v5: How to restore a backup image

This article describes how to restore a backup image

Restoring a backup image is very simple using Macrium Reflect. If the image contains only data, it is a matter of restoring it back to its original location. For system images that contain boot data, the restoration algorithm will automatically reboot the system, launching Windows PE in its place, restoring the image and then rebooting as normal. In this tutorial, both methods will be covered.

Three main sections are covered in this document:
  1. Restoring an image using the default settings
  2. Modifying the restored partition properties
  3. Restoring a system partition

Restore a data image

This tutorial assumes that a backup image has already been taken of a disk.

1. On the main screen, select the 'Restore' tab as shown in red below.
2. Backup images available to be restored are shown in the main pane. Select the image you wish to restore and select the 'Restore Image' link as shown in green above.

3. The next dialog now gives you the opportunity to restore the image.

Note: By default, partition(s) will be restored to their original locations. However, it is possible to restore to a different partition by using 'Drag and Drop'. Simply drag the source partition to any available partition on the target disk.

In this instance, the default settings shall be used. Click Next.

4. A summary screen is displayed confirming the choices that have been made. Click Finish.

5. The image will now be restored. At the end of the process, an explorer window will open at the root of the destination so that it you can check that the files have been restored correctly.

Modifying the Restored Partition Properties

When restoring an image, by default, Macrium Reflect will attempt to locate the partitions in the image back to their original position on the disk. In the images below, I will attempt to restore a small partition to a new disk that is much larger. When you click to restore an image, you will be presented with the following dialog:

Here, the Source is showing the location of the partition on the original disk. You now have two options. You can either restore the partition onto the new disk in exactly the same location by clicking the 'Copy selected partitions' link (see below)

or you can click and drag the source partition onto the destination disk. The partition will be located at the first available free area of the disk. In this case, this is at the beginning of the disk. Please note that if you already have established partitions on the target disk, you need to select each one and click the Delete Existing partition link before you can drag and resize partitions from the source. See below:

You can now modify the size of the target partition by clicking the link 'Restored Partition Properties'. This gives the following dialog.

There are a number of things you can do here:
  • You can modify the resultant drive letter by choosing one from the pull-down list.
  • You can modify and select the partition type i.e. Primary, Active, Logical
  • By clicking on the < > arrows above the disk view, you can click-and-drag the size of the partition as you wish
  • You can then fine tune the exact partition size, its free space and alignment by using the controls on the bottom left of the dialog
  • The Maximum Size button configures the partition to take the maximum available unallocated space on the disk, in this case about 1TB (the size of the disk)
  • The Minimum Size button configures the partition to take the minimum size which in this case is roughly the same as the amount of data on the disk i.e. 460MB
  • The Original Size button sets the partition to be exactly the same size as it was prior to backup
When you click OK, you can then follow the steps in the first part of this document to complete the restore.

A Youtube video outlines some of the basic issues discussed here:

Restoring a system image

In the case of system images i.e. the 'C drive' containing the operating system files, it is not possible to restore files in real time because they are in use by the current session of the operating system. In order to get around this problem, Macrium uses Windows PE, a cut down version of Windows which is booted. Macrium then restores the filesystem before rebooting again and loading the main version of Windows. Although this sounds complex, it really is very simple to perform.

This tutorial assumes you have a backup image of a system drive and this section of the tutorial should be used for restoring to your original hard drive.

Note: If you are restoring your system Image or whole hard drive Image (which includes system partitions) to a new Hard drive then don’t follow this tutorial. When restoring system Image to a new hard drive: remove old hard drive and install new hard drive then boot computer with Windows PE rescue media (CD or USB) (or use Linux rescue CD) and use the rescue media to restore. See separate Video/tutorial for details.

1. In the main application window, select the 'Restore' tab as shown in red as shown below

2. Select the required image and click the 'Restore Image' link as shown in green above.

3. As above in step 3, you can choose to restore the image to a different partition. However, for this tutorial use the default settings and click Next

4. Review the summary and click Finish

5. At this point, Macrium Reflect recognizes that it is not possible to restore the image to the 'C drive' and therefore displays a dialogue informing you that Windows PE must be used. Click 'Run from Windows PE'

6. You will now be prompted to restart your PC. Close down any saved work and click 'Restart Now'

7. The system will reboot, Macrium will add a boot menu option and automatically select the recovery environment.

8. Windows PE will now boot and automatically run Macrium which will detect which image is to be restored and start restoration automatically as shown above. When the restoration is complete, Macrium will automatically reboot the PC again and the normal copy of Windows will boot as normal.

You should find that the files in the image have been successfully restored.

A Youtube video tutorial detailing how to perform a system restore is available below:

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Posted 3 Jun 2011 by jon.dittman@macrium.com