Bill Detwiler: When Window won't boot and System Restorecan't fix the problem, recovering with a hard disk image may be your onlyoption.
I'm Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo, I'llshow you how to revive an unbootable Windows 7 system with the System ImageRecovery tool.
Windows System Restore is a handy way to undo common actionsthat go wrong, like a bad driver installation or failed system update. Butthere are problems that even System Restore can't fix, such as a massivecorruption of core system files or a failed hard drive.
Luckily, Windows 7 has a built-in tool designed for thesesituations--the System Image Recovery utility. For those not familiar with harddrive or system images, think about them as a exact duplicate of your entiresystem--every file, every setting, every application--stored on a set of DVDs,external hard drive, large flash drive, or even a network share.
When you restore from an image, you're essentially wipingyour hard drive clean and then copying your image back onto the drive. If allelse fails, restoring from an image may be your only option.
Just remember that you can't use the System Image Recoverytool to restore your system, unless you make an image first--before your systemcrashes. To do this, open the Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, andthen click Backup and Restore. In the left pane, click Create a system image,and then follow the wizard.
Once you have you image in hand, make sure to store it in asafe location. It's also a good idea to create new image every so often--sothat you have a recent copy of your system instead of one from three years agowhen you bought the PC.
To use your image, first make sure you have your entireimage available — if you created an image on optical discs, have the last discin the set inserted into the drive or if you created an image on an externalhard drive, have the drive connected to your system.
Then, you'll need to access the Windows System RecoveryOption menu. How you do this will depend on the current state of your system.
If your system attempts to start Windows but fails duringthe boot process, press and hold the [F8] key during the boot process to accessthe Advance Boot Options screen. From there, select the Repair Your Computeroption to open the System Recovery tools.
If Windows won’t start at all, you can access the SystemRecovery Options by booting from the Windows 7 DVD. And, if you have created aSystem Repair Disc, you can boot from that.
Regardless of how you get there, from the System RecoveryOptions window, select the System Image Recovery option.
When you do, the system will immediately locate the mostrecent image connected to your computer and display that information on thefirst screen of the Re-Image Your Computer wizard.
In this example, the image is on drive F, an external harddrive.
Now, if the tool can't find a recent image, it will ask youto connect the external drive that contains the image or insert the last discin the image set and click Retry.
If your image is stored on a network drive, you can clickCancel and follow the prompts to connect to a network location and manuallyselect your system image. Once you've located your image, just click Next.
The following screen provides you with several options. Ifyou are restoring to the same hard disk, you don’t need to select the Formatand Repartition Disks check box. If you are restoring to a new hard disk,chances are that the Format and Repartition Disks check box will be selected bydefault and you won't be able to change. If that is the case, there is nothingto worry about as long as the new hard drive is of the same capacity or greaterthan the old one.
Since there are no other drives in this example, the ExcludeDisks button is unavailable. If you have multiple drives you can click theExclude Disks button and choose the drive you want to restore.
If none of the options are available on this screen, you mayhave to install drivers for the disks you are restoring by clicking the InstallDrivers button. However, since Windows 7 has a pretty good list of built-indrivers, this is unlikely.
If you would like to perform a disk check operation as apart of the restoration procedure, click the Advanced button and selectAutomatically check and update disk error information.
Either way, click Next to continue and then click Finish.Windows will ask for confirmation one last time, and once you click Yes thatprocess will begin.
As the restore progresses, Windows will show you a progressbar. Depending on how big your hard disk is, the restore operation can takeseveral hours. When it's done, your system will restart and if everything wassuccessful, you should see the familiar Windows logon screen.
Well that does it for this episode of TR Dojo. I hope younever have to use the Windows System Image Recovery tool, but if you do, I hopethis video helps.
Thanks to Greg Shultz for putting this tip together, I'lllink his original article in the TR Dojo blog.
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