Windows 7 "hidden" restore-from-desktop feature!

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by moontan, Feb 28, 2011.

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  1. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    i was fiddling around this afternoon, thinking "it would be nice if you could restore from the desktop in Windows 7.
    it could save me the 5 minutes i wait for the Windows 7 DVD to boot..."

    there is already such a feature "hidden" in Windows 7.
    i found it while looking more closely at the "Backup and Restore" options.

    goto:
    - ControlPanel/Backup and Restore
    - click on "Recover system settings on your computer"
    - click on "Advanced recovery methods"
    - click on "Use a system image you created earlier to recover your computer"


    your system will reboot and go to the Imaging boot sub-console :)
    no need for either a Repair or Windows 7 disk!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    moontan,

    That is a great find!

    Edit... I just noticed this enables you to do an IFW or a DS restore without using a boot disk.
     
  3. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    how so brian?
    i can't figure it out.
    maybe i'm slow or something. ;)
     
  4. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    I have done exactly that with Drive Snapshot. I've worked out how all the Win7 recovery works and manipulated it. On bootup I press the F1 key and it launches DS that auto restores an image. I also made it load the recovery, so I have time to stop the restore and use the repair/ recovery. I keep the recovery files on g. I written a easy tutorial and script so I will post it. I also done it so it launches from USB.

    There is room for more advanced configuration with the script. later on.

    I made a unattended installation of Windows 7 that partitions the system doing away with the SRP. having done that I started on the recovery idea and realised having big SRP is not such a bad thing because it can be used to store quick recovery system images.
    o
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I'd expect this will only work with a 32-bit Win7 OS because IFW and DS are 32-bit apps. Maybe someone can test it with 64-bit Win7.

    Follow moontan's instructions.

    Click Skip, Restart.

    Next, Cancel, Next, Advanced, Install a Driver.

    Plug in a USB flash drive containing (imagew.exe and imagew.ini) or (snapshot.exe).

    Click OK. Navigate to your exe file and select it but don't click Open. Right click on the exe and click Run as administrator. Close the "Open" window. Click Cancel on the "Add Drivers" window. Close the "Re-image..." window. Don't close the "System Recovery Options" window. Move it to one side and ignore it. It will disappear when you select the IFW or DS gui.

    Use IFW or DS.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  6. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    thnx a lot Brian!
    i'll give it a try.

    kinda funny, i have been using W7 since the RC and i never heard of this feature before!
     
  7. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Guys, you can even customise your recovery enviroment with your favorite recovery program. Some OEMs (e.g. Toshiba) do it to their customs installations.
    Read the instructions from Customizing the Windows RE Experience. (the "RecoveryTools" will add another recovery program in the menu and the "SupportTool" can be used to automatically restore an image if windows cannot start)

    GImageX will help you modify your WinRe.wim

    Panagiotis
     
  8. TraumaDoc

    TraumaDoc Registered Member

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    It's not at all fair to call this a hidden option. It is a fully advertised and built-in feature of Windows 7

    However, a recent survey showed that even novice users have been reading online and decided to delete the recovery partition that Windows 7 creates at OS install. They do this despite saving/recovering the mere 100 MB that it takes from the drive.

    Therefore, recovery/boot disks are commonly still needed for these people.
     
  9. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    i said "hidden" because i never heard about it until i "discovered" it today.

    nevertheless, i am very happy about this feature.
    with the few tweaks and tricks i've learned and applied in the last 2 months it now takes me 3 minutes and 5 seconds ;) to restore an image.
    something that would have taken me about 15 minutes a couple of months ago. :)
     
  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    TraumaDoc,

    They shouldn't need disks if they remove the SRP correctly. All recovery functions work in computers where I've removed the SRP.
     
  11. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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  12. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    all this time i been using Windows 7 i never knew the Recovery Environment could be accessed without a Repair or Windows 7 disk.

    that's kind of embarrassing really... :doubt:

    anyway, tnx to all for offering their tips, help and advices.
    i learned quite a bit. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  13. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    P1000930.JPG

    recovery including snapshot.exe is running from inside G:\Recovery\{boot record ID}\winre.wim
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  14. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Actually the difference is the time it takes to load the CD repair disc, which in my case is less than 2 min.
     
  15. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    of course, your 2 minutes is more like 5 on this 3 years old computer;)

    but i found other tricks along the way to speed up my restoring:

    using a secondary external drive for imaging instead of of a USB 2.0 external one. ( 25 to 33% time reduction)
    disconnecting the USB drive so Windows is not scanning it when restoring an image. (saves me 2-3 minutes right there.)
    it adds up.
    and of course, not using a disk ( saves about 5 minutes in my case).

    this stuff might seem obvious to some of you but anyway...
     
  16. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Mark,

    do you know why DS can run only in DOS from the recovery enviroment?

    Panagiotis
     
  17. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    This method is likely the same as add a boot item to BCD to boot the winre.wim:D
     
  18. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    I think Mark is using parameters for backup or restore:D

    DS can run GUI is Windows environment.
     
  19. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    hello,
    snapshot restore ran with command params runs same way as real dos.

    btw it is possible to restore c from windows using cmd line with snapshot --schedule backup.sna c: not see mentioned in snapshot or help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  20. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    Made a 30gig hidden partition. A good size for keeping and auto restoring 2 small images or 1 big one and differentials.

    Wherever you prepare or like the recovery to be,as soon as you enable recovery with reagentc, the winre.wim will get moved to \recovery\[bootid] no matter what. thats where it run from finally.
    if get error running reagentc you likely running wrong version, theres a 64 version.
    reagent.xml stores its settings. dont delete xml file or reagentc wont run.
     
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