Imaging and Restoration Considerations Concerning WOF - Best Practice Recommendation


Imaging and Restoration Considerations Concerning WOF - Best Practice...
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Otter
Otter
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I thought it would be handy to point out a situation that could lead to unintentional OS system file corruption (due to missing/incorrect data) after an image restore where only the OS partition is restored and not the corresponding Recovery partition.

It's possible for many Windows system files to actually be stored on your C: drive as empty sparse files which act as placeholders and whose contents are populated by WOF.sys, the Windows Overlay Filter driver (a mini filesystem filter driver).  WOF.sys populates the contents of these files by decompressing data from the recovery .WIM stored in the Recovery partition.

So, it appears to me that a Best Practice would be to always backup the Recovery Partition along with your OS Partition and always restore them both together as well. 

In this regard I think Macrium Reflect has a distinct advantage over some of its competition because it really makes it easy to keep these two things (the data for these two volumes) together (they're even in the same image file!) both during backup and restore.  Nice work Macrium!

More info here.
Edited 28 November 2023 8:44 PM by Otter
Otter
Otter
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The point being that if the .WIM is ever updated in the Recovery Partition, and if WOF.sys is performing this Overlay functionality, then during a recovery scenario if the OS partition is restored without its corresponding Recovery partition then the necessary .WIM data will be missing and the system files will have incorrect content.
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