The Macrium Reflect knowledgebase has been upgraded.
Please go here for the latest information.


v4 - How to use RoboRestore to restore a disk image

Expand / Collapse

v4 - How to use RoboRestore to restore a disk image

This article will take you through the steps to use RoboRestore to restore a disk image.

RoboRestore is a free utility that works with image files created with both Macrium Reflect free and full editions.  RoboRestore uses Microsoft's Robocopy utilty to copy files from a disk image to an existing file system. The existing file system can be any size greater than the used space of the partition saved in the disk image. This effectively overcomes the issue with a normal disk image restore that prevents restoring to a smaller partition than the original.

The restored partition can also use a different alignment to the imaged partition which enables XP system partitions to be aligned efficiently for Solid State Disks (SSD).

Do I need to use RoboRestore?

No. In most cases you can use the normal disk image restore wizard. A tutorial for restoring with the Linux CD can be found here:

RoboRestore  provides an alternative method of restoring a disk image by copying the files in the image to an existing file system. Use RoboRestore if you want to restore to a disk that is smaller than the original or has a different partition alignment. You can also use RoboRestore if your image file is corrupt and cannot be restored normally. Files can normally be copied from a corrupt image but the integrity of the restored files cannot be guaranteed.

What's Microsoft Robocopy?

Robocopy, or "Robust File Copy", is a command line utility to copy files and folders and includes all NTFS file permissions and alternative data streams.

Robocopy is included with Windows Server 2003, Server 2008, Vista and Windows 7. XP users need to follow the instructions in step 2 below.

How do I use it?

RoboRestore is very simple to use and only has a few options.


  1. Download '' and save it to any folder on your PC. Unzip 'roborestore.exe' to the same directory.
    32 Bit - Download
    64 Bit - Download

    Note: RoboRestore is already included with the Macrium Windows PE rescue CD. From the Windows PE command prompt type:

    "x:\program files\macrium\roborestore.exe"
  2. If you are using Windows XP or BartPE then you also need to download and install the 'Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools'
    Once installed, copy the file 'robocopy.exe' from folder 'C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools' to the same folder as 'roborestore.exe'.

Using it

  1. Double click 'roborestore.exe' or use a command prompt in BartPE or Windows PE to run the program by entering the full path name.

    The following dialog is displayed:

  2. Click the '...' button and select your image file.

    You cannot use RoboRestore for disk images that span multiple DVD's. If you have multiple DVD's then first copy all the DVD files to a single folder on a local/network drive.
  3. If you have multiple partitions saved in the image file then select the partition you want to restore. In the above example we are restoring an image of drive 'H:'.
  4. Select the destination in the drop down list. If you are running from within Windows then you cannot select drive 'C:\'. In this case please start your PC with either the BartPE  or Windows PE 2.0 rescue CD and run RoboRestore from within that environment.
  5. Format destination before copy: This option enables you to create a clean destination drive before the copy. If you don't format the destination then existing folders and files, not in the backup, will remain unchanged.
  6. Make destination bootable: Select this option if you are restoring an image of your Windows System drive (Drive C:). Click the 'Advanced' button to refine the operations executed when this option is selected.

    By default the Disk identifier is transferred from the original disk to the destination disk. Windows will not boot properly if two disks are attached with the same Disk Identifier. If you select this option and you are cloning your current system, then disconnect one of the disks before booting.
  7. Run Robocopy: Select this option to run robocopy when the 'Start' button is clicked.

    Once selected you can modify the parameters for the command and choose to hide the output of robocopy if you wish. Only modify the robocopy command line options if you know what you are doing.

    Note: Do not modify <SRC > and <DST> tags.
    These are automatically replaced with the source and destination of the restore when robocopy is run.

    For more information on the available command line options please see here.
  8. Click the 'Start' button and the restore will begin. The restore process may be significantly slower than a regular disk image restore, but be patient and wait for the completion message. A full log will be created in '\roborestore.txt'


  1. I've restored Windows XP but it won't boot.
    Make sure your 'boot.ini' file is correct for the restored system.
    1. Use the 'Fix Boot Problems' with Windows PE 2.0
    2. Or, use the XP recovery console and run 'bootcfg /rebuild'.
  2. I've restored Windows Vista but it won't boot.
    The Boot Configuration Database (BCD) may be invalid.   

    Use the Vista 'Startup Recovery' option with your Vista installation DVD

    Or, use the 'Fix Boot Problems' with Windows PE 2.0
  3. Can I restore to the same drive that contains the image file?
    Yes, but don't attempt to format the drive first!

  4. Why are there several 'skipped' directories and files shown in the log file?
    Junction points:
     Junction points are pointers to other directories and robocopy doesn't create or follow these junctions. When robocopy has finished the junction points are automatically created by RoboRestore. Vista makes extensive use of junction points for directories such as 'C:\Documents and Settings' and many others. These are provided for backward compatibility with Windows XP.

    'pagefile.sys' and 'hiberfil.sys': These files are created when Windows boots and it isn't necessary to copy these files from the image.
    System Volume Information: This is a hidden system folder in the root of the volume and contains restore point information. The destination has already created this folder when the volume was formatted.  
  5. What are the 'Extras' reported in the copy summary?
    These are files and folders that exist in the destination that weren't in the image file. For a newly formatted destination these refer to files in the system folder '\System Volume Information'. This is normal and expected.


Robocopy reference -
Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools -

How to create a BartPE Rescue CD for Macrium Reflect -

Vista Startup recovery -

XP Recovery Console -

Windows PE 2.0 Recovery Environment -

Master Boot Record -

Junction Points -

Last Modified:8 Oct 2014

Last Modified By: Scott

Type: Feature

Article not rated yet.

Article has been viewed 51,028 times.