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Yet another Backup-related Question


byronomo
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Here's the story. I recently started purchasing Lenovo Q150s as HTPCs to connect to each TV in my house. On the 2nd one that I purchased, the OS (Win 7 Home Premium) somehow became corrupt to the point that the machine couldn't boot to windows, couldn't boot from a recovery disk & the built-in "one key" recovery didn't work. I had been backing this PC up to my WHS from the day it arrived until 1 week later when it wouldn't boot.

 

I sent the thing to Lenovo to be "re-imaged" (basically wiped clean and restored to factory settings).

 

Questions:

 

1)When the PC comes back, if I set the machine name to the same as it was before it went bad, will WHS recognize it as being the same PC?

2)Can this machine be restored to the way it was prior to the next-to-last backup using WHS so that I don't have to reconfigure everything (media center settings, mymovies installation, etc.)?

3)If #2 is "yes", is this advisable or do I run some risk of re-introducing whatever caused the corruption? Lenovo basically said that the corruption was "just one of those things that happens sometimes", suggesting that it was just some freak stroke of bad luck rather than some physical or user error.

 

 

Thanks in advance!

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I have not yet had to use this option (thank goodness) but a good way to try your theory, providing you think there is something wrong with the backup would be to grab a spare hard drive, install it, and perform the restore to that new drive.

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Answers:

 

1. No need to change the name. Just put in the WHS restore disk and boot to it. It will find your server, ask for your password and give you some options on which image and what point in time you want it to restore. Very easy.

 

2. Yes. See #1

 

3. Yes, that is possible, but I am not sure that our friends at Lenovo really know what when wrong. There is a risk, but I would take it. When you said recovery disk, I assume that is the Lenovo recovery disk and not the WHS one?

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Sounds to me like hardware failure. Maybe a bad hard drive. I know my Dell laptop for work ended up with a corrupted hard drive and it was basically a brick. The only thing our IS people could do was get it to start using a diagnostic partition on the hard drive but it kept giving them errors too.

 

The question you have to ask yourself. Do you feel confident that the backup is "good" or would it really be better to set everything up again and then do a manual backup that you label as your new baseline setup?

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I too would guess a hardware issue was the root cause, there is no other good reason you could not boot from a disk. If it was just a software issue that should not have prevented booting from a disk. I use WHS for central storage but don't back up PC's so I can't speak to the WHS recovery method.

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Answers:

 

1. No need to change the name. Just put in the WHS restore disk and boot to it. It will find your server, ask for your password and give you some options on which image and what point in time you want it to restore. Very easy.

 

2. Yes. See #1

 

3. Yes, that is possible, but I am not sure that our friends at Lenovo really know what when wrong. There is a risk, but I would take it. When you said recovery disk, I assume that is the Lenovo recovery disk and not the WHS one?

Thanks Jim and others...

I will try to restore as you point out above. At the end of the day, if the hard drive is bad, and hasn't been replaced prior to returning to me, it's gonna need to go back to them no matter what I do---so I might as well get some 1st hand knowledge of what WHS can do for me in the event of catastrophic machine failure! I am lucky in this case because there was very little installed on the machine above/beyond Win 7 (MyMovies, AnyDVD, Virtual Clone Drive, WHS Connector, Avast!).

 

Regarding creating a WHS recovery disk:

 

1)Yes, I was referring to a Windows Recovery Disk, rather than a WHS one. The Lenovo recovery disk is a partition on the HD that can be accessed by pressing F2 immediately after powering-up, but that wasn't working either due to the corrupted drive.

 

2)This PC doesn't have a CD/Floppy drive, so I will have to create the WHS recovery disk and copy the contents to a bootable flash drive and set the machine's bios to boot from that. I've never tried this with the WHS recovery disk, but that's how I made a Windows recovery disk, so I'm hoping it will work.

 

Regarding whether it's a hardware or software issue---I just don't know. Basically everytime I try to boot the PC (either regular or windows recovery disk), I end up at a black screen with white text that says (among other things): "The file system32/hal.dll is missing or corrupt. Please re-install the file."

 

In any case, Lenovo has it now and should have it back to me in a few days. In a worst-case scenario, I bought it w/ AMEX, so they can deal with it if Lenovo doesn't do the right thing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Answers:

 

1. No need to change the name. Just put in the WHS restore disk and boot to it. It will find your server, ask for your password and give you some options on which image and what point in time you want it to restore. Very easy.

 

 

Hey Jim, I just wanted to report back in to say "thanks" for answering the above and to provide a little more insight as to the experience I had with this in my situation in the event that it helps others.

 

1)In my situation, I needed to restore a PC without a CD/DVD drive. So I first needed to create a bootable flash drive (I followed some instructions I found on YouTube:

but there were a number of sites explaining how to do this).

2)If you don't have the WHS Restore CD handy, you need to download an image of the CD from Microsoft (http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/details.aspx?familyid=26881305-91CC-4F37-B1FC-3813C423DF2C&displaylang=en) and then use software to burn the image onto a CD (before ultimately putting it on a flash drive)

3)Copy the burned image from the CD (or I guess a DVD would probably work too) to the bootable USB flashdrive that you created.

4)In my case, the network card on my PC requires 3rd party drivers (Intel is the manufacturer) which aren't included on the WHS Restore CD. Without these drivers, the restore process will not be able to establish connectivity with your network and, therefore, unable to restore a backup. The Using Windows Home Server site along w/ Tranquil PC, provided invaluable information to help me with this part (http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2010/03/30/where-to-locate-hardware-drivers-with-windows-home-server/comment-page-1/#comment-28990).

5)For me, I ran into the problem that the network drivers weren't recognized even when using the drivers copied from the WHS backup from the very PC I was restoring. The problem is described here: http://www.wintellect.com/CS/blogs/jrobbins/archive/2009/07/24/windows-home-server-restore-hint.aspx. So for me, the easiest workaround was to copy the entire "Intel" folder (corresponding to the manufacturer of my Network Interface) to the WHS Restore USB Stick that I created. The restore process was then able to find and install the specific drivers appropriate for that PC.

6)As I was going through the actual restore process, I was asked which partitions on the hard drive of the PC were to be restored. I opted to only go for the Windows 7 partition (although it's not labeled as such, but I was easily able to determine which one) because the other 2 partitions were "system" partitions, which is where I presume Lenovo hides their system recovery info (which actually didn't work for me initially). Since the machine had been re-imaged by Lenovo, I figured there was a small chance that the system recover partitions were different (i.e. updated) from those on the backup, so I opted to leave those alone.

 

In hindsight, the process isn't nearly as laborious as it may seem with the points that I made above. It's basically as Jim stated--with added wrinkles if you want to do the process from USB and if your PC needs the NIC drivers.

 

I'm only about 8 hours into the restore and things seem to be working well thus far. As advertised, I basically picked up where I left off prior to the machine crashing.

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Curious if Lenovo told you what they did to repair the PC?

 

Just said that they "re-imaged" it. Although I'm not 100% sure, I take that to mean that they wiped the HD and re-installed everything to factory settings.

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Add this to your bookmarks. Drashna makes a slick restore ISO file that includes most NIC drivers and I think even some HDD controller drivers. You can download the ISO file or a .rar file and copy it straight to a USB drive to boot from. It is my "go to" choice for doing a PC restore. I don't even mess with the MS disc anymore.

 

fasthair

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