Bare metal restore for Windows 7, using Hiren's Boot CD
Scott Brown: Original author.
Graham Keeling: Edits.
Herve Moser: Extra bootrec/bootsect boot repair steps.
Herve reports that this procedure successfully restored Win7en, Win7fr, Win8.1,
and Win Server 2012. The Windows 7 install CD was used to fix the booting for
8.1 and 2012 as both their respective medias weren't able to do the job.
You will need a Windows 7 installation disk, and Hiren's Boot CD.
Hiren's Boot CD is available here: http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/
At the time of writing, version 15.2 was used.
You could use any type of Windows PE envronment though.
Prepare hard drive
Insert the Hiren's Boot CD into the client machine to be restored and boot
from it. When the menu appears select:
"Mini Windows Xp"
Wait for it to boot.
Assuming your are replacing your hard drive you need to prepare it first.
Right click on the "My Computer" icon on the desktop and select
Your new drive should be listed in the window.
Format and partition it as you want it to be set up.
You may need to reboot to fully initialise the disk - it will tell you if you
need to do so.
Once it is initialised, go back into "Disk Management", right click the
partition and mark it as 'active'.
DO NOT FORGET TO MARK YOUR FIRST PARTITION AS ACTIVE - YOUR OS WILL NOT BE
RECOGNISED LATER OTHERWISE... UNLESS YOU HAVE A SYSTEM RESERVED PARTITION:
System Reserved Partition
If you also backed up your System Reserved Partition you will want to restore
this too. Create a 400MB Partition at the start of the disk (I've not
seen one larger than ~250MB but if you don’t know what size your System
Partition was, 400MB should safely cover it) then mark it as ACTIVE.
IF YOU HAVE A SYSTEM RESERVED PARTITION THIS WILL BE THE PARTITION THAT NEEDS
TO BE SET AS ACTIVE - NOT YOUR C DRIVE!!!
With the new drive prepared download and install Burp using the "restore"
account you should have created on the server, if you dont have one, connect
to your server and edit the /etc/burp/burp-server.conf file.
(TIP - you can use putty to connect to your server - it is available inside
"HBCD Menu", under "Programs" -> "Network". To get on the network in the
first place, you may need to run the "Network Setup" icon on the desktop.)
Look for the part in burp-server.conf that says:
restore_client = <something>
Change it to this and save it:
restore_client = restore
"restore" is now the name of your restore client.
Now we want to add the restore user to the clients list (this is also how you
add a new client), again on the server:
Copy 'testclient' to make a new 'restore' client:
cp testclient restore
Edit 'restore' using your favourite text editor (vi or nano, etc).
Change the password to what you want it to be for the restore account and
save the file.
Back on the "Mini Windows Xp" machine, download a burp Windows installer (for
example, by starting a web browser and downloading the installer from the
internet), and run through the screens. Enter the server address, 'restore' for
the client name, and the password that you chose. You may need to enter your
encryption password if you use one for your backups.
Note - it seems that "Mini Windows Xp" requires the 32 bit version of burp.
Open a command prompt and type the following
Note - Not C: - B: is the temporary drive used by "Mini Windows Xp")
cd Program Files\burp\bin
NOTE - Going forward - IF and only if you execute burp and it complains
about certificates, you can go on the server in the /etc/burp/CA
directory and run the following command (with root privilidges):
Then edit index.txt using a text editor to remove the whole "restore"
line. For example, delete this line, then save and retry:
V XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 04 unknown /CN=restore
Optional step - you may view all available backups for the client you want to
restore by typing:
burp -a l -C <client name>
Optional step - you may verify your backup to make sure its checksums are
burp -a v -C <client name>
NOTE - you may specify a specific backup to restore or verify using the
-b <number> option. For example, this will verify the third backup:
burp -a v -C <client name> -b 3
To restore the *LATEST* backup TO THE SAME DRIVE LETTERS YOU BACKED UP FROM,
once you are happy you have the correct and a valid backup; run:
burp -a r -C <client name>
(Use the optional '-b <number>' parameter to specify a specific backup)
Restoring to a different drive letter
To restore the latest backup to a different drive letter from which you backed
up from, run:
burp -a r -C <client name> -r ^<original drive>: -d <destination drive>: -s 1
burp -a r -C <client name> -r ^A: -d F: -s 1
(Use the optional '-b <number>' parameter to specify a specific backup)
In this example, A: drive is the original drive letter in the backup and F: is
the drive you wish to restore these files too.
This is useful when using Hiren’s as it wouldn’t let me assign a newly created
System Reserved Partition for restore a drive letter of A: which was the
original location of the files.
You can also do the following:-
burp -a r -C <client name> -r ^C: -d C: -s 1
To restore only the contents from the latest backup of C: back to C: as an
example. The ^ is required.
Should you get a message about an unexpected command from the server and the
backup fails pretty much immediately, make sure your hard drive is visible in
windows explorer and you can browse to it. You did partition and format it
The restore will take some time, usually hours, to complete. Depending on your
network connection to the server and the size of the restore, it's best to
leave this running overnight.
There are a few ways to monitor the progress of the restore:
*) On the server, you can watch in burp's live status monitor:
burp -c /etc/burp/burp-server.conf -a s
*) If you open up Windows Explorer from the "Mini Windows Xp" desktop you can
watch as directories and files are created.
Note from Graham - When restoring using burp-1.4.18, there were warnings about
setting file times on junction points like 'C:/Documents and Settings'. The
restore ended with an error on 'C:/' and timed out - but since this was the
last entry to be attempted anyway, it turned out OK. I will try to investigate
these bugs for future releases.
Making the system bootable
Now that you have restored all your files we need to repair the hard disk boot
sector to get windows to load. If you're still in "Mini Windows Xp" shut it
Find a copy of the Windows 7 install CD and put that in your drive and boot
into that, being careful not to miss the press any key to boot from CD or DVD
NOTE - The process for Windows 8 may be similar but i do not have the ability
to test this.
When it boots to the install windows screen click next.
On the next screen near the bottom there will be an option to "Repair your
computer" - click that.
Windows will then scan for windows installations and a popup will appear saying
it found problems and give you the option to "Repair and Restart" - click that
and when it restarts boot back into the recovery disk once more. Again being
careful not to miss the press any key to boot from CD or DVD prompt.
NOTE - If the popup does not appear to say it has found problems and there is
no OS listed - double check you marked the disk as ACTIVE in the first step
above by booting back into "Mini Windows Xp".
Once again when it boots to the install windows screen, click next.
On the next screen near the bottom once again select the option to "Repair your
This time it should show your OS in the window and no popup will appear, make
sure it is highlighted and "Use recovery tools that can help fix problems...."
radio button is selected.
When the recovery options window appears select "Startup Repair" and let it do
The computer will reboot.
NOTE: YOU MAY HAVE TO REPEAT THIS LAST STEP WHERE YOU USE STARTUP REPAIR
SEVERAL TIMES - ~2 to 3 times on average - do not worry if it does not boot
after the first or even second repair, just load the repair disk and do exactly
the same thing again.
I believe it only repairs the first issue it finds each time rather than every
You should now be able to boot into your restored OS.
Note from Graham - I tested using VirtualBox, and it worked fine for me.
The Hiren's boot CD is 32 bit and I was trying to restore a 64 bit machine.
So, in "Mini Windows Xp", I downloaded the 32 bit burp client, and when I
needed to make the system bootable, I used a 64 bit Windows 7 install disk. It
would not boot the install disk until I turned 'Enable I/O APIC' on in the
Note from Herve - he reports that, when installing to a blank physical hard
drive, or a new VMWare vmdk, the following two commands are necessary after
three times through the Windows 7 install disk repair and reboot procedure:
bootsect /nt60 all
Then exit, reboot normally and the OS boots like a charm.
Scott confirmed that this also helped him to boot on VMWare, but then he got
a blue screen of death later in the boot sequence - suspect that this is
probably due to massive hardware differences on the VM when the backup was
made on a real hardware. The restore worked fine on the original hardware.