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Hopefully, you'll never need it, but should your machine become malware-ridden or suffer a hardware failure, it'll be time to restore from a backup image.

Backups are one of those things that you absolutely must do regularly...

And yet, you hope that you'll never, ever need them.

The reality is that chances are you will.

I'll walk you through the steps required to restore a backup system image to your system.

Boot from the Rescue Media

Restoring a system image - meaning restoring an image of your system drive that normally contains your running operating system - requires that you boot from the rescue media that you created shortly after getting your backup program. Perhaps the hardware died and you need to restore to a replacement hard disk. Or perhaps the system is so malware-infested that you can't (or don't want to) boot from the installed system.

Regardless of the reason, this is when you want that bootable rescue media.

If you didn't make one, you'll need to use a different computer to do so now, before you can proceed.

Macrium Reflect Restore Wizard

After booting from the Macrium Reflect rescue media disc, you'll automatically enter the Restore Wizard:

Macrium Reflect restore wizard

Click Next to begin the restore process.

Macrium Reflect restore wizard locate image

First, you'll need to tell the wizard which backup image you want to restore.

Important: The drive letters shown here may not match the drive letters that you're used to seeing. In this case, the formerly "hidden" system partition is visible and has been assigned drive letter C:. What we consider C: is identified as D:, and what was D: is E:. Be sure to examine the contents of the drives (just click on them and you'll be able to navigate their contents in the right-hand pane) to be clear on which drive is which. These drive letters are only temporary during the restore process, and reflect the fact that Macrium Reflect is accessing all partitions, hidden or otherwise. After the restore when you reboot back into Windows, the drive letters will reflect your normal reality.

Our backups were placed in the root of our D: drive in previous examples; that drive is now referred to as E: in the Restore Wizard.

Click the drive containing your backup images and then click the image that you want to restore. Typically, that'll be the most recent incremental backup taken. During the restore, the original full backup and all incremental backups up to and including the one that you select will be applied.

Click Next.

Macrium Reflect restore wizard select partitions to restore

On the next screen, the wizard has examined the backup image that we selected and is asking which partitions contained should be restored.

Our backup included both the System Reserved partition, as well as the partition containing C:, and we'll select both. (The wizard will likely already have pre-selected both for you.)

Click Next.

Macrium Reflect restore wizard target disk selection

This step in the wizard allows you to select which hard disk the backup should be restored to. In our case, there are only two hard disks - the system drive and the backup drive containing the backup images. Because the backup program can't restore an image to the drive that it's reading the backup image from, the only choice that it presents is the system drive.

Click Next.

Macrium Reflect restore wizard summary

Finally, with all of the decisions made, the wizard displays a summary. Review the summary and if it looks good, click Restore.

After a Yes/No confirmation, the restore begins.

Macrium Reflect restore wizard complete

When the restore is complete, remove the rescue media disc and click Reboot.

Your machine should now reboot into the restored copy of the operating system.

Video

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Video Transcript

This is Leo Notenboom for AskLeo.net.

Restoring an image to your machine.

What we're going to do is restore a backup image of our entire C: drive to the machine we took it from, thus overwriting the existing contents of the C: drive with the image that was taken with the backup process.

We'll boot from rescue media CD. In doing so, the first thing that we get is the option to run Macrium's rescue CD directly or a memory test program. In this particular case, we're going to go ahead and let Macrium rescue start.

Macrium boots and goes directly into the restore wizard. We'll click on Next. Now, one of the interesting side effects of booting using a completely different operating system is that the drive letters that we originally understood to be C: and D: are now relabeled. What used to be C: is in fact the D: drive and what used to be the D: drive that contains our backup images is in fact named E:. This is only the naming convention for the rest of the restore and doesn't actually reflect any change that might happen when we're finished.

We will select the incremental backup - the most recent backup that we took; we'll click on Next. We select here, where the backup is to be restored and in fact, Macrium selects the same partitions that the backups originally came from.

Typically, there will only be one target disk to restore the backup to. Once again, we end up with a summary of the actions to be taken and we click on 'Restore'. After confirming that we indeed want to do this, Macrium begins its operation.

Once the restore is complete, you can remove the boot CD and hit Reboot. Your system will now reboot into the restored copy of Microsoft Windows.

Next Steps

The next video in the series: Macrium Reflect 7: Restoring a File.

Article C4992 - November 27, 2011 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

11 Comments
John
November 29, 2011 8:34 AM

All our computers have the BIOS set to prevent booting from a CD. Is there another way to restore an image? How about putting the hard disk in a USB adapter and using another machine - would that work?

Mark J
November 29, 2011 11:59 AM

@John
Putting a hard disk in a USB adapter in most cases wouldn't wouldn't work either, as the BIOS setting would probably be set to prevent all external media from booting. The computer administrator(s) with the BIOS password would be the only one(s) who would be able to restore from a backup.

Glenn P.
November 29, 2011 3:28 PM

Setting the BIOS to stop CD or DVD booting is, IMHO, not  a good idea, as booting from CD or DVD is occasionally actually and genuinely necessary  -- as you can see here! Definitely not  a recommended setting. Try to get your administrator to see the logic behind this; with any luck, he'll soften his stance a bit (just don't bet the farm on it)...

Steve
December 9, 2011 8:48 AM

Hello everyone.
I have a couple of questions and hope Leo or others can contribute, please.
Suppose I have a disk with a 400GB OS partition (C:) using about 200GB and a second partition (D:) that is an OEM system restore 9GB with 4GB contents.
Here are the questions:
1. Will MR create an image with both partitions in it?
2. In creating the image, is it sector by sector (i.e. the entire partition) or does it actually only image the used space?
3. What if there are bad-sectors on the C: drive? I have repeatedly run chkdsk c: /r/f/b etc and have gotten results every time about bad clusters and pending sectors. Will MR ignore these or would that be a bad thing?

Appreciate hearing from everyone. Thanks!

1. Does Macrium copy only space used?

1) it can 2) it can (but defaults to only used) 3) to be honest I'm not sure. If CHKDSK /R isn't fixing it, I'd be tempted to try SpinRite next.
Leo
09-Dec-2011
Ie Nash
December 12, 2011 11:52 AM

I have a Vista computer I would like to run restore on but with the rescue cd inserted when you power on I can hear the hd start to spin but nothing else happens. It doesn't try to read the cd or anything and to turn it off I have to unplug he power cord. Any ideas?

Connie
December 12, 2011 2:31 PM

@Ie
Have you checked the boot order in your BIOS? You get to the setup utility by hitting delete or F2 key while booting. Here's an article with some more information on how boot order works:
Should I reinstall Windows from a fresh boot?

Karen
September 18, 2012 8:17 AM

I jut used Macrium reflet to restore an image from a faile hard drive to a new larger hard drive (original system Win xP but image done on Win 7 machine). I created a rescue disk on a usb key, all went well, I set the new partititon larger and set it as the primary drive and restored the image. When the computer boots up it only shows a secondary master. How do I get it to boot up to that drive it is the ony drive in the computer

Steve
September 27, 2012 9:43 AM

Hi Leo,
My question is about Reflect's Redeploy feature that is not available in the Free or Standard versions. I understand that restoring an OS partition to a different PC with different hardware is not going to work because the hardware configurations do not match. Is Redeploy needed if the only difference is the brand or sizes of the hard drive the backup is being restored to? In other words, if the HDD crashes beyond recognition in a PC, can Reflect Free or Standard put your cloned image onto a new, slightly different HDD on the same original machine or is it necessary to have Redeploy only as available in the Pro or better Macrium versions?

Leo, many thanks for being there.
Steve


Replacing a hard drive shouldn't require any special features like redeploy. Macrium Free should be able to restore to a replaced hard drive of different configuration.
Leo
28-Sep-2012

Bill
December 4, 2012 7:27 PM

As a result of your advice I am using Macrium and do an incremental backup every month. Can I delete all the incremental backups except the last?

I'm not sure what each incremental backup is. Is it incremental from the last incremental B/U? In which case I guess I must keep them all.

Or does each incremental B/U back up everything since the original total B/U?

connie
December 4, 2012 8:57 PM

@Bill,
If you only do incrementals you will need to keep them all. Periodically do a full backup and then you'll only need to keep the ones since the full backup. Here's an article where Leo explains his backup schedule:
So what should I backup?

John
December 26, 2012 7:25 AM

Leo,
I did a restore with a boot-cd from an image to a drive with 2 partition. The computer started up, that's nice, but unfortunately the second partition was disappeared??
Groet,

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