I’ve been a Windows Home Server owner for over a year now. The little server has been dutifully backing up the households four computers nearly every night. I’ve restored a PC once before, a HP laptop that was running 32-bit windows vista. It worked beautifully.
Tonight while fooling around with Visual Studio 2010 on my new Lenovo W510 laptop running Windows 7, 64 bit I ended up blue-screening Windows 7. The PC kept blue-screening on every boot attempt and the built-in boot recovery in Windows 7 could not find any problems.
Well, not to fear. I just took a backup, so I’ll simply restore it. Popped the client PC restore CD in the drive and booted.
Snag 1: The network card was not detected. Well I’ve read about that. That’s what the “Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore” folder on the C: drive is for. I opened the backup on another PC and copied the whole folder to a USB thumb drive, the popped it in the PC to be restored and scanned for drivers.
Snag 2: The Lenovo W510 has USB 3 and the bloody thumb drive was not even detected. It seemed I needed to load USB drivers first. Luckily I remembered that the PC has two USB 3 and one USB 2 slots. I inserted the USB drive in the USB 2 slot and again click scan. This time the light on the drive flickered, but it still could not find and drivers. After googleing the web I found the cause.
Snag 3: Since I was running Windows 7 64 bit all the drivers in the “Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore” folder was 64-bit drivers. The bootable client restore CD is running a stripped down version of 32-bit Vista and thus cannot load my 64-bit drivers. I actually need to download 32-bit drivers manually from Lenovo.com.
Snag 4: Drivers usually comes in a nice msi file or setup.exe file. That’s no good. I needed to extract the actual files from within the msi’s. The resulting file’s (.inf, dll’s and more) can then be moved to the USB stick. That’s the whole point of the “Windows Home Server Drivers for Restore” folder. The drivers were supposed to be there “ready for picking”.
Finally after several hours my PC is now back up and running after a restore that should have taken only 30 minutes or so.
Microsoft: You really need to release a 64-bit client restore CD that supports the drivers. This is a major flaw in the way WHS works.