What is a bare-metal restore and how can I do one?

A bare-metal restore is a restore of your entire system to new or existing hardware. To restore a system volume, you will need to do so from the StorageCraft® Recovery Environment (boot to the recovery CD).  Note that it may be necessary to press a key during boot to tell the system to boot to the CD or to bring up a boot menu that allows you to select the CD-ROM drive as the boot device. You may also need to change the boot priority in your system's BIOS settings so that it will check for a bootable CD before booting to the hard disk. Refer to your computer's documentation for more information.

Once you are in the recovery environment, there are a few things you'll want to do before you begin:

  • Check the Disk Map tab to make sure your internal hard disk(s) is/are listed there.
  • If you are restoring the image from an external hard disk, make sure it is listed in the Disk Map as well.
  • If you are restoring the image from a network location, start the Network Configuration utility and map a drive to the network location

If any drives or hardware are missing or not working properly, you may want to try using the other recovery environment (i.e. if you were using the XP/2003 environment, try the Vista environment), as sometimes hardware that does not work in one environment will work in the other.  There is also the option of loading drivers for certain hardware (which is most easily done from the Tools menu when using the Vista environment).

Once everything is ready, step through the Restore wizard. Choose the image file you want to restore, and the partition (or unallocated space) to which you want to restore. In most cases, when restoring a system image, it is okay to restore the MBR, disk signature, and hidden disk track. (If you were using a full disk encryption product on the machine the image was created from, or to learn more about what these options mean, search for them on the StorageCraft Support Forum.) Also, check the HIR (hardware independent restore) box if you are restoring to a different machine than the one from which the image came.

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