Bare Metal Restore

Bare Metal Restore

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With Windows Server 2008 R2 you can perform a Bare Metal Restore of a server that has suffered a catastrophic failure.   That’s right you can restore a server without having to install the OS and then the backup agent.  You just simply boot from the Windows Server 2008 R2 DVD, but I am getting ahead of myself.  Let’s take a look at the process a bit closer:


To start with you have to take the Bare Metal Restore (BMR) backup.  And this is how you do it:

1.        Begin by clicking on Start –> Administrative Tools –> Windows Server Backup**



** Note…You must have the “Windows Server Backup” Feature installed to see this option.


2.       Wait for the Windows Server Backup to start up and then select the option “Backup Once…”



3.       Once the Backup Once Wizard starts up select “Different options”



4.       Click [Next]


5.       Select the “Custom” option



6.       Click [Next]


7.       Click [Add Items]



8.   Select the “Bare Metal Recovery” option



9.   Click [OK]


10.   Click [Next]


11.   Select where you want to store the file.  For me I selected “Local Drives”.  Click [Next]



12.   Choose the backup destination…then click [Next]



13.   After that you will get to the Confirmation screen.  Begin the backup by clicking on the [Backup] button



14.   The backup starts.



15.   You should see a screen like the following when the backup completes:


Now that the backup is complete your ready to begin the restore of the BMR.  Now hold on to your hats everyone… we’re about to do the restore a server with out loading the operating system first.

To begin you will need to place the Windows Server 2008 R2 DVD into the computer.

1.        Let the server boot from the Windows Server 2008 R2 DVD. 


2.       Select the options here that you want and then click Next.  On the next screen choose the option “Repair your Computer”.


3.       You can choose two options here.  You can either use the recovery tools that can help fix problems, or you can restore the computer from a system image that you created earlier.


4.       Once you choose the restore option and then click on [Next] the computer will search for the backup image.  Mine is on the second hard disk in the server so it finds it rather quickly.  If you have multiple images you can select the option to choose which one you want, then click [Next]


5.       By clicking [Advanced…], you will see a window that allows you to control whether you want restart upon completion. It will also allow you to perform a hard disk scan to check and possibly repair errors. After you're done, select your options, and click [Next ]


All you have to do now is click [Finish]


7.       You will get a warning about restoring the system…select [Yes] and we’re off.



8.       And there you have it the computer is now being restored without having to load an operating system first.

Keith Hill
Support Escalation Engineer
Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support

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  • So just to be clear, if I pick the full system backup instead of choosing custom and adding the bare metal recovery, a bare metal recovery won't work? I hope that the bare metal recovery be part of a scheduled backup.

  • Thanks Keith ,

    I am gonna try this on this weekend.

    Rajesh Parasa

  • Can you have the BMR image on the network, or does it have to be on local disks?

  • @Lonwa: you can have it on the network, that is not an issue.

  • Good stuff.

    Does this method apply to cluster? How about compression?

  • Can this backup be restored on multiple machines?

  • hello,

    I did restore my full volume (perfectly) same procedure as above. but when the server (windows 2008 r2 dc" restarted, it does not complete the load and re-starts again. I booted in safe mode where  it got stuck after finishing disk.sys and classPNP.sys and restarted again.

          I booted into DSRM mode and the driver of the hard disk installed automatically. i restarted windows but same issue keeps on restarting and stopping on classpnp.sys

    please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Any hint

  • Hi, I have a post with a question,

    How I must to proceed when the HDD of SO fails?, the answer is buy another  HDD ok? but how I can make a recovery (BMR) from the HDD where the backup is stored?(thinking that you machine have 2 HDD,  1 for SO and the other to store the backup).

  • Thank you very much. I tried it but the restore process took about 6 houres for complete restore of 26 GB. I used it on a couple of dell servers powerEdge T110 II. Is this normal?

  • Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.

  • One HUGE thing you forgot that gets a lot of people (me included) is: Rule #1, which always has been Rule #1 - ALWAYS make sure you are restoring your system to a disk or set of disks that are at least as large as your original O/S partition. I mean, there are tools that can shrink partitions (Microsoft's own shrink command only will shrink the O/S partition by a limited amount - something to do with the page file boundary or something) - so, if you shrink your O/S partition, you can then fit it onto a smaller target disk (or array).

    Bottom line: I had a 408GB RAID 5 partition which, when backed up, was only 17.7GB (that's all the O/S was using, once compressed - about 25GB uncompressed) - I naively (LOL) grabbed a new 76GB disk thinking, "Oh, it's only 25GB or so - it will fit just fine.

    And the kicker is, WINDOWS RECOVERY DOES *NOT* GIVE ANY USEFUL ERROR(S)! It says "Restore failed. roll the dice again." (OK, I made up the part about "roll the dice again.") But, seriously, it gives ZERO indication that, "Hey, you bone-head, you are trying to restore to a disk that is smaller than your original O/S partition size." As soon as I stuck in a 1TB drive, the magic happened - the restore then happened pretty much flawlessly.

    Considering USB external and thumb/flash drives are now relatively inexpensive, a person could buy a few of those, and then have some excellent "point-in-time" images.

    FYI, I have tried the same type of thing (full image) with Windows 7 backup and restore but with little success.

  • Thanks for the "TIP" on the larger hard drive than your original server source hard drive.  I got past that part, but now I can't get the reimaged server to boot.  It will not take my Administrator password at the "System Recovery Options" screen.  Every password I try won't work.  I KNOW THE PASSWORD.  I typed it as slow as possible making sure no mistakes.  Is it wanting some sort of common administrator password?  Help! cant restore the image because of this...

  • Help, I can do a bare metal recovery but it does not help becuase the hard disk is full and I need to recover to a new hard disk and the bare metal recovery formats the drive to the same as the original, quite stupid really.

    How can I change the partition size.

  • How to restore BMR backup from network drive

  • hi all, ive been working on bare metal restore/recovery or full system recovery for days. on ws2008r2x64, i've used the gui to create a full system backup. then i chug in a another hdd, (F drive) use the same gui and perform recovery (volume) on F drive. it went on ok. shutdown pc, remove C drive from the sata0 slot and insert the F drive to it. power on, and i was greeted by black screen with error below. Windows failed to start.... file: \windows\system32\winload.exe status: 0Xc00000e info: the selected entry could not be loaded vos the apps is missing or corrupt. Why is this happening????? Then i ran the stuffs below which fixed the boot up issue. F:\Windows\System32\bcdedit /store F:\Boot\BCD /set {bootmgr} device boot The operation completed successfully. F:\Windows\System32\bcdedit /store F:\Boot\BCD /set {default} device boot The operation completed successfully. F:\Windows\System32\bcdedit /store F:\Boot\BCD /set {default} osdevice boot The operation completed successfully. It booted into windows and everything is messed up, snap in console fail, my installed programs wont work (eg. teamviewer) and the os seems to be trashed. Why is the server backup tool so trashed? did i do anything wrong?