding your breath'. So I was wondering if one can restore a disk-image to a virtual machine, (thereby avoiding any risk to the C-partition)?
     
  2. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Yes.

    With:
    VMWare converter: see VMWare homepage
    Terabyte: http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=303
    Storagecraft: I know its in there, just cant remember the link; this is close enough for VMWare and Storage craft: http://www.storagecraft.com/news/newsItem.aspx?ArticleID=48
    I think there may be other options with ShadowProtect: wait for replies.

    Going to try it ??
    You're likely to get plenty of replies and interest with that question I hope :)

    I dont know and am having trouble establishing whether any version of MS OS will be "activated" on a "new" machine: I'd like to know.
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Jo Ann

    I have done so many restores with Shadow Protect I no longer hold my breath. I've found if the image checks good it's gonna restore. Restores are now about as exciting as opening a word document.

    Pete
     
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I am sure there are several ways with Shadowprotect, but I just chose to do a windows install and start fresh.

    When I was testing the HIR function in the IT edition of ShadowProtect is just seemed like a ho hum test compared to what I did. I have no doubt it would have worked, given the other crazy stuff that worked.
     
  5. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    Longboard,
    Those links pretty much confirm that it can be done, but just like with my cooking, I need a recipe! ;)

    Pete,
    After reading many of your informative posts, I realize that it's second nature to you, but for most of us it's quite stressful. :doubt:
     
  6. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Jo Ann,

    Do you intent to restore a host image into a Virtual System in order to boot from it?
    Usually the virtual hardware is different from your host hardware, so you would need to convert the image. But then you are not testing your original image anymore.

    Converting host disks isn't actually that great... Better install fresh in your Virtual System.
    I suggest that you restore the host image to a second hard disk in your virtual system and run chkdsk /f, to see that it's healthy.

    If you just want to practice imaging/restoring, you could do that entirely in a virtual system.
     
  7. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Don't get me wrong. On my original machine I was to scared to even try, so when I got the first of the new one's I did what Erik Albert did. Before I installed anything I messed with imaging and restoring. That helped me learn the strengths and weakness of the many imaging programs. As I look back I almost can't believe some of the things I've done to these new machines.

    This has given me incredible confidence I can recover from almost anything including myself.

    Pete
     
  8. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    Yes, that is exactly what I would like to do!


    I don't believe I understand that. Why would the virtual hardware be any different than the host hardware?


    Here again you have lost me (probably because my knowledge of virtual systems is about as expansive as my cooking ability without recipes). ;)

    Jo Ann
     
  9. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Perhaps a picture of differences is more helpful?

    vs.jpg

    Bambina is the host system and vbox is the guest system.
    Compare and find the differences. :D
     
  10. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    wilbertni, I now see what you meant (I think)! :doubt:
     
  11. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    wilbertni, I now see what you meant (I think)! :doubt: ...so, would I be on-track by summarizing that even if I restored an image to a virtual machine and then successfully boot from it, that would be little assurance of success on my physical machine?
     
  12. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    If your Virtual System doesn't boot from the host image, that doesn't mean that something is wrong with the image.
     
  13. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    That being the case, what would you say is the least-risk method to 'prove' the restorability of a test-image?
     
  14. kennyboy

    kennyboy Registered Member

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    wilbertnl Like Jo Ann I am a bit puzzled by your reference to "converting" the image.
    I can see that the hardware differences between the host and the VM are a problem, but then you suggest converting the image. Can you explain further, or have I lost the plot somewhere.

    @Jo Ann. It is an interesting concept to test the restore in a VM, and if it can be achieved fully, then it would certainly take away a lot of the stress factor, but only if it is a "true" restore. Like you, I am hoping to get the "recipe" here............:)

    It is a matter of having confidence in your imaging program, and unless you are using SP which has been proven to destruction by Peter, a VM is the way to go maybe.
     
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Okay, so this is really about the stress of doing a restore.

    Couple of things that might help.

    First, there is your imaging software. I've learned one of the keys is software, that images and restores everything, the partition and data and also the mbr, and track 0.

    Then there is the plan B. What happens if it fails. You need a fall back. For me the fall back is FDISR. I keep an archive off disk, that is always current. So even if the latest image should fail, I don't care. I can(and have) restored the first image I took on the machines, which is just the basic system with FDISR installed. I can boot the machine, build a stripped down secondary snapshot from the archive of that, then boot to the secondary, and refresh the primary and I am back in business.

    As far as that goes I could restore my factory recovery DVD or just reinstall windows, install FDISR, and again I am back in business.

    Having this fall back has allowed me to do enough stress free restores, that I've gained total confidence in my imaing software.

    So to test you images for restore:

    1) Design your fall back just in case.
    2) Then restore your drive for real. Thats the only real test.

    Jo Ann. Note I have,own and use Rollback v8 and it works fine, but I wouldn't consider it for the above type of fall back scheme. I have tested FDISR in that scenario, and it has never faile.

    Pete
     
  16. eniqmah

    eniqmah Registered Member

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    If I may Pete,
    There is one more real test: clone the host system drive, put in the cloned hard drive, play time!

    Like Pete, I started w/ good o' Norton ghost, tested it, archived it and installed ATI. When using ATI, I make sure to have several bootdisks and several working archives that I can fall back on. Further, after every backup, I plug the image in, do a test run with it, and run an image integrity check with ATI. This is not "full proof" that the recent image will work, but I can always go back to the last one that worked. If worse comes to worse, I whoop out the Ghost disc.

    While I understand that it would probably be reassuring if an image restores itself on a virtual machine, it would seem like you would run into a problem with the drivers. But fear not, I will test this for you by doing the following:
    1. create an image of current system, put image on shared drive
    2. boot xp vm, restore image on vm.
    I'll report later.
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I don't have an issue with cloning a disk to another drive, and you can use it in an emergency. Biggest problem though is lack of flexibility. I keep the image of my basic system, which is the system without all the apps. Then I keep a rotation of four images spaced over a few days. Finally I have an image that is Vista. So keeping a clone drive for this is impractical. So I have to rely on the images, and one thing I learned in all my experimentation, is the only thing that really confirms a valid image is the successful restore.

    Finally an issue for me is I am imaging a raid 0 array. So restoring to another single disk is very different. There is only one way I can be 100% sure the image will restore and that is restore it.

    BTW, in my testing various programs, I did find on occasion that an image that verified, didn't guarantee success restoring. Don't ask me which, I honestly don't remember.

    Pete
     
  18. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    Imaging and restoring within a vm works fine in my expeience. I've never tried to restore an image of my base system to a vm before. This is because the hardware emulated within the vm is different to my base system and would certainly cause problems.
     
  19. nexstar

    nexstar Registered Member

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    I am interested in this, not so much as a way of testing images but to build up a new system alongside one that badly needs an overhaul. Would it be possible to do a fresh virtual install within the old system, get all the necessary software and data installed and then, when it is as I'd like it, restore the virtual image to a real drive? Or are there too many possible hardware issues which would make this unlikely to work?

    I've got caddies in this particular system so it is not a problem to swap drives in and out for developing the system but I like the idea of having both old and new running alongside each other which would make it easier to see what was needed in the new system.

    Graham
     
  20. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    the best way is to buy a cheap harddrive.
    asoming the images are on an external drive or dvd you can take out your main harddrive stick in the new cheap harddrive and restore to that.
    if the restore works you can sleep better.
    lodore
     
  21. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    I would do a fresh installation of your Windows into a Virtual System and practice imaging and restoring from there.

    Jo Ann,

    I have been playing with computers for a while, and I learned most by making mistakes and fixing them myself.
    Not the fact that nothing will go wrong matters, but what matters is that you know what to do when things do go wrong.

    For you probably the safest would be to do nothing, but that doesn't guarantee you a happy ending at all...

    Here is what I think: Any computer problem should not cause me more loss than time, I don't loose my address book, favorites, email, bank administation, documents, work, etc. I only need time in order to fix the problem.

    Don't let the computer overwhelm you, Jo Ann, you are smart enough to understand how it works.
     
  22. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/
     
  23. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I whole heartily agree. Just can't help chuckling a bit after my last near disaster.
     
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