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Anybody Restore A Surface Pro From Server2012E Or Whs2011?


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I've been successfully backing up the C: partition of my Surface Pro to my Server2012E for about a week now.  But, I haven't tried to restore it yet.  Has anybody tried this using a recovery boot usb key?  How well has it worked?

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I was backing up to WHS2011 and tried to restore several time, all unsuccessful. The USB key I created didn't seem to have the required NIC drivers.


I was able to backup and restore successfully using Macrium Reflect, but only by having the backup file(s) on a local drive attached to the Surface via USB.


I would love to have a way to do it via WHS2011 but I have to admit I haven't investigate that route all that much.

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Based on all my research yes you can backup with WHS 2011 but a bare metal restore will not work with the Surface. There is a patch from MS for the server that corrected the backup of GPT partitions with UEFI but it didn't update any drivers for the recovery boot disk/usb key for networking.

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  • 1 month later...



The WHS 2011 USB recovery client will not boot the Surface Pro.. But just like with WHS v1, if the recovery CD/USB doesn't work (or doesn't provide the WIFI/NIC drivers you need) just create yourself a Windows 2 Go (win 7 or 8) instance on a USB stick.. Boot into it (set up your network/install the drivers you need).. then run the clientrecoverywizard.exe and perform the BMR on the physical drive.


Windows 2 Go is nothing more than installing win 7/8 on a USB stick inside a .vhd file and setting the bootmanager on the usb key to boot the windows instance in the vhd file.     Every IT pro should have a Windows 2 Go USB key on their toolbelt.

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thanks ArtieMcD. If you have any links on setting up a Win7 and Win8 Windows To Go I'm sure people would appreciate it.

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thanks ArtieMcD. If you have any links on setting up a Win7 and Win8 Windows To Go I'm sure people would appreciate it.


The official doc on it is here... http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36184   But this uses the wizard inside windows 8 enterprise to create the USB media....      However anyone can create it manually...   Basically it's no different than installing Windows (or any OS inside a .vhd file).   On a windows 7 or 8 desktop, create a vhd file on a usb key.... (For speed you could create the vhd on a hard disk and then copy it over to the USB stick later...   You can even create a windows to go instance on an external SSD drive)


Then deploy a copy of windows into the .vhd file...   Either by using imagex to copy the bits from a Windows iso, or by using any windows 7 or 8 setup media and run the installer like you normally would... And mounting the .vhd file at the partition management screen.       Pretty much any guide describing how to install windows into a vhd will provide the steps.    The last part is to copy over the windows boot files to the USB stick to make it bootable and point boot loader to the windows copy in the vhd.     This has been supported since Windows 7 and a great way to dual boot any PC (even from a hard drive) and not have to deal with partitions and such (especially if you dual boot between Linux and window.)


Booting from a VHD is also another great way to run a test lab as you can deploy a refreshed OS instance by simply replacing the vhd with a clean one after each test run.   The OS will run on the bare metal with full access to all the hardware with only the disk being a virtual instance as an alternative to virtualization where you are actually running against the hypervisor the hardware that is exposed through it.


 The downside of Windows 2 go is the activation licensing issues.    Obviously for someone running Windows 7 or 8 enterprise they likely have a KMS server so they can boot their USB key and be activated automatically by their KMS server.    If however your don't have KMS activation.. The W2Go instance will not be activated and will eventually start giving issues after 30 days from the first boot from the USB key (and of course if activated the activation will fail when moved to a new bow)... But you can simply replace the .vhd image with a fresh one.... Either way... It's perfectly allowed as long as the machine you are booting from a USB based OS drive is license for the windows version you deployed in the W2Go image.  (And it works with Windows 7, 8, 2008 R2, and 2012.... Even WHS 2011 works inside a W2Go image)

Edited by ArtieMcD
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Here's the official doc on how to create a native boot from .vhd.. (Basically the fundamentals of how windows 2 go works with the added requirement that the .vhd is actually on a USB flash memory or disk)




There's also multiple how to's on the web with people giving the steps for how to deploy windows in a vhd by running Setup (IE, use Shift-F10 to mount the vhd image) for different machine setups (ie, how to create the UEFI bootable USB disk, etc).

Edited by ArtieMcD
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Thanks.  That's a good find!  I do still need to try a Server 2012 Essentials recovery stick to see if it will boot.  I'll report back whenever I get around to it.

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I created a Windows To Go flash drive using a Patriot 32GB Supersonic Rage stick. I created it on my Surface Pro. However, it will not boot. I tested it on my Win7 desktop computer, strictly to see if it would boot, and it did try, although it couldn't finish, I suspect because it didn't have all the right drivers.


Also, some of the directions I found said to create 2 partitions on the flash drive, something that is impossible without breaking Microsoft's default policy of only allowing 1 partition on removable drives. I found some other instructions that said how to do it using only a single partition, but it still won't boot.

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