Rescue media - Double checking issue dealing with recovering unbootable laptop via stored backup...


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lotrfan1
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A very simple question that I am looking to double check from those who have more experience using Macrium Reflect.

I am a recent purchaser of Macrium Reflect and I have a few questions about restoring an image under Windows PE when using a USB rescue fob created by the Microsoft Media Creation tool or possibly use the Macrium Bootmenu option if one had previously generate one.

I have a laptop with a single internal hard disk where C: is located. It is running Windows 10. I use Macrium Reflect to create a bootable rescue disk on a USB fob and a full image of C: on an external hard disk.

Now, let’s say that laptop suddenly is unable to boot. To use Macrium Reflect to recover my laptop to a bootable state, I either use the aforementioned USB rescue fob or the Macrium boot menu option if one had been created.

This should then allow you to enter a version of Macrium Reflect under Windows PE. One clicks restore to load the image. My question is about accessing the previously created macrium image that one now wants to restore. If one is using the Rescue Fob option, that occupies one USB port. I have confronted laptops that only have 1 USB working in a rescue situation. I just want to be sure that you can use a USB port hub to expand that single working port with the rescue key in one of the hub’s ports and the external hard disk with the image backup in one of the hub’s other ports. Apologies if this sounds like a completely obvious “yes”. I am just double checking.

Clearly, this situation isn’t a problem if the unbootable PC has more than one working USB in rescue situations or if you use the Macrium Reflect bootmenu option rather than the rescue fob.

Thanks.

capair45
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lotrfan1 - 11 April 2021 8:51 AM
A very simple question that I am looking to double check from those who have more experience using Macrium Reflect.

I am a recent purchaser of Macrium Reflect and I have a few questions about restoring an image under Windows PE when using a USB rescue fob created by the Microsoft Media Creation tool or possibly use the Macrium Bootmenu option if one had previously generate one.

I have a laptop with a single internal hard disk where C: is located. It is running Windows 10. I use Macrium Reflect to create a bootable rescue disk on a USB fob and a full image of C: on an external hard disk.

Now, let’s say that laptop suddenly is unable to boot. To use Macrium Reflect to recover my laptop to a bootable state, I either use the aforementioned USB rescue fob or the Macrium boot menu option if one had been created.

This should then allow you to enter a version of Macrium Reflect under Windows PE. One clicks restore to load the image. My question is about accessing the previously created macrium image that one now wants to restore. If one is using the Rescue Fob option, that occupies one USB port. I have confronted laptops that only have 1 USB working in a rescue situation. I just want to be sure that you can use a USB port hub to expand that single working port with the rescue key in one of the hub’s ports and the external hard disk with the image backup in one of the hub’s other ports. Apologies if this sounds like a completely obvious “yes”. I am just double checking.

Clearly, this situation isn’t a problem if the unbootable PC has more than one working USB in rescue situations or if you use the Macrium Reflect bootmenu option rather than the rescue fob.

Thanks.

Welcome to the user forum!

In terms of using Windows Rescue Boot Media,  Think of it as a convenience and not one you would rely on to consistently restore an image. The reason is that the files you need may not be available on your computer for a number of reasons. External rescue media can be used as your only rescue media (or a backup to the recovery boot menu option) because it does not depend on any recovery files being on your computer.

I'm not sure about using a USB hub for recovery on a computer that only has one USB port.  You may be able to boot from the Macrium USB Rescue media and once the boot process completes, remove the rescue media and attach the external drive containing your images.  I haven't tried this so not sure.  Once the external drive is attached, you would search for the image you want to restore (if this process works at all.  As I said, I haven't tried this).

EDIT:  I restarted my computer with USB rescue media and allowed the boot process to complete.  Once complete, I removed the rescue media and attached an external HD containing images.  I was able to search the external drive and find all stored images.  I started the restore process but did not allow it to complete.


Windows 10 Home (21H1)  Build 19043.1052
Macrium Reflect 8.0.5994
Windows Defender
Malwarebytes Premium 4.4.2


Edited 11 April 2021 12:03 PM by capair45
lotrfan1
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capair45 - 11 April 2021 11:39 AM
lotrfan1 - 11 April 2021 8:51 AM
A very simple question that I am looking to double check from those who have more experience using Macrium Reflect.

I am a recent purchaser of Macrium Reflect and I have a few questions about restoring an image under Windows PE when using a USB rescue fob created by the Microsoft Media Creation tool or possibly use the Macrium Bootmenu option if one had previously generate one.

I have a laptop with a single internal hard disk where C: is located. It is running Windows 10. I use Macrium Reflect to create a bootable rescue disk on a USB fob and a full image of C: on an external hard disk.

Now, let’s say that laptop suddenly is unable to boot. To use Macrium Reflect to recover my laptop to a bootable state, I either use the aforementioned USB rescue fob or the Macrium boot menu option if one had been created.

This should then allow you to enter a version of Macrium Reflect under Windows PE. One clicks restore to load the image. My question is about accessing the previously created macrium image that one now wants to restore. If one is using the Rescue Fob option, that occupies one USB port. I have confronted laptops that only have 1 USB working in a rescue situation. I just want to be sure that you can use a USB port hub to expand that single working port with the rescue key in one of the hub’s ports and the external hard disk with the image backup in one of the hub’s other ports. Apologies if this sounds like a completely obvious “yes”. I am just double checking.

Clearly, this situation isn’t a problem if the unbootable PC has more than one working USB in rescue situations or if you use the Macrium Reflect bootmenu option rather than the rescue fob.

Thanks.

Welcome to the user forum!

In terms of using Windows Rescue Boot Media,  Think of it as a convenience and not one you would rely on to consistently restore an image. The reason is that the files you need may not be available on your computer for a number of reasons. External rescue media can be used as your only rescue media (or a backup to the recovery boot menu option) because it does not depend on any recovery files being on your computer.

I'm not sure about using a USB hub for recovery on a computer that only has one USB port.  You may be able to boot from the Macrium USB Rescue media and once the boot process completes, remove the rescue media and attach the external drive containing your images.  I haven't tried this so not sure.  Once the external drive is attached, you would search for the image you want to restore (if this process works at all.  As I said, I haven't tried this).

EDIT:  I restarted my computer with USB rescue media and allowed the boot process to complete.  Once complete, I removed the rescue media and attached an external HD containing images.  I was able to search the external drive and find all stored images.  I started the restore process but did not allow it to complete.

Hi - Thanks for the quick reply.  Thanks for the info on the test case where the rescue media is removed and the external hd containing the images was attached.

I am focussing on the disaster recovery situation when your laptop will not boot...possibly due to a partition issue, boot file issue, etc. 

In that instance where you are trying to get an unbootable laptop to be bootable again, you could put the Macrium Image on the same External rescue fob/disk that contains the rescue version of macrium, windows pe, etc. if you are only able to use one usb port on the unbootable laptop.  That shouldn't mess up anything's ability to restore the image back to the unbootable laptop..should it?


capair45
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lotrfan1 - 11 April 2021 1:26 PM
capair45 - 11 April 2021 11:39 AM
lotrfan1 - 11 April 2021 8:51 AM
A very simple question that I am looking to double check from those who have more experience using Macrium Reflect.

I am a recent purchaser of Macrium Reflect and I have a few questions about restoring an image under Windows PE when using a USB rescue fob created by the Microsoft Media Creation tool or possibly use the Macrium Bootmenu option if one had previously generate one.

I have a laptop with a single internal hard disk where C: is located. It is running Windows 10. I use Macrium Reflect to create a bootable rescue disk on a USB fob and a full image of C: on an external hard disk.

Now, let’s say that laptop suddenly is unable to boot. To use Macrium Reflect to recover my laptop to a bootable state, I either use the aforementioned USB rescue fob or the Macrium boot menu option if one had been created.

This should then allow you to enter a version of Macrium Reflect under Windows PE. One clicks restore to load the image. My question is about accessing the previously created macrium image that one now wants to restore. If one is using the Rescue Fob option, that occupies one USB port. I have confronted laptops that only have 1 USB working in a rescue situation. I just want to be sure that you can use a USB port hub to expand that single working port with the rescue key in one of the hub’s ports and the external hard disk with the image backup in one of the hub’s other ports. Apologies if this sounds like a completely obvious “yes”. I am just double checking.

Clearly, this situation isn’t a problem if the unbootable PC has more than one working USB in rescue situations or if you use the Macrium Reflect bootmenu option rather than the rescue fob.

Thanks.

Welcome to the user forum!

In terms of using Windows Rescue Boot Media,  Think of it as a convenience and not one you would rely on to consistently restore an image. The reason is that the files you need may not be available on your computer for a number of reasons. External rescue media can be used as your only rescue media (or a backup to the recovery boot menu option) because it does not depend on any recovery files being on your computer.

I'm not sure about using a USB hub for recovery on a computer that only has one USB port.  You may be able to boot from the Macrium USB Rescue media and once the boot process completes, remove the rescue media and attach the external drive containing your images.  I haven't tried this so not sure.  Once the external drive is attached, you would search for the image you want to restore (if this process works at all.  As I said, I haven't tried this).

EDIT:  I restarted my computer with USB rescue media and allowed the boot process to complete.  Once complete, I removed the rescue media and attached an external HD containing images.  I was able to search the external drive and find all stored images.  I started the restore process but did not allow it to complete.

Hi - Thanks for the quick reply.  Thanks for the info on the test case where the rescue media is removed and the external hd containing the images was attached.

I am focussing on the disaster recovery situation when your laptop will not boot...possibly due to a partition issue, boot file issue, etc. 

In that instance where you are trying to get an unbootable laptop to be bootable again, you could put the Macrium Image on the same External rescue fob/disk that contains the rescue version of macrium, windows pe, etc. if you are only able to use one usb port on the unbootable laptop.  That shouldn't mess up anything's ability to restore the image back to the unbootable laptop..should it?


Keep in mind that rescue media needs to be formatted FAT32.  FAT32 won't allow files larger than 4GB so if the image you want to restore is larger than 4GB, it won't work. 

Perhaps, you might be able to partition your rescue media with a small FAT32 partition to hold rescue media files and another partition formatted NTFS for your image.  I'm not sure about this so I'm out on a limb a bit with this advice.  Best to wait for another member to jump in here with ideas.


Windows 10 Home (21H1)  Build 19043.1052
Macrium Reflect 8.0.5994
Windows Defender
Malwarebytes Premium 4.4.2


jphughan
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Ok, quite a few things to clear up:

You do not restore a Reflet image using bootable media created by the Microsoft Media Creation Tool.  That tool creates Windows 10 installation media.  It includes some Microsoft tools for restoring a system, including a tool to restore images created by the built-in (and terrible) Windows System Image Utility.  But it would not help you with Reflect images.

The way to create bootable media that can restore Reflect images is to create Rescue Media using the Rescue Media Builder wizard within Reflect itself.  That will boot you into a Reflect environment, from which you can even create an image if desired, such as if you want to capture the latest data on an unbootable system before restoring over it with a known good image.

The boot menu option boots you into a Reflect Rescue environment by relying on files stored on your C partition.  But since there are several scenarios where those files might not be readable or available, it should be relied upon as a convenience, NOT a substitute for "external" Rescue Media on a disc or USB flash drive.

Creating Rescue Media on the same device that stores your backups is possible, but can involve some manual effort and introduces some considerations of its own:
  • As mentioned above, if your system uses UEFI booting, you'll want your Rescue Media files on a FAT32 partition.  That will typically mean creating a separate, additional FAT32 partition on your disk, since people don't tend to use FAT32 partitions for entire external hard drives anymore.
  • Some PCs only support booting from USB "removable storage class" devices like flash drives and not USB "fixed disk class" devices like hard drives and SSDs.
  • If your Rescue Media is on a device that is physically online all the time, it might be vulnerable to an "incident", whether that's user error, a Windows bug, or a malware attack.  The whole point of Rescue Media is to be available to rescue you when disaster strikes, and the way it will be most likely to be able to do that is if you keep it offline most of the time and therefore insulated from whatever might happen on your PC.
In terms of the concern around having only one USB port, after the Rescue environment completely loads, you can disconnect the Rescue Media flash drive and connect something else to that port instead.  Reflect Rescue loads itself completely into system RAM, so after it's loaded, it will no longer need access to the boot media that it came from.  Or yes, you can certainly use a USB hub instead.

Edited 11 April 2021 1:49 PM by jphughan
lotrfan1
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Thanks to both for valuable comments.   I have one follow-up question regarding the scenario with an unbootable laptop with only one working USB....

jphughan indicates you should be able to disconnect the Rescue Media flash drive from the USB and attached another external storage device...perhaps the one containing the backup image.  However, if I read capair45's message correctly (in the Edit to that message), capair seems to have performed a test of this approach and the restore process did not complete. ??

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lotrfan1 - 11 April 2021 1:55 PM
Thanks to both for valuable comments.   I have one follow-up question regarding the scenario with an unbootable laptop with only one working USB....

jphughan indicates you should be able to disconnect the Rescue Media flash drive from the USB and attached another external storage device...perhaps the one containing the backup image.  However, if I read capair45's message correctly (in the Edit to that message), capair seems to have performed a test of this approach and the restore process did not complete. ??

Capair45 says he started the restore but did not allow it to complete, i.e. he didn't wait around to confirm that it would finish.  But it would have.
lotrfan1
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Sorry...you are correct.  I misread his edit.

Thanks for pointing that out.

So you have confirmed the simple solution.  Take the rescue fob out of the usb if so needed as Macrium is loaded into the memory of the unbootable laptop

Thanks!

L. W. "Dan" Danz
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One very minor addition to add to your understanding.
When you boot into Rescue Media whether booting from the RM copy on your boot menu or from RM on a USB stick, the boot process loads the rest of the RE/PE environment to a RAM disk that becomes the X: drive.  This leaves the letter C: to be attached to your real C: partition.  But note: any changes you make to the X: drive will be lost at the next boot; i.e. the RAM drive is not saved.


  L. W. "Dan" Danz, Overland Park KS  

lotrfan1
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L. W. "Dan" Danz - 11 April 2021 5:03 PM
One very minor addition to add to your understanding.
When you boot into Rescue Media whether booting from the RM copy on your boot menu or from RM on a USB stick, the boot process loads the rest of the RE/PE environment to a RAM disk that becomes the X: drive.  This leaves the letter C: to be attached to your real C: partition.  But note: any changes you make to the X: drive will be lost at the next boot; i.e. the RAM drive is not saved.

Thanks!
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