: #1 Reason not to buy Windows Home Server - Can't restore a computer
So my laptop is all messed up after it crashed when the power cord was not plugged in and the laptop battery ran out.
Result is a laptop that despite various problems is FUBAR but no big deal because I have Windows Home Server.
Put in the PC Recovery disc and boot up the laptop. Gee it can't find the Windows Home Server. If I boot it up into Windows, the laptop finds the Windows Home Server so I know the physical connection is fine.
After multiple efforts I read that I probably need the network drivers.
Okay so I go into the Laptops backup and find the Windows Drivers for Restore directory, copy it to a Flash drive and start the recovery with Flash drive installed.
Now it says that it finds that USB Flash drive and the drivers so I continue. Still can't find the Server so I am screwed.
So now I have a laptop that takes 8 minutes to boot up and can't be restored with Windows Home Server and a Recovery disc.
To the marketing gurus at Microsoft that say "Easily restore lost files or even entire hard drive contents in a few steps."
I say your fill of crap.
Truly a frustrating experience.
In case you're wondering what I am going to do next.
I am going to take the few files I need from my backup and copy them to another computer, then I'm going to try and re-install Windows on the Laptop, then I am going to take the drives out of the Windows Home Server and use them for storage in a new NAS device, then I am going to take the WHS and trash it with a sledgehammer and then send a picture and nasty note to Microsoft.
Thankfully my laptop has little in the way of data on it as anything done on it is stored in the cloud or transferred off quite quickly. I never like to leave data on a machine that I could lose!
2010-09-11, 06:57 PM
I've restored several computers from WHS without any difficulty.
It might be that your problem is a version mismatch between your recovery disk and your WHS. The version that came with your WHS system disks is outdated. The most recent version can be found here (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=26881305-91cc-4f37-b1fc-3813c423df2c).
I've restored two different laptops and one desktop from WHS without worrying at all about driver preload.
2010-09-11, 08:17 PM
Then you definitely do not want any part of Windows Home Server Vail. So far, should you experience a failure on the server side the drives are not readable in any other computer due to the new funky drive extender being used.
It might be that your problem is a version mismatch between your recovery disk and your WHS.
Nope. Used the one that came with the system and downloaded the most recent from the MS site and tried that.
Regardless, it shouldn't matter. The only reason I have a WHS is for backup and recovery and it failed miserably at the task. It's simply inexcusable. If your sole purpose is to provide reliable backups, I should not have to try and decipher if the recovery disk that came with the system works or not.
Can you imagine selling a defibrilator and the moment you need it, the thing needs to be updated with new firmware to save someone's life?
Really MS is mickey mouse. A back up should work. If new firmware was required then it should require you to create a new recovery disc before updating your server.
I used to be a big defender of MS but now I have nothing but contempt.
I am going to purchase a Linux based NAS next week for additional backup as I simply cannot trust a MS product to reliably work.
2010-09-12, 02:43 AM
Hugh, you are using a wired connection between your laptop and the WHS to do the restore, right? I know this may be overly obvious, but restores can only be done with a wired network connection. ;)
Other than that, I have done at least 4 restores using WHS, and it has worked flawlessly each time.
2010-09-12, 12:00 PM
It sucks that you are having problems, I too have had wonderful success in bringing a laptop or two back from the dead using WHS imaging. Do you have access to a different NIC? A USB or PC Card version? Something older that should have the drivers included? At least that is the approach I'd take. Do you have a different system that has been able to boot up and see the restore features?
Hugh, you are using a wired connection between your laptop and the WHS to do the restore, right?
Again I have copied all the necessary drivers to a USB Stick. During the restore, it finds the USB stick and pops up a dialog box saying all the drivers have been found.
This is an 18 month old laptop so its hardly outdated and the drivers work fine to connect to teh network when I boot the machine up.
2010-09-12, 12:29 PM
Since detection of the USB device is working I'm just wondering if the show stopper is that key packets (TFTP, BOOTP, or whatever WHS uses) are being dropped by a firewall, managed switch, etc.? Sure would be nice to snoop the LAN during the whole process.
2010-09-12, 12:30 PM
I have to admit the last (and only) time I attempted a full restore of my computer, the WHS boot CD also failed for me. I just forget what the error message was, but it didn't work. I was able to re-install windows and restore files from there, so I didn't loose any data, but it was more work that it should have been.
I suppose shame on me for not testing the restore procedure before I needed it. That's the first rule of backups!
God this is disgusting and I can honestly say that any positive feelings I had about Microsoft are gone.
Apparently, WHS recovery software is 32 Bit. My laptop like virtually every Windows Computer sold in the last year is 64 bit so the drivers which drive my laptop can't be used.
In simple terms, Windows Home server can't recover a 64 bit computer using the backups it makes for that computer!
Don't you think when they developed the software they would check the version of Windows you are backing up and tell you that, if the computer fails it will be impossible to restore computer using the backups made by Windows Home Server?
The reason the rest of you have been able to do a restore is your laptop or desktop was using 32 bit Windows.
2010-09-12, 06:56 PM
I'm with ya Hugh; in the end, it shouldn't be so difficult. This is not a beta product, or something that requires a expert to own or operate. We're no longer in the Windows 3.1 era, and Microsoft better get a better grip on the ball.
2010-09-12, 08:59 PM
hugh, I've recovered a 64-bit Windows 7 desktop from a WHS. Windows Home Server can restore 64-bit PC's ... that's not where you're problem lies (not sure where it does, but it's not that).
2010-09-12, 09:34 PM
Looks like the backup folder for the laptop's drivers has the 64-bit driver. If you were to manually download the 32-bit driver for your laptop, you probably would be able to restore it no problem. I found a good article that mentions this here:
Restoring 64-bit PCs from Windows Home Server: What You Need To Know (http://www.mediasmarthome.com/article/14041/Restoring-64-bit-PCs-from-Windows-Home-Server-What-You-Need-to-Know/).
For those who have never had an issue (even backing up a 64-bit Windows install), the WHS recovery disc probably had built-in drivers for your NIC.
In the end though, I will admit Microsoft should have done a better job explaining this in some way (especially if WHS detected a 64-bit machine on the network). This won't prevent me from using WHS, but at least it's something I can bring up if friends start asking me questions about it.
Windows Home Server can restore 64-bit PC's
Sorry JC you mistaken. You cannot recover computers using 64 bit drivers. MS acknowledges that in there tech notes. In your case, your machines would have been using 32 bit drivers.
If you were to manually download the 32-bit driver for your laptop, you probably would be able to restore it no problem.
Tried that but can't find the driver. Google search points to a number but none that appear to fit the bill.
Anyway you cut it, Microsoft WHS cannot restore from its own backup. IMO, that is fraudulent because its not what they are selling.
The WHS is pretty clear in its marketing. It backs up and allows you to restore any Windows PC.
From there website
Easily restore lost files or even entire hard drive contents in a few steps.
which is patently absurd if you are a 64 bit Windows user.
The software and promotional material should clearly state that it is impossible to recover 64 bit Windows computers with the backups created by the software. The time to tell people is before they have a catastrophe, not after. If WHS automatically downloaded the 32 bit drivers when you first backed up (or required that you manually add them before beginning the back up) then the product would have some integrity.
Had I known this prior to buying WHS, I would have not bought the product.
So now I am stuck with a pain in the ass computer that needs drivers I can't source.
2010-09-12, 11:38 PM
That's a possible explanation, never gave it much thought. Since you have nothing to lose, tried this (http://www.wegotserved.com/2009/11/17/how-to-restore-a-client-computer-without-using-the-client-restore-disk/)?
What I have to lose is quite a few more hours of my time. I have already wasted hours on this recovery which MS says can be done with a wizard in a few steps.
What upsets me is that I have spent hundreds of dollars on a WHS that doesn't work, wasted hours of my time trying to restore something that couldn't be restored, all because MS lied about the capabilities of its product. If you promise that your product can back up a W64 computer then it should be able to restore a W64 computer with the backups it has created. I really don't see how my expectations are unreasonable?
As I said, I will likely just do a complete install etc although by the time I install software again etc, I will probably waste another few hours.
2010-09-13, 01:28 AM
64 bit drivers should not be necessary to restore a system disk. The same OS is not even required. The drivers should match the recovery boot disk, not the OS on the computer. I've used Linux to recover drive images made with Windows and visa versa. I've also used 32 bit Windows to recover drive images and backups made on a 64 bit Windows system to a Linux server.
2010-09-13, 01:54 AM
The drivers should match the recovery boot disk, not the OS on the computer.
Agreed. Why Microsoft decided that it would be a good idea to back up whatever drivers were being used on the computer, rather than have it identify the hardware and grab what was needed for the recovery disk is beyond me.
Or have 64 bit recovery software that can use the drivers on the machine that needs to be recovered.