Universal Image tutorial in VMware

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by dobbelina, Jul 29, 2006.

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  1. dobbelina

    dobbelina Registered Member

    Sep 11, 2005
    Here's how I do my "Restore to any hardware VMware images":

    1. First I create a bootable CD with "Bootable CD Wizard" (freeware).
    You can use the 1.50z version, but then you need to extract the bootable information from the Acronis CD/CD's with "Winiso" as an "WBT file".
    If you use the 2.01a version, then that's not neccessary, that bootloader can
    run the Acronis iso's directly without extracting anything.
    Where to get:http://www.bcdwb.de/bcdw_e.html
    Put TI + Universal Restore onto this CD, as it's a multiboot CD loader, you can put several versions on it if you like.

    Onto this CD I also put "Bâshrat the Sneaky" Massstorage driverpack.(17 mb)
    It has massstorage and scsi drivers for like 95% of the hardware out there.
    Where to get:http://www.driverpacks.net/ (freeware)

    As Universal Restore searches "removable media", the CD is a very good place to put these drivers.
    With the massstorage drivers on the CD, and the Hal drivers in Universal Restore, you can now restore an image onto almost any hardware.

    This is the first part, the second part is to create the image in VMware.

    1. Do a fresh install with the apps and windows updates of your choice in VMware.
    2. Do not install VMware tools.
    3. Download the additional driverpacks, such as sound graphics etc from
    Expand these drivers into a folder named "D" in your windows folder.
    We don't wanna use long folder names here because of limitations in the
    length of the filepath.
    4. Download "SetDevicePath.exe" from here:
    This tool will help you add the driverpaths to the "DevicePath" in your registry.
    It adds it to this key:
    This way, when windows first bootup, it will search this location additionaly to the "inf folder" for drivers.
    Run the tool from command prompt like this:
    SetDevicePath.exe %SystemRoot%\D

    Additionaly to doing this I like to delete all ".pnf" files + "INFCACHE.1" files
    from the inf folder in the windows directory.
    If you did a fresh install there shouldn't be any oem0.inf,oem1.inf etc
    in the inf folder, if there is ,(as when you install oem drivers which you shouldn't do) delete those as well. (only the oem one's).
    Lastly, go into device manager and delete all the devices.
    If it asks you to restart, click no, and continue to delete until all the devices
    has been un-installed.
    Deleting pnf and infcache files + deleting devices in device manager, should be done as the last thing before you shut the computer down for imaging !
    The reason we don't want these .pnf and infcache files, is because they are "cached pointers", telling the system
    where installed drivers are located.
    Keeping these could potentially give you a "blue screen".
    Deleting this stuff is alot like running microsofts "Sysprep".
    It makes Windows start looking for new drivers, instead of "blindly following" the pre-cached .pnf files.
    When you first bootup, all these files will be re-created, making a new layout
    for windows to follow for your new hardware, ( first boot takes some time).

    In VMware I like to create a "Snapshot" just before deleting this stuff. so I can return to where I were if something goes wrong.
    Now shutdown your comp and make an image with TI.
    Voil'a ! now you have an image that should restore onto almost any hardware
    without the need to go hunting for drivers !

    I do not recommend to Image to CD.
    Imaging to DVD or a usb drive is better.
    As a thumb rule, don't image onto any CD/DVD where the media is split.
    You will be shuffling CD's back and fourth until you go insane !

    After you have installed the image to your new hardware using TI + UR,
    you can delete the "D" folder from the Windows folder if you like, after it has installed all the drivers completely.
    The whole driverpack complete takes up well over 1 gig in space.
    Unneccessary to have on a working machine.
    If you're really smart you create a small regfile to, that restores the "DevicePath" back to it's default, which is:
    You can offcourse keep the drivers to if you want, it's up to you.
    If you keep them, and don't remove the registry entries in the device path,
    these drivers will be avaliable if you install any new device in the future,
    as "plug and play" ;)

    If you wonder, why not add the massstorage drivers to, to the "D" folder ?,
    the answer is: Universal Restore has problems finding them if you add them to the image, instead of onto the bootCD.
    (I've learned by experience)
    Remember, Universal Restore Only restores massstorage and Hal drivers, the rest is done by windows itself, as the remaining drivers are not critical for a successful boot.

    Ho ho ha ha, my little tutorial :)
    (This was first a reply in another post, but I think it merits it's own topic)

    PS. I really hope Acronis one day makes Universal Restore "standalone", as it can then be used on other imaging software as well.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2006
  2. starfish_001

    starfish_001 Registered Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Thanks this is a great post - well researched
  3. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

    Mar 28, 2006
    Thanks for the tutorial:thumb:
  4. jeremyotten

    jeremyotten Registered Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    And thank to me for giving the community the www.driverpacks.net links in over a dozen posts out here.

    I was the first to mention you now. And without the driverpacks no Universal Image ;-)

    BTW with the Universal Restore build from build 3694 just specify the driverpacks dir on you network/cd or local and after the part in the Bootcd your system will start en then Acronis will search the driverpacks dir for all your other hardware.

    Just try I out works great ;-)
  5. dobbelina

    dobbelina Registered Member

    Sep 11, 2005
    Yes, as a matter of fact, I think you are the poster that informed me of the
    driverpacks.net site, many thanks for that.
    As i'm into doing these "Universal hardware images", I did some further research, and thought I should share it here as UR is the key to it all.

    So you mean v3694 will install all the other drivers as well, or does it simply
    "tell windows" about these additional driver locations ?
    I also noticed the new "pop-up" in v 3694, stating something like
    "Updating network settings and installing drivers" (don't remember exactly what it said).
    You are the first person to tell me this.
    At the Acronis site it still says:
    Nothing being mentioned about the product installing other drivers as well ?

    There's also one hitch.
    You can't put the drivers onto the image itself with your approach, as folders on the image can't be specified as a "search location" before the image has been restored.
    Having the drivers on the image is more convenient I think + you save space from the compression.

    In my experience earlier, when trying to add the massstorage drivers to
    the "D" folder (and adding the folder location to the devicepath), UR had problems finding the VMware SCSI driver.(was done with v3567 I might add
    some time ago).
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2006
  6. jeremyotten

    jeremyotten Registered Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    THE vmware scsi driver isn't in the Driverpack.

    And yes it installes more:

    Try it out yourself. I had systems with third party drivers like VGA/AUDIO/NIC and all where restored from the specified path ;-)

    Ofcourse you method is OK and I have done similar thing with sysprep before UR even day the daylight ;-). Your method is longer in the beginning and shorter at the end.

    however UR can with the new feature even better be used for After the Fact operations.


    p.s acronis told me they would even make it better and better
  7. dobbelina

    dobbelina Registered Member

    Sep 11, 2005
    Aha, now a light went up in my fussy brain !
    Windows always searches removable media for drivers as default.
    This is not a UR feature.
    If you Restore from let's say a DVD, and the driverpack is located on that same disc, (un-zipped), windows will automatically search the DVD for drivers, if you let the disc stay in the drive when windows first bootup.

    This is regardless of wether you have used any Acronis product or not.
    Not sure about fixed and network drives though ?
    Having the drivers un-zipped on removable media makes it unneccessary
    to add them to the image and editing the registry.
    Offcourse you wont have the drivers avaliable as "Plug and play" afterwards,
    and some space would be lost because of their un-compressed format..

    It seems to me as UR is doing similar work as sysprep, from v3694 and onwards.It makes windows re-detect the hardware.
    I'm 99% sure it's windows that's actually installing the drivers in the background, when you see that "mini setup thingy".
    Perhaps with this newer version, one doesn't need to delete the .pnf files
    and un-install devices manually ? (as that is actually what sysprep does).

    Would be interesting to put the sound, graphic etc drivers onto a fixed drive and direct UR to search it for drivers.
    If windows finds them, then definitively UR is telling it where to look.
    If it doesn't, well, then it's the behaviour I would expect.

    Regarding the VMware scsi driver, strange ?, I got it in my driverpack.
    It's located in the "vm" folder.(DriverPack_MassStorage_V6031.7z).
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2006
  8. jeremyotten

    jeremyotten Registered Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    It's a modified windows thing. Because when you don't do select it It'll be a lot work afterwards.

  9. dobbelina

    dobbelina Registered Member

    Sep 11, 2005
    Wow !
    Indeed you are right, UR is also installing the remainding drivers.
    Just tried it by telling UR to look for drivers from a fixed drive, and worked without a hitch !
    I'm surprised Acronis hasn't updated their website telling about this
    mega improvement ? Really strange....
    I noticed that UR copies the appropriate driver from your "search location" to the system32/temp folder before actually applying it.
    Hmm, I wonder how this works ?
    If you remove the CD after first re-boot (after restoring), the "mini setup" screen will not appear.
    Therefore it must still be running from the CD itself somehow ?
    UR restores the Hal and scsi stuff first it seem (as you can see in the logfile),
    then it continues to run after booting into windows, restoring the non-critical boot drivers.

    So now UR basically installs all drivers, i'm stumped.. (in a good way)
  10. jeremyotten

    jeremyotten Registered Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    You can also make a driverpacks.net base on your network on for example \\servername\sharename and specify this one.

    and your done ;-)
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