Recovering from corrupted Windows 10 image


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dpholmstrom
dpholmstrom
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I have Windows 10 desktop system with 1TB main drive and that drive contains a D: Recovery partition.
I been reading many of the recovery posts but they are over my head and so do not help. I had a plan for recovery from corruption using my Macrium Reflect backups and want to confirm implementation before starting.
It seems likely that the Windows 10 image on my main drive was corrupted during the most recent automatic Windows upgrade. Every time I download a new ISO file to repair the image it flags the ISO file as corrupted so I'm going to fall back to my full blown recovery plan. Two questions:
1) My most recent main disk clone is about a month old and I have a weekly backups ever since then (I run Full on first Saturday of month and Differential all other Saturdays). In order to completely recover to my pre-corruption state my plan is to replace the existing 1TB main drive with the 1TB clone disk and then run recovery using the recent Macrium weekly backups. Does that sound valid?
2) Just before my repeated efforts to download a new ISO file I completed a "Full" backup as recommended by Microsoft Corp. Obviously that Full backup is of the system after the corruption was discovered. I don't know if a full backup includes the internally stored Windows recovery image and I do not want to corrupt the clone system software during the recovery process. Do I need to delete that most recent "Full" backup before restoring the system using the Macrium backups?
jphughan
jphughan
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The answer to Question 1 is "Yes, that makes perfect sense."  Just to be clear though, when performing an image restore, you do NOT have to restore the Full first and then restore the Differential on top of that.  If the point in time you wish to go back to is the time for which you have a Differential, you can immediately restore that Differential.  Reflect will pull whatever data it needs out of the parent Full to make the state of your target disk match the state of that Differential.

For Question 2, I'm not entire clear what ISO you're downloading or what image you're trying to use it to repair.  Are you talking about an image created by your system manufacturer that is designed to return your system to its original factory state?  If so, I'm not sure how you've concluded that it needs repair in the first place or why it's important to you to repair now even if it does need repair -- are you ultimately trying to return your system to its out-of-box state?  But the contents of any image backup will depend on what partitions you chose to include in it.  If you ran a Full backup of just your Windows partition -- which is typically not a good idea on modern systems -- then that Full won't have anything for the recovery image partition. If on the other hand you DID include that image partition in your backups, then you'd be able to recover that partition even from a Diff or Inc backup.  Even if that specific backup FILE doesn't have any updated data for that partition because it didn't change between the parent Full and the Diff/Inc, you would still be able to restore that partition from a Diff/Inc backup because as I said in my answer to your first question, each backup allows you to return your system to a specific point in time.  You don't have to know exactly when a given file or partition changed and therefore what file to select for restore.  You just have to decide, "I want to return my system to the way it was on the date of this backup," and choose to restore that backup.  Reflect will pull whatever data it needs from other backups to achieve that end result.  In any case, you definitely do NOT need to delete any backups before restoring from any other backups.  If you want to see what partitions were backed up in a given image backup, go to the Restore tab in Reflect and select the backup of interest.  At the top of the Restore tab area you'll see a partition map.  If you see your recovery partition in there, then your backup contains that partition.  If not, then it doesn't.  But even if it doesn't, you would still be able to restore OTHER partitions from that backup without disturbing the existing recovery partition on your target disk.  The first step of the Restore wizard allows you to "stage" a restore, so you'll initially see all existing partitions on your target disk.  Then you can select which partitions you want to restore, as well as where they will be restored on disk.  Any existing partitions that are still showing in the Destination disk's partition layout in that wizard after you're done "staging" will still be there intact after the restore completes.  For example, if you have a disk containing three partitions, and an image backup that only contains one of those partitions, you can restore just that one partition from the backup while keeping the other two existing partitions as-is.  Restoring an image backup does not automatically wipe out everything else on the disk.

Edited 20 April 2021 1:12 AM by jphughan
dpholmstrom
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jphughan - 20 April 2021 1:11 AM
The answer to Question 1 is "Yes, that makes perfect sense."  Just to be clear though, when performing an image restore, you do NOT have to restore the Full first and then restore the Differential on top of that.  If the point in time you wish to go back to is the time for which you have a Differential, you can immediately restore that Differential.  Reflect will pull whatever data it needs out of the parent Full to make the state of your target disk match the state of that Differential.

For Question 2, I'm not entire clear what ISO you're downloading or what image you're trying to use it to repair.  Are you talking about an image created by your system manufacturer that is designed to return your system to its original factory state?  If so, I'm not sure how you've concluded that it needs repair in the first place or why it's important to you to repair now even if it does need repair -- are you ultimately trying to return your system to its out-of-box state?  But the contents of any image backup will depend on what partitions you chose to include in it.  If you ran a Full backup of just your Windows partition -- which is typically not a good idea on modern systems -- then that Full won't have anything for the recovery image partition. If on the other hand you DID include that image partition in your backups, then you'd be able to recover that partition even from a Diff or Inc backup.  Even if that specific backup FILE doesn't have any updated data for that partition because it didn't change between the parent Full and the Diff/Inc, you would still be able to restore that partition from a Diff/Inc backup because as I said in my answer to your first question, each backup allows you to return your system to a specific point in time.  You don't have to know exactly when a given file or partition changed and therefore what file to select for restore.  You just have to decide, "I want to return my system to the way it was on the date of this backup," and choose to restore that backup.  Reflect will pull whatever data it needs from other backups to achieve that end result.  In any case, you definitely do NOT need to delete any backups before restoring from any other backups.  If you want to see what partitions were backed up in a given image backup, go to the Restore tab in Reflect and select the backup of interest.  At the top of the Restore tab area you'll see a partition map.  If you see your recovery partition in there, then your backup contains that partition.  If not, then it doesn't.  But even if it doesn't, you would still be able to restore OTHER partitions from that backup without disturbing the existing recovery partition on your target disk.  The first step of the Restore wizard allows you to "stage" a restore, so you'll initially see all existing partitions on your target disk.  Then you can select which partitions you want to restore, as well as where they will be restored on disk.  Any existing partitions that are still showing in the Destination disk's partition layout in that wizard after you're done "staging" will still be there intact after the restore completes.  For example, if you have a disk containing three partitions, and an image backup that only contains one of those partitions, you can restore just that one partition from the backup while keeping the other two existing partitions as-is.  Restoring an image backup does not automatically wipe out everything else on the disk.

Thank you for your guidance. It was reassuring.
I'm ignorant about the details of Windows recovery but from what I understand the image I was trying to download was the latest Microsoft major Windows 10 release. The text from Microsoft indicated that every time they create a new/updated Windows 10 release they also create a new image and tool to restore to that state. You download this image/tool and it updates the Win version on your system to match the image. Then all you have to do is perform the minor Win 10 upgrade releases since then. But, every time I downloaded the image the Microsoft download verification always reported that it was corrupted.
jphughan
jphughan
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Ah ok.  Yes, Microsoft has a Windows Recovery Environment that is stored on a separate partition.  And whenever you install a new Windows 10 feature release, such as moving from Win10 1909 to Win10 2004, the Recovery partition is updated as well.  (There have been a couple of exceptions where Microsoft issued a new Windows release without also updating the WinRE kernel.)  But if you use Reflect on a regular basis to perform backups, then the chances of you ever needing any of the tools included in the WinRE partition are quite a bit smaller.  That said, if you download a Windows 10 ISO to install a newer release of Windows 10, that will update your WinRE partition if there is an update available based on your current and future Windows 10 releases involved in the upgrade.  As for why the ISO always shows as corrupted, I'm not sure what's going on there.  Any third-party anti-virus that might be interfering with file downloads, perhaps?  One other option you can consider if you'll be downloading onto the same system where you want to perform the upgrade would be to just get the Windows 10 updater application itself here.  Click "Update now" instead of "Download tool now".  That will get you an application that will NOT download an ISO for you to create bootable media to be used elsewhere, but WILL perform an in-place upgrade on whatever system you run it on.

GO

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